Testimonials – Helen

 Dog Walking, Dog Training Walks & Care Visit Testimonials

Wilf - Living With Wolves

Helen has been walking Wilf our Labradoodle from when he was very young. He’s now 16 months old.  Helen is much more than just a dog walker, she is 100% attentive to Wilf and has taught him basic and advanced commands. Helen’s walk and play sessions are the highlight of Wilf’s day and he adores Helen. On a personal level Helen is very flexible, very reliable and keeps us informed on Wilf’s progress. We have been very lucky to find Helen.  Karen Kelly – Haslemere, Surrey

Helen looks after my dog Flex, who is a loving but very strong mastiff/staffi cross.  She visits him twice per day and has done so for the last 8 months, varying his activities according to his mood and always keeping me informed of how things are going with texts and photos.  Flex has had surgery during this period and during his recuperation she incorporated gentle exercise, fed him and generally just kept his spirits up.  It is clear she has a genuine affection for the dogs in her care.  Having searched for some considerable time to find someone professional and trustworthy and who would not be intimidated by an un-neutered dog of this type of breed, it is a massive relief to have found Helen.  I trust Helen absolutely and am never worried when Flex is with her.  She is an absolute ‘jewel’ and I cannot recommend Helen highly enough.   Caroline O’Connor – Headley Down, Haslemere

Massey, brown Labrador who Helen walks.What Helen offers is more than just a dog walking service.  Her passion for, and therefore understanding of dogs, really shines through and she loves the dogs she looks after as if they were her own.  What’s more, they LOVE her!
I really value the training element on Helen’s walks – it makes the service she provides second to none.  She has been working with my Labrador since she was a puppy and it’s definitely paying off.  
Helen is a very rare find and I don’t hesitate in recommending her.
Sally Alexander – Haslemere, Surrey

Milly, crossbreed one of Helen's dogs she walksHelen has been fantastic with Milly, our very nervous crossbreed. She has worked tirelessly for the past couple of months to improve Milly’s lead walking skills, recall and to mentally stimulate her whilst we are out at school. I am pleased to say that Milly’s lead walking has improved amazingly. Helen is dependable and very flexible, always with the dog’s well being at her heart. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her for training and dog walking to anyone.
Heidi Stedman – Haslemere, Surrey

Moretti, GSD and another of Helen's dogs

Helen has been looking after Moretti my German Shepherd twice a week for almost a year.  I am completely confident that Helen will look after Moretti when arranged.  More importantly I know that Helen will be completely responsible and attentive when exercising Moretti whilst around other; less well trained/controlled pets.  I feel that Helen takes a genuine interest in Moretti’s well being and she always does her very best to accommodate any last minute visits.  With many thanks
Andrew Cutler – Haslemere, Surrey

Raven & Kippy - Helen - Living With WolvesAfter breaking my ankle I was in need of someone to walk my two dogs, an elderly Whippet and a young Shetland Sheepdog. I contacted Helen to see if she could help me. Helen came to my house the following day to meet my dogs and we organised days and times. Helen always arrived on time. My dogs and myself were very pleased to see her. Helen took each dog out separately as they required different types of walking.  Helen was very kind, gentle and also positive with my dogs. They adored her.  I would thoroughly recommend Living with Wolves and will keep in contact with Helen as I felt very happy with her help.
Maureen Sentence – Haslemere, Surrey

I’ve always been cautious about asking people for advice and support about my dogs; there seem to be so many people with different views.   Meeting Helen and David I realised that I had found two treasures, both completely different.  I can thoroughly recommend anyone seeking their advice, expertise and support.  One of their aims is to ensure that dogs and owners become comfortable with each other, in fact enjoy each others company.  Helen, thank you so much.  You came into our lives at a very crucial and difficult time.  I do not know how my daughter and I would have coped without your support.  You had only met myself and both dogs the day before, but with no hesitation the next day you responded calmly and practically to my daughters request.  You took us all under your wing for about two weeks, training both dogs with your sensitivity and experience my daughter soon became comfortable working both dogs.  Thank you for giving up so much of your time to check on all of us, even after you had finished working with us.  The dogs just adore Helen and David.  I can honestly say that I have never met any two people who really love and work with dogs in such a caring, wise and sensitive way.  David to me is an original dog whisperer.  He has that special element, that certain something that dogs recognise and respond to.  I have no hesitation in recommending Helen and David and I wish I had not left it so long before contacting them
Carol Ann & Tracy – Haslemere

Recent Posts

Predatory Aggression In Dogs

Predatory aggression in dogsThe number of attacks made by dogs on humans and other pets is sadly on the increase.  Whether this is down to the owners lack of knowledge, lack of proper training, poor socialisation or bad breeding, there is one possible cause that appears to be over looked.  That of predatory aggression.

What Is Predatory Aggression?

It can be difficult at times as your dog snuggles up to you, looking at you with big, round brown eyes or bounds around you in a goofy way begging for attention that at one point in his/her development, your pet is descended from hunters.   

Every dog has some level of prey drive (the motivation to chase, catch and kill small furry or feathered creatures) because hunting and killing was a way of life for their ancestors and their only means for survival.  This is hard-wired behaviour that is still present in our dogs today.  It is important to remember that predatory aggression by dogs does not reflect a psychological problem and neither is the dog being vicious, malicious or vindictive.

Predation is a natural survival-related behaviour even though it may sometimes alarm or disgust us.  The entire predatory sequence displayed by all predators involves searching, stalking, chasing, catching, biting, killing and then eating.

The problem we have as dog owners is that predatory behaviour is not preceded by a significant mood change or threatening gestures.  This absence of warning signals plus the fact that killing is the natural end point for predatory behaviour is what makes it dangerous for target animals, children, cyclists, joggers or anything else that moves quickly.

In domesticating dogs, certain parts of this see-chase-grab-kill sequence has been diluted but never fully eliminated.  For example, the herding breeds are very strong chasers, but do not go for the bite-hold-kill as readily as other breeds. Terriers, on the other hand, will readily grab-bite and kill.  How many of you have seen your dog grab a toy then shake it’s head rapidly from side to side?  That innocent and sometimes comical act is in reality, the final phase of the predatory sequence, the kill.    

So despite domestication, dogs still have an instinctive desire to chase, grab, bite and kill things that look like prey.  Incidentally, this is why so many dogs like to chase a ball or play with tug toys etc.  In the case of the domesticated dog, predation is instinctive and not based on hunger as is the case in wild predators. 

The level of predatory drive depends on the individual dog and what it has been bred for.  Movement always starts the sequence and allowing a dog to chase down small animals or toys will strengthen that prey drive.  Predatory behaviour may be exhibited by dogs of any sex and age and dogs showing intent or becoming agitated by the movement or vocalisations of children or other pets need to be closely monitored.

There are some people who do not regard predatory aggression as a proper form of aggression given there is little mood change and because a dog that chases after, catches and kills a rabbit shows none of the affective signs associated with dominance or fear aggression.  As far as the dog is concerned, it is just business as usual. However, when viewed another way, it seems reasonable to me to classify predatory aggression along with other forms of aggression as it results in damage or destruction of another creature.

So, what constitutes prey?

You may have seen during springtime for instance, