With the final minutes of Sunday to pass, today's 'Paws of Thought' gets me thinking about the company a dog provides to so many people, without words our furry best friends give us comfort, warmth, love, protection, loyalty, fun, friendships and reassurance just by being there....a silent partner who watches our every move, feels our every emotion and always has our back, no questions asked. Dogs really do GIVE so much to us that the very experience of owning one is not only a privilege, but possibly the most unconditional relationship you'll ever have in your life. Embrace their love each day, as the only downside is that theirs is too short and the love outlives the life itself.
Taken from Instagram @pawsadventurewalkingservice- July 2109❤🐾
In an industry where competition is rife, passions are high and standing out from the crowd seems impossible.....focus on your dream, dedicate yourself to what you truly love, stand by your beliefs and others will follow but never lead. In this Sunday's 'PAWS for Thought' I'm reflecting on what makes greatness, and I think I've found it; being able to give and serve without ever expecting anything in return. Whatever life throws your way, rise above and be the more generous person, be a giver not a taker, a lover not a hater, have generosity of spirit not resentment. Walk your own path and never be afraid to stick to your route, even when others try to knock you down. To give is to receive....and that's an inescapable, universal truth- you WILL be rewarded ♥️🐾
Taken from @pawsadventurewalkingservice instagram
Every Sunday I post to Instagram and Facebook my ramblings and observations about my week immersed in my doggy/ child centred world that is P.A.W.S.
According to the Russian physiologist Pavlov, dogs have the ability to learn conditioning reflexes, which are behaviours that are predicted and learned in response to a set, repeated pattern of stimuli. In Pavlov's case contrary to what you were taught at school, his dogs responded by salivating to the sight of him in a white coat (rather than the sound of a bell as was once believed) as they had learned to associate this visual stimuli with getting food, hence they would salivate. Once the dogs learned that when Pavlov entered the room in his white coat, they would be fed the sight of him promoted the response every time.
Basil the Greyhound pictured, also salivates and licks his lips every time I get my phone out and point it at him, he also does it when I ask him to perform a task. In fact alot of my adventure dogs are so clever and switched on, that they often perform the task without me even asking and salivate in anticipation of the treat. They know the routine, they've learned the behaviour and they expect the reward. Their ability to learn linked sequences of events make them an extremely trainable species, enabling them to be trained to do pretty much anything.
I recently shared a post on Facebook about the rescue Staffie who has been trained to sniff out drugs and cash for the Police. I work with a dog who is an Assistance Dog for a young lady in a wheelchair, he helps her around the house doing domestic chores for her, and last week I met a dog who alerts her owners when her blood sugars are high or low. Dogs are such amazing creatures who love to learn, have the mental capacity to work things out and can use their super scenses to save lives.
So for today's ' PAWS for Thought' I'm asking you to view your dog as more than just a cute fluff ball (although they are of course that too). I want you to recognise their huge potential and mental capabilities, they will get bored if you don't stimulate them, they will develop issues if they are not interacted with and they will get depressed if they're left alone, getting frustrated all day. Give them what they deserve and teach them to reach their potential...it's huge! Enjoy your Sunday.
Sarah Marles a.k.a. Mrs PAWS- Owner at Paws Adventure Walking Services.
It was only a couple of weekends ago that I settled myself down on the sofa and enjoyed the grand final of one of my favourite shows, Britain's Got Talent 2019. Ever since Pudsey the dog won the show in 2012, I've always hoped to see another dog reach the final, and so this year was a treat. To see such a beautiful, heroic and loyal animal get so far in the competition was amazing, and Finn the police dog brought me and the nation to absolute tears with his incredible bravery and amazing magical talents. Finn was stabbed whilst trying to protect his handler in 2016 and suffered almost fatal wounds, the assailant received a mere slap on the wrist with only 8 months in a juvenile offenders institution. Finn's runner up position in the show, did nothing to diminish the effect he and his handler Dave Wardell had on the nation and the knock on effect was that hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition to demand that police dogs were given protection and recognised as serving members if assaulted in the line of duty.
