Meet the Pack
Roz (Top Dog)
My name is Roz and I am in my late twenties. I live in Ashton with my partner, three cats and three dogs.
I grew up in the rural Herefordshire countryside surrounded by animals and dreamed of owning my own zoo or animal sanctuary. Growing up I kept a wide variety of pets and earned my pony's keep by working hard at my Aunt's livery yard. I was often used to tame and break in the shy horses and ponies as well as helping raise pairs of young fox hounds they fostered each year.
When I was eighteen I moved to Bristol and for the following eight years I worked in fashion retail management. I eventually grew frustrated at being cooped up indoors and sought a career change. I landed a position as 'top dog' at a dog boarding home and handed in my notice at my retail job.
For almost a year I worked as their dog walker whilst starting my own business: The Mutty Professor. Building on my natural ability with animals I gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience very quickly as I was walking packs of dogs all day and every day. Eventually I left to concentrate on my rapidly expanding business.
Not content with working with dogs day in day out, I can often be found with my head buried in a book on animal behavior and psychology. After reading countless books on different approaches to dog handling I have adopted an approach that works for me. I do not believe in dominating or bullying animals into good behavior using violence and force, and I strongly feel that a calm and positive approach is what achieves the best results.
After receiving continuous positive feedback from all my clients who received training or behavioral advise from me, I decided to branch out into dog training and behaviour.
In December 2012 and August 2013 I was fortunate enough to persuade the internationally renowned dog trainer Turid Rugaas to come and teach me at my home. A first for her and a complete privilege for me! It proved to be invaluable.
On top of an ongoing self study program I have completed a diploma in canine behaviour with the British college of Canine Studies, as well as currently attending Sheila Harper's IDBTS to work towards my degree in canine communication and behaviour.
I also hold a certificate in Canine First Aid.
On the practical side of things, I am also actively involved with dog rescues and have a keen interest in helping to rehabilitate rescue dogs with issues as well as continually doing my bit to help organisations rehome their dogs.
My first two dogs were rescues sent over from Spain, so I chose to go and volunteer at the shelter they are from three times to help me understand their background and help the dogs needing homes. As well as helping with the day to day running of the shelter, I photographed, assessed and wrote descriptions for the dogs online profiles.
Kelcey (The Hound-stretcher)
Kelcey grew up working with and riding horses. This has given her a confidence around animals that is invaluable. Nothing seems to phase her.
Kelcey does group walks along with covering solo walks and puppy visits.
She has a wonderful ability with the dogs, in particular with the difficult dogs that require a calm and gentle approach. She has a great sense of humor when it comes to the dogs and their personalities, and most importantly she laughs at all my jokes.
Ella (The apprentice)
Ella is my training assistant, assisting me with puppy classes, social walks and other training exercises. She worked for the company in 2012 before leaving to start a full time job. She decided she missed the dogs (and me!) far too much and returned when a new role involving dog training became available.
She was also involved in the Turid Rugaas education we experienced as a team in August 2013, along with receiving ongoing training by myself.
Ella also helps out on dog walks and pet home visits.
She is also certified Canine First Aider and has previously held experience working with the dog warden and at a dog groomers.
Denzel (Big, Ginger, Shouting Hound!)
Anyone who meets Denzel loves him. He's quite a character.
Brought over from Spain in October 2010 by the rescue charity SOS Animals, I adopted Denzel (previously called Bubbles!!) in November 2010.
He spent the first three years of his life chained up in the sweltering southern Spain heat and was abused by his owners. He was then rescued and spent a year and a half in the shelter before being sent over to the UK for fostering. I spotted him on a dogs blog and decided he was the dog for me. Four days later I drove up to Birmingham and came back with him.
Considering his past he is an asset to the team. He's very laid back and his calm demeanor has a great influence on all the dogs. He is occassionally playful and loves to join in with the chasing games but also takes his responsibility as the most experienced and eldest dog rather seriously. He intervenes with many problems and dogs that are being rude or getting over the top without having to be forceful.
Denzel has recently been developing his Nosework training with me and soon he will be used as a Demo dog for Nosework classes. Showing owners how amazing a dog's nose is and what they are capable of doing.
Letov (Curly tailed action dog!)
Letov is my second rescue. Brought over from the same rescue shelter in Spain as Denzel, Leto is very loyal and never strays too far. He's quite aloof and not very dog-interactive on walks and as such is an excellent dog to have when it comes to teaching youngsters manners and that not all dogs are play objects. He has the most fantastic way of communicating with other dogs and is incredibly tuned into his natural dog language (calming signals).
Rescued as a puppy amongst a litter of five, he was overlooked for four years long after all his siblings were adopted. Despite having a (non contagious) incurable disease (it's a bit like malaria), Letov is healthy, full of beans and loves life. He is a great advert for how all rescue dogs that have health issues are capable of being the dog of your dreams.
Leto helps me with teaching aggressive dogs how to communicate better through calm and relaxed parallel walking sessions and social walks. He has helped many dogs overcome their fears and learn to communicate and behave appropriately.
Kanita (Feral Cole)
Once known simply as K14, Kanita is by far my most extreme rescue case.
Once a feral/stray village dog in Thailand, Kanita was stolen and became one of a thousand dogs seized by the Thai police when they were intercepted en route to Vietnam- to be turned into meat. The meat trade is illegal in Thailand and so the black market smuggles them over to Vietnam where eating dog meat is still legal. This massive group of dogs were held temporarily in a cattle holding area while volunteers got to work feeding them, giving them codes for identification and taking photos for all the waiting rescue charities. A charity called K9 Angels selected ten dogs, K14 being the first. Once selected they started to prepare them to be fostered in Bangkok and during this time Kanita tested positive for the deadly distemper disease. Fortunately as the week passed she showed no symptoms, and two weeks later she was recovering from ordeal in her foster home where she eventually completed her quarantine.
She arrived in the UK on September the 13th 2012 and we collected her from London and brought her home. She recovered from her journey quickly and is now accompanying us on group walks where she is learning the ropes. She's far too busy having fun with all her new friends to be classified as a working dog yet, but considering the year she's had- I really don't mind!
*Kanita update*- She is now settling into her working life and starting to take on a little more responsibility. Over the past few months I have observed how amazing her communication skills are. This is what comes from being a feral dog- you have to communicate well to stay out of trouble. She adds a new dynamic to my socialization walks and enjoys meeting all of the new dogs.
All three of my dogs are never going to win any obedience competitions. They are not robots and every now and then they like to keep me on my toes!
In my opinion, it is normal for dogs to sometimes get distracted and not come back when called, or to momentarily forget how to sit. Just like us humans, dogs have off days too.
For me, the most important thing for any dog isn't that it performs an immaculate 'sit stay' any time of day or that it knows how to roll over and play dead. Being socially skilled, confident and as free from anxiety as possible is the key to having a happy and healthy dog. I hope that my three rescues can help demonstrate that any dog from any background has the ability to tick those certain boxes!