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Talking Paws, run by Rachael, Highly Recommended Jan Fennell Dog Listener. Rachael can help you with any non-medical behavioural problem, or simply set you on the right path to a fulfilling relationship with your best friend.

Jan Fennell's Weekly Topic

Horse Trials Through The Eyes of a Dog 

There is nothing unusual about horse owners having dogs too and both can become very familiar and comfortable with the presence of the other. Many of these dogs travel happily in horse lorries to these events, stay in the special parking area and soon learn how to behave there and enjoy something which is becomes a part of their normal family activity.

However, this is far from the reality for most of the dogs that are taken to these events by the owners who come as spectators. These dogs are swept along with the vast dense crowds and expected to simply behave in what for them is an unnatural and stressful environment. 

Dogs have no understanding of the future only “the now” and accept that where they are at any given time requires their establishing their place within this situation but how can they do this when there are human legs, pushchairs and endless streams of other dogs everywhere and every four minutes potential ‘lunch’ races past, accompanied by the heightened emotion from the owners, demonstrated by cheers and applause. The ‘lunch’ I refer to is the horse out on the course.

What owners see as a nice day out in the hot sunshine is in fact, for all of the dogs  a huge challenge and they will experience a degree of fear.  Some will quietly walk past everything, hoping to go unnoticed, adopting a semi freeze attitude, the same as people do on a train or plane. Most will pull their handlers from side to side yards in front courtesy of their lethal flexi leads. The dogs don’t know where to go or what to think. 

Many dogs will whine, bark even scream and are often punished for doing this, by embarrassed owners but this will only make the whole situation much worse, as the dog will associate the situation with pain and anger, not to mention being very unfair on the fearful dog. 

I spent just three hours at a trial last weekend and caught on film some very sad dogs, angry owners and listened to commentators asking dog owners to please ensure that their dogs are on leads, as dogs will chase horses (not rocket science). Then there is the inevitable call for the owner of a particular car to return to their vehicle as their dogs are suffering in the heat.  

The problem really is that we recognise stress in our dogs when it’s accompanied by loud whining and barking but most quiet stress is overlooked and I invite you to ‘look’ at the dogs shown here and although I know that many owners believe that this is either normal or acceptable but please think again.

As I drove away I was so content that my own dogs were safely in the cool and peace of their home, and I invite other dogs owners to please look at every situation through the eyes of their dogs and protect them from unnecessary misery.

Jan Fennell
6th September 2012

Weekly Topic Archive


Horse Trials Through the Eyes of a Dog - 6 Sep

The Whole Picture - 29 Aug
"I Just Don't Have Time to do This" - 22 Aug
Process - Not Outcome - 16 Aug
To Win we have to Work - 9 Aug
How lucky we are that we can choose our friends - 2 Aug

Living with a Slow Puncture - 25 Jul
Give a Dog a Good Name - 5 Jul

Natural Enemies - 27 Jun
Dogs Need Boundaries Too - 20 Jun
He's Never Done That Before - 13 Jun 
What Makes a Leader - 7 Jun

Happy or Obsessive - 30 May
A Dog Doesn't Know when He is Amongst Friends - 16 May
Butter Wouldn't Melt!!! - 9 May

Another Wasted Opportunity - 25 Apr
Seeing the Wood for the Trees - 12 Apr
Abandon the Blame Game and Succeed - 4 Apr

The one that controls the pace, controls the relationship - 30 Mar
My Dog Would Never Do That - 22 Mar
Patience of a Saint - 9 Mar

Remembered Pain - 29 Feb
Three Dogs All Called Toby - 8 Feb
It will end in tears - 2 Feb

Comical or tragic, we must decide - 26 Jan
The Eyes have it - 21 Jan
Fear in Dogs - 9 Jan 
The Rhythm of Life - 1 Jan


Dogs are like Grandparents - 21 Dec
Humbled by the Battle for Survival - 7 Dec 

Christmas is Coming 30 Nov
Dog in Class 24 Nov
Would you do that to your child 16 Nov
"Yum Yum Yum" Just Won't Do 9 Nov
The Holiday Season Celebrations 2 Nov

A Duty to All Owners 27 Oct
The Power of Forgiveness 19 Oct
The Importance of the Individual 12 Oct

A Time To Celebrate Success 28 Sep
Whose Need 20 Sep
Fail to Prepare 16 Sep
Recipe for a Relaxed Dog 15 Sep
The 'Instant' Dog 5 Sep

When Running Away is not an Option 31 Aug
Venturing Out of the Comfort Zone 24 Aug
Dangerous to Dogs Act 16 Aug
They're Animals 10 Aug
Just Like Us 3 Aug

JULY 2011
The First Prosecution for the use of Shock Collars 19 Jul

JUNE 2011
Leaving a Dog in the Car 29 Jun
Another One Bites The Dust 21 Jun
The Gene Pool 14 Jun

MAY 2011
Yet Another Scary Belief  11 May
The Way We See Things Will Affect Our Believes and Consequently Our Response 4 May

APRIL 2011
Don't Inflict Our Social Ills on Our Dogs 20 Apr
The Question of Having Dogs on the Furniture 13 Apr

MARCH 2011
How to make feeding complicated 30 Mar

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