After months of delays as the proposed bill slowly passed through the system, the petition undoubtedly added more pressure onto the government to act and thankfully on June 8th 2019 Finn's Law finally came into force. This means that it now a criminal offence to injure or kill a service animal, which carries a heightened sentence and gives added protection to service dogs and horses.
So this got me thinking about a police dog related theory that I have had in my head for a number of years. I've always found it fascinating how dog breed popularity goes through trends. Round my way, when I was young the dog to have at the end of a lead was a Doberman Pincer or Rottweiler if you had a score to settle (in your own head) or a property to defend, and the everyday family dog was what we used to call a Mongrel or a Heinz 57 dog, (nowadays these cross breed dogs are called shitzapoos.....I kid you not, or springerdors or labradoodles), and today, the dog to have at the end of a lead if you've a score to settle is a Staffie or Bulldog cross. Now before all you Staffie/ Bull breed lovers jump on my words with venom and tell me that you have a Staffie purely because you LOVE the breed...... I hear you! I was a bull breed owner myself who doted on my beautiful strong, amazing dog. I loved her look, her beauty and her strength and she lived a blissfully happy life with me into her old age ( I still miss her 3 years after losing her....the love never fades).
My point is, that unfortunately nowadays, because this breed type has strength and agility, a muscular build and unending loyalty to their human, this type of dog often gets into the wrong hands and often sadly get abandoned or becomes unwanted, with only the lucky ones ending up in rescue centres up and down the country. This mixed bull breed of dog now makes up more than 80% of dogs in animal shelters nationwide and the numbers are not slowing down. It's highly unlikely that all these dogs will be successfully rehomed due mainly to their sheer numbers, and many are unfortunately destroyed to make room for the never ending stream of strays. My thoughts therefore, to help improve this situation and to help these dogs being so attractive to the 'wrong type of people' is for the police to start training and using bull breeds as future police dogs. They would certainly make amazing partners in anti-crime; they are strong and athletic, fiercely loyal, clever and agile but the huge advantage for the dogs themselves is that if the police force were to roll out a national Staffordshire Bull Terrier police dog training programme, this breed would soon fall out of favour with the riff raff, and they would no longer be 'the breed' to have if you want to look tough.
My friends in the dog world will tell you that I've held this theory for many a year and have never been sure how to get momentum behind the idea, and so have been pleased to see recently that in some areas of the UK this notion is coming to fruition, with some forces taking Staffie's under their wing, rescuing them from shelters, and training them up with success. The first success story being ' Cooper' who now works for Staffordshire Police as a sniffer dog. He was rescued by Staffordshire Police after spending 7 months in a rescue centre unwanted and facing an uncertain future. Now he works as part of a dedicated team, serving and protecting the public and thanks to Finn's Law now has increased protection and recognition as a serving animal. I think that is a brilliant outcome for Cooper and hope that in the next 10 years we will see a rising trend in Staffie/ Bull breed police dogs and a lowering trend in so many of these beautiful, loving and super clever dogs ending up in rescue centres.
Just for the record, my bull breed cross Bebe was a rescue and an amazing dog through and through, she brought love into my life on a daily basis and back then, the situation in her rescue centre was similar to now.....full of similar breeds looking for love and being overlooked. I adopted her in 2005 and Copper the police dog was rescued in 2018, that's very slow progress for a breed that deserves so much more credit and recognition.
My love of animals goes as far back as I can remember, probably about the time I threw out all my Barbies and played tea parties with my stuffed animal collection. Dogs have always held the most of my affection though, not surprising considering they have lived by our side for thousands of years and, during that time, we have shaped each other’s history and behaviours; no other animal has such a close relationship with us.
The understanding of a beings inner thoughts is always going to be mainly theory. Who knows what is going on inside anyone’s head? During my time at university I stumbled across an article that changed the way I thought about dogs. I can’t remember verbatim, but the gist of it was - when humans point, dogs look to the direction we’re pointing, not at our hands. This may not seem like a particular talent to us clever humans, but only a few species hold this special skill. In fact, a study comparing chimpanzees and dogs suggested that, although chimpanzees could also follow directional gestures, dogs understood pointing as a communication cue better. Which is crazy! Chimps have hands and fingers, dogs have paws and yet dogs understand the concept of pointing better!
