All about us, workshops

NEW! Canine Body Language Workshop

This is the course your Dog wants you to take!!



Taunton        25/01/20     10:00-2:30              

COST   £55         now £35   FOR ONE TICKET            £30 FOR 2 OR MORE BOOKED

Happy L longrun

Would you like to know what it is your dog is saying?   Canine Communication is intricate and fascinating.

This 5*  4.5 hour workshop in conjunction with the Dog Training College is coming to Taunton the only venue in the Somerset, Avon, North Devon area.

Workshop Overview

Learning how to read and interpret subtle body language and facial expression will allow us to understand what a dog is really trying to tell us.

Being able to read a dog will allow you to understand and even predict canine behaviour.

This fascinating subject will open up a whole new way of communicating with your dog that you may not even have realised was possible. You will truly begin to speak dog.

Does a dog lying on its back really want a belly rub?

Is a wagging tail a sign of a happy dog?

Can dogs feel guilt?

This course will begin to answer some of the most misunderstood canine behaviours and as a result will change the way you interact with dogs forever.

Discounts available for Pet Professionals and Rescues.

Also available at special rates for rescues and groups to host.




Firework and Seasonal Celebration Support


My dog is scared of fireworks (and other noises) and help for other seasonal events

Why do some dogs feel firework fear?

  • For some the noise and also the concussivness of modern fireworks is scary, initiating a biological fear response.
  • This can happen any time with any dog, even if they have been ok before.
  • The “ noise” can physically cause discomfort as the dog is sensitive to the air waves, the ground conclusiveness as well as the sound . Dogs hear 4x the distance we do. They pick up higher frequencies than us and the pitch can be excruciating.
  • They are erratic and unpredictable, both within a specific display and between displays ( which now happen from October to January . They seem to stop and then start up .. often louder or a different sound . it is the unpredictability which is so scary.
  • Dogs who are easily sound spooked are more likely to become firework fearful.
  • Managed Exposure and a programme can help young dogs and puppies manage the range of novel sound better.
  • NEVER “flood” by forcing them to watch
  • The more confident the dog is in the first exposure or in subsequent ones the more “bombroof” they will be. This is true of subsequent events, the happier the dog is the easier they will cope.
  • Dogs who are generally anxious or fearful will cope less well with novel sounds.
  • Dogs with any pain or who are unwell will cope less well .
  • The emotional state in the household around this time also impacts, try to be calm and jolly, if others are responding to the noise fearfully or if there has been stress and anxiety generally could add to the anxiety.
  • What does fear look like ?
    A dogs trust survey found 72% of dogs were adversely affected with 10 % seriously impacted.

What does canine fear and anxiety ( stress) look like?

  •  Lip licking, yawning
  • Panting when no exercise or not over heated
  • Refusing food
  • Being “naughty” or “stubborn” (refusing to listen or obey)
  • Very flighty or over excited, easily goes “over the top”
  • Trembling , shaking or drooling
  • Barking whining howling
  • Clingy, or wanting to hide away
  • Seeking touch when usually not keen to be handled or refusing touch when usually snugly
  • Cowering
  • Being destructive
  • Urinating defecating or vomiting for no obvious cause

Learn to read what is usual for your dog. What is their normal behaviour or response to the environment, what is their default like? Learn to read body language .

How can we help?

You cannot reinforce fear by offering appropriate support, If your dog seeks comfort give it, if they seek solitude enable it with your support .

  • Make sure all health conditions are under control, both physical and emotional , pain can impact fear thresholds . Get a vet check , especially ears.
  • Make a Plan
  • Get the whole family and any friends and neighbours involved. Share the plan so everyone knows .
  • Check up on local displays and note the times and days. Local FB groups can be helpful here. If you know local neighbours always have a party or use them on other winter occasions visit and explain if possible and ask for some warning so you can put your plan into action.
  • Change your walk plan if you usually walk in the evening in the winter. Go during the daylight hours (before 16:00 ) or early morning. If this is not possible then miss walks for a few days around this time – don’t be caught out it could have a detrimental impact.
  • If you have to go out use a double lead on collar and harness in case dogs slips out in their fear and flight. Do not let off lead at all.
  • If you have low gates and fences make sure you go into the garden on a lead … try and get the after dinner poo and pee done early, feed early (or use in games … see below)
  • Try not to leave your dog home alone, if this is not possible then make sure your plan includes how you will enable them to be safe without your support. Or arrange for a sitter who knows the plan
  • Plan for being engaged with your dog on the main display days (this is usually between 17:00 and 23:00 )

What to include in your plan

calm games snuffle box


Some music –

Consider a therapeutic option – remember there will be a range of what your dogs may respond to, what works for one will not for another, this is because their emotion is different in each case.



  • Bach rescue remedy – very effective for most animals (including us) it is not necessary to have the more extensive dog version. It works with fear of both known and unknown origin and shock.
    Botanical selections, specifically oils.
  • BE CAREFUL – do not vaporise, do not add to the dog, or its bedding (use a separate cloth the dog can choose to engage with
  • make sure there is an exit.
  • Do not use with children under 3 or pups under 6 months.