We all love dogs (if you don’t, you should do!) scientists are no different. Dogs love us back, and their eagerness to please has made them perfect lab partners (no pun intended). Chaser the collie is famous for knowing and remembering the 1022 unique names of all her toys. She can even guess the name of toys she has never seen before by a process of elimination from the names she already knows. Chaser does have a psychology professor for an owner and has trained intensively to gain this knowledge, but your typical trained family pet can have a vocab of up to 165 words. The top 20% smartest dogs can get up to around 250 words, which is the same vocabulary size as a 2 ½ year old child.
Most species of animal are pretty hard to persuade to keep still, dogs of course are an exception.
Brain scans have allowed scientists to get that one step closer to knowing what is going on inside those fluffy noggins.
In particular, one study has shown that dogs do not just listen to tone of voice, rather they pay attention to the words that go along with it. Not to say that a dog won’t wag his tail if you spout utter nonsense in a friendly voice! However, dogs give the best reaction when they understand the words
and the positive tone of voice. This is not a physical reaction, but the chemical reaction in the reward centre of the brain, showing how much they enjoy knowing they’ve been praised! This skill takes both sides of the brain working together to achieve, which is actually similar to the way that humans process language.
Go back 100 years or so, scientists thought that animals were comparable to machines with simple behavioural outputs from simple stimulus inputs. All you have to do is look a little closer to realise it is a little more complicated than that.
Dogs can understand a great deal and language is a fantastic training tool; we can use it to make our dogs everyday lives a bit easier. It can help them understand and make the right choices.
Remember how dogs have the vocabulary of a 2 year old? They also have similar impulse control! Most of our PAWS pack members will do anything for a treat; Aoife the Spaniel eagerly climbs everything she finds for bonus agility treats whilst Willow, the energetic crazy Cockerpoo, will snap to an attentive stand-still.
Skye the Collie is another intelligent PAWS pack member who has deduced that dogs will get a treat for sitting still for a photo. She sees the camera and has linked it to treats; it doesn’t matter who is being photographed, once the camera is out treats are going to happen!
To help Skye, and the other members of the PAWS pack understand sharing we have started using names when handing out treats. Now instead making an opportunistic dash for any treats she will happily sit and wait for her name to be called, understanding that other pack member’s treats are their own.
It’s a small thing, but simple use of language has prevented disruptive behaviour, encouraged good behaviour and eased treat- related tension in the group. This means a happier and relaxed group who can just focus on enjoying their adventures.
So what’s the lesson for today? Talk to your dogs, they’re listening! Use simple, clear instructions and tone of voice to match; imagine talking to a toddler. Dogs are so human focused, their survival as a species has depended on their ability to understand us. Isn’t it only fair we take the time to try and understand them back.
Mrs P.A.W.S. Owner & Chief Adventurer at Paws Adventure Walking Service
It's the end of our first year as a 'Dog Adventure Company' and it's been truly epic. I started dog walking in 2017 and that entailed me and the dogs going to the local park and having what I would call a 'run of the mill' experience. It wasn't quite cutting the mustard though and so with a bit of thinking about my skills, observations of working and owning dogs since a young age and a recognition that dog's are clever beings.......the dog adventures were born in May 2018.
Since that fateful month, I've never looked back and I have expanded....(not my waistline I hasten to add, that has in fact shrunk considerably but that's a story for another day). I have two staff members who are integral to the company as a whole and who I am so proud of, we have a fleet of vehicles to make sure your dog is transported in safety, comfort and ease and we have THE best line up ideas and events for 2019. More and more dogs are joining our adventure PAWS Pack every week and we are looking forward to expanding all the more in 2019!
So all that is left to say is on this eve Eve of 2018, Happy New Year to all my lovely customers and their amazing pooches and all best wishes for more adventure in 2019.
Enjoy our little summary of 2018......
19 Reasons Why YOU Should Adopt a Dog in 2019......
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs come into UK rehoming centres each year and every January see's a massive peak in unwanted puppies and dogs being abandoned or handed over. It is very rarely the fault of the dog, more so it's just a result of their human deciding that it's too much like hard work to care for their pet or their circumstances change and the poor dog is the first thing to go. Contrary to some beliefs, the key thing to remember about deciding to choose a rescue dog is that the dog does not 'come with a set of 'unfixable problems' and issues, rather the rescue dog has many advantages that are both practical, health promoting and heart warming.
So if you're thinking of getting or adding to your family through the addition of a furry friend, before you do anything, make sure you THINK RESCUE, and make rescue your favourite breed. Here's why.......
1. You won't be supporting Puppy Farms- Just this fact alone should make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Instead of choosing to give money to a disreputable breeder, where parent dogs are usually kept in terrible conditions you are instead backing a life saving charity and therefore helping to stamp out the demand for puppy farms.
2. You can find a wide variety of breeds- The UK has a great range of breed specific rescues all over the country where you can locate your favourite, making getting what you want much easier than you think. All it takes is a little bit of research and you'll soon find a dog that melts your heart.
3. You will be saving the life of TWO dogs- It's a fact that each time a person gives a rescue dog a loving home, they are not only saving the life of that dog but the space you leave in the kennel allows another dog to be rescued and hopefully found a new home in the future. So one act of kindness has twice the power when you choose a rescue dog.
4. You might meet the love of your life- I actually don't mean the furry friend that you will fall in love with and bring home, but in fact I'm talking about your human soul mate. It is an absolute fact that having a dog to walk each day increases your chances of meeting another a like-minded, sociable, friendly and attractive human being by 50%! Having a dog makes you more approachable, gives others a reason to break the ice with you, and makes others feel less awkward and more sociable towards you. Plus telling that person that you rescued the dog will just make them think you're a top human being even more. It has a much better ring to it than ' yes I got this puppy from a breeder who just churns them out to any body willing to pay'!
5. Your rescue dog will become the LOVE of your life unconditionally whether you want it to or not- You may actually decide that you don't want to meet a fellow human, but rather fill your days with a much more simple kind of relationship. This is totally understandable, and in fact rescue dogs are renowned for being so full of love for you and having a sense of literally being rescued by you that they think you are the best thing in the world ever! This love is unconditional and will envelop your life forever more. There really is nothing more beautiful than being truly loved by a faithful companion and your love for them will mutually grow as you develop together as a team.
6. Rescue dogs come already vaccinated- So you don't need to spend time sorting that out and keeping your tiny puppy indoors for 12 weeks. You can get on with the fun stuff!!
7. And their spay/neutering is already sorted for you too- So you can start the cuddling straight away! Most rescue centres will ensure they are not adding to the huge numbers of unwanted dogs in the UK by getting their dogs neutered before you take them home, the price of this will be included in the adoption fee but it does take the stress out of having to make that decision once your dog is settled in, this way it's done and dusted asap and the worry of 'putting your dog through' the experience is taken away from you, leaving you to concentrate on bonding and getting to know each other.
8. They can transform dramatically once they get into a loving home and make your heart melt with love and pride- We're all familiar with pictures of dogs looking poorly, skinny, miserable, scared and depressed when they are in kennels and rescue centres. When I visited my rescue dog for the first time in the centre, she was so depressed and listless, sat hunched at the back of the kennel, she didn't even lift her head to greet me. Two weeks later once I got her home she was full of energy, loving, happy and absolutely thrilled with herself. A total transformation in her physical and mental well being.
9. Rescue dogs come with additional benefits- When you rescue a dog, the centre usually provides additional support in helping you look after your dog. They can provide resources and advice that could help you and your new dog, some even give you access to training classes. The centre can act as an emotional and physical support mechanism for you rather than you having to just battle on alone.
10. You can skip that not so lovely puppy stage- This is actually a huge advantage of a rescue dog over buying a puppy. It's a lot harder than people realise to fit a baby fur ball into their busy hectic lives, take time off work to look after them, feed them through the day, keep their socks, shoes, chairs, table legs and skirting boards free from tiny bite marks. Puppies are really REALLY hard work (hence why a higher number of people abandon them in January after having been gifted one for Christmas)!! Rescuing an older dog skips this stage altogether and saves your sanity as well as your shoes, false teeth, hair brushes, car keys and furniture. Some older dogs come already house trained making the transition much easier and pleasant.