G self selection powders



Other options

  • consult a vet for clinical support
  • zyclene is often recommended by vets as is nutricalm. ask your vet for information.
  • Tranquil Blend by Hedgerow hounds can help if given a loading  dose usually several weeks
  • skullcap and valerian and st johns wort from Dorwest can also be useful, needing a loading  time of several weeks.

For any further help please contact me: @peacefulpawstherapy (FB)


Fun in the Snow … or is it fun for everyone? Do dogs NEED a walk every day whatever?

genghis snow18In the UK this week temperatures have plummeted from the average for the time of year at around 7C  to daytime of -3+ C and a wind chill of -10C+ with a significant snowfall for many and where there is less, pavements are bitterly cold.

Not much fun for us, schools are closed due to the injury risk  (A&E really does not need the extra work) . Children are thoroughly wrapped up and a limited time given on their outdoor play at home. We would not take out our very young children and are urged to check on our old people.  We have been urged to bring in our outdoor pets such as roaming cats and rabbits etc.

For the young and the majority of our dogs  this is the first time in around 10 years most have experienced this weather.

So for our dogs especially, those lovely pets we snuggle at night in our centrally heated homes, this is quite a temperature shock. Their feet are not prepared for this level of biting icy cold – this is where they sweat where there are many nerves to help them make sense and stay away from danger, as our hands and feet are.

So when I see and hear of dogs who are just not prepared for this unwilling, not of choice,  trudging through the snow, shivering or picking feet comically, with unhappy disengaged companions my heart goes to them, just  “because it is walk time” often early morning or late afternoon.

My dog (above) chooses on these days what we will do. On the whole he rushes out pees and poos has a roll around and a little bounce (he is after all a snow dog by DNA, not used to the temperature but still has a love of the white stuff locked away) then he rushes in a gets warm, snoozing on his sofa until the next pee break or I get the toys out.

Yesterday we had an enforced walk out, we could not stay at home to keep a tradeperson and he safe. It was cold but not too cold and as you see not much ice or snow. He rolled and bounced for around 10-15 mins , then slowed down, we came home then, he rested the rest of the day until tea time when he asked for some games. It took him hours to recover, he has arthritis. He will not “go for a walk ” until he and  I feel it is comfortable for him. He will go out and engage in the environment, he will have plenty of exercise and fun and tiring activity. All in the comfort of my home, where he is medically comfortable.

Like wise my health puppy will get to choose what she does and how long for, she likes the snow and we play with her for as long as she chooses or we feel is ok for her delicate paws. Then for her, some training time interspersed with games and fun and rest, learning to calm.

So what do we do instead? The list is endless and these are some ideas, this is not exhaustive , these are some of their favourites:

  • chase with a toy , or fetch the rolling ball, waiting until released (3-2-1 … GOOOO) is our current skill to be learned.
  • boundary games (again self control) being rewarded for choosing to stay on the bed or go on and wait to be released, all fun and games. A  new skill is waiting for their turn to be released for a game by name.
  • tricks, our favourites: spin, leg weaves, 2 paws or balance any 2 or 3- using different places and textures (both great for body condition).
  • Noise box -get the recycling ready – boxes, card tubes, plastic bottles, paper, add some biscuits into any of them   put into a large box or tray sprinkle in some more (or better still grated cheese or another fun food) and make a cuppa and let them exercise themselves! This is a great way to feed biscuit/kibble fed dogs their breakfast.
  • Snuffle mats or treat search –snuffle mats are fleece covered mats (or use a loopy bathroom mat or towel) with a sprinkling of fun foods, breakfast or left over bits of human meat or grated veg. Treat search, hide it let them find it.
  • Practice our basics sit, down, stand, leave, wait, walk by my side, leash on and off, release words for play. What words do they know FIRST TIME/ INSTANTLY? They all need reminders. Practice Stay from room to room until called. How long can they stay  ? How far? can you make it longer, further? What vocabulary does your dog know?
  • Behaviour chains put together tricks (above) and commands and wait times in basics. This is one of our favourites .
  • OUR two favourites? The Orientation Game – Use a handful of their food allowance or some favourite but healthy food. sit on the floor or on a low chair settee. throw out one piece, they chase then as they look back throw another and repeat, they soon learn to look back to you for what happen next. This has transformed our Loose Lead Walking and Recall. Proximity chase a similar one but on the move… drop a bit and run as they catch you, drop and run, repeat … play this is in the snow too for a quick exercise !

It is worth noting that research and science is showing that 15 mins a day games as above is worth an hour of traditional “tiring out”.  Also remember to intersperse different levels of play so they don’t get too hyper, adding in calm time and massage or stroking.

It needs engagement between the participants and deepens relationships, impacting on Loose lead walking and Recall – the issues trainers like us get as the primary request for help.

How do I have time to do this? In short sharp sessions, 10 bits of food at a time, no more than 5 mins mostly 3 mins. choosing from the list to play not everything! Mixing up fun and furious with calm and quiet and having time off, as well as massage and TTouch. This is the time it takes to boil the kettle for your hot chocolate, or boil up your soup!

Have fun, stay safe and put your companions needs up there first,  rather than an increasingly  outdated view of canine exercise.  For more information or help or just to share your fun please visit @peacefulpawstherapy  Facebook page or message me.