11. You have a better idea of what you are getting- Adopting an older dog means that you will be fairly well informed by the rescue centre about the dogs personality and older dogs personalities are more or less set in stone by the time they reach adulthood. Puppy dogs however have more plastic personalities which can be moulded through experiences, training, socialisation etc. Therefore it makes sense that by adopting a slightly older dog you have a better idea of their true personality.
12. You can find your perfect match- Because adult dogs have more or less fixed personalities, they can actually be matched to their perfect family or individual, set around the needs of both the family and the dog, resulting in the likelihood of a much more successful adoption.
13. Rescuing a dog improves your connections with your local and wider community- When you adopt a dog you have to exercise him or her and visit local parks and places where other dog owners are, this gives you an opportunity to chat to people, meet other like minded members of your local community and keep up with local news and events. You will also be invited to community fundraisers organised by the rescue centre you adopted your dog from, opening up a new pathways of community that you were not part of before and that can only be a good thing.
14. Rescue Centres are essential in our modern, throw away society and support local families- By rescuing a dog you are not only helping to keep the rescue centre going and supporting them to rescue dogs in need in the future, you are also supporting a network of employees and volunteers who rely on the centre for their livelihoods and to satisfy their own personal beliefs.
15. Rescuing a dog is good for your mental well being- Having to walk your new rescue dog in all weathers is actually a really beneficial thing to do if you are feeling glum. Not only do you get to see how happy you have made a previously very sad dog, you can also take a lesson from them and start to 'live in the moment' and be more mindful. Your new rescue dog is not walking along thinking 'this time last year I was being mistreated....woh is me' they are actually walking along thinking ' wow my life is fabulous....look at those birds, that grass, that tree, those squirrels'. To feel better mentally we could all benefit from being more dog!
16. Rescuing a dog is good for your physical well being too- Again having to walk your new dog gets your body moving, which in turn gets your heart pumping, which in turn gets your lungs working better, which is turn sends positive, happy feeling endorphins all around your body. And you simply cant argue with that; Enough said!
17. Rescuing a dog will give you a feeling of being able to sleep at night and will give you a sense of fulfilment that will actually change your life- Not only will having a dog present in your home make you feel more secure and safe at night, you will undoubtedly have the most overwhelming sense of happiness and pride each time you see your new furry friend curled up, blissfully happy because of your actions. That level of fulfilment is actually so beneficial to your health and has such a positive effect on your life that every one who needs 'healing' should be given a rescue dog.
18. You may find yourself the new owner of a future star/ internet sensation- Rescue dog stories are huge on social media and the internet now a days and whilst this is obviously not a valid reason to rush out and adopt a dog, it is possible that your new furry friend may pull at the heart strings of so many people, you just can't help but share their story. Everybody loves a happy ending and a cute doggy face to fall in love with. If you don't believe me, search Instagram or Facebook for rescue dogs and see for yourselves!
19. January 2019 is still the Chinese year of the dog, and January 2019 will also be exactly when the rescue centres of the UK will be at their fullest- So if you have been considering getting a dog and just haven't got around to it, then this is the time to do it. Take time out this month to visit your local shelter and have a look at those cute fluffy bundles of love awaiting a new forever home just like yours. I challenge you not to come out in tears. But sadness is not the result we are after, you can bring and spread LOVE, unconditional LOVE throughout your home this new year, and I can pretty much say without any doubt it'll be the best new years resolution you have ever made.
Sarah Marles- Mrs P.A.W.S. Creator of Paws Adventure Walking Service, two beautiful children and this blog post!
It's not often in life you get to meet some pretty inspirational and interesting people who have a love for the same things as yourself. Most recently I've rubbed noses (not literally) with the lovely NIsha Katona of Mowgli Trust Dog Show/ Mowgli Street Food fame, and Dominic Hodgson best selling author of 'How To Be Your Dog's Superhero', soon to be best selling author of his next book 'Worry Free Walks' both of whom I got connected to through a mutual love for dogs. So to add to this by meeting Kate Humble last night, a lady who I have admired and like for years, was a real treat.
I've liked Kate for a long time and her programmes have been an inspiration to me for a decade. She has presented all my favourites over the years from Spring Watch, Countryfile, and my favourite of them all Lambing Live.....a particular highlight. Infact Kate Humble and Adam Henson are one of the key influencers in my decision to up sticks off to the Lake District in 2010 in search of a rural life. I was lucky enough to find that rural life and had four years doing my own lambing live! It was a lot more brutal in real life, I have to admit, the non edited version saw me quite literally up to my elbows in sheep birth and at 4am in the morning it's quite a bleak and sometimes upsetting place to be, nothing like the Lambing Live I was used to watching from the comfort of my own sofa. So fast forward 8 years and I'm now mother to my own little lambs aged 4 and 5, and I'm knee deep in dogs rather than lambs, but the love of being outdoors and amongst animals and nature is always key for me and this is what drew me to Kate's new book.
So last night, I met Kate through her book signing with Linghams Booksellers for her new book 'Thinking On My Feet' which is a celebration of the simple act of walking. It's beautifully written and has a strong message running through it; to improve your health and well being.....walk more. It's free, easy to do and is a brilliant way to escape the daily and increasingly overbearing technological age that we live in.
As a professional dog walker, I walk every day come rain, hail , snow or shine and I absolutely LOVE it. It goes without saying that I love working with dogs but crucially it's the being outdoors that keeps me sane. As a single mum of two young children and a business to run, with two staff members to support and a never ending barrage of to do lists, phone calls to make, social media to see to and a household to run it's pretty tough at times. My head is absolutely full of stuff......what are we going to eat for dinner, what do the children need for school today, what time am I supposed to me meeting that new client, how many emails do I need to reply to today, the list is endless! But, when I am out there walking, putting one foot in front of the other, just like Kate says in the book......my mind is peaceful, clear, almost meditative. I can THINK and have space to de-clutter that head space. I notice nature all around me, the simple things give me pleasure, the air fills my head and I am happy. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, the dogs love it too, they are mindful and see the joy that is right there, they feel the surroundings and immerse themselves in it fully and I'm thankful to say that I do too. OK admittedly, I don't immerse myself quite as much as the dogs as they happily roll in the fox poo and eat shells, but I'm pretty immersed most of the time, and it really is good for me......a therapy and an escape from the busy full throttle life that awaits me once the walk has ended.
So it's clear that Kate's book resonates with me and meeting her and seeing her enthusiasm for the great outdoors, for walking, for nature and animals is contagious. She is as lovely in real life as she is on the telly box. So if you are feeling a bit low, or tired and a bit gloomy now that winter is upon us, grab the book and immerse yourself in a great read and then do something that will really help to raise your mood; grab that lead and tell your dog it's walkies time, wrap up warm and head on out. Look out for nature as you go and embrace the natural world, its a commodity that is free and has so much to offer and even if it's just a little Robin that you stumble across, a Wirral Rock that you find and re-hide, a squirrel looking for his hidden nuts or another dog walker just enjoying the exercise and the inspiration from all that surrounds you. Allow yourself to be humbled by nature and the little joys of being outdoors and return home feeling that little bit better.
For more information on how dog walking can help you feel better click here for read my previous blog.
For more information on Kate's book, click here.
Sarah Marles - Mrs P.A.W.S. owner and creator of Paws Adventure Walking Service, and Gemma Rogers - Canine Fulfillment Officer at P.A.W.S.
It's World Mental Health Day today, and this got us thinking about how our mental health affects everything we do in life, our job, our relationships, the way we feel about ourselves and how we communicate and act when alone and in company. In turn, this got us thinking about how things would be better if everyone was a little more DOG. Dogs are such amazing creatures, full of unconditional love, unquestioning affection and the ability to find joy in everything. In fact, we came to conclusion that just owning a dog has a positive impact on your mental health, and here's how......
For more information on World Mental Health Day, visit the MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION WEBSITE HERE.
Until next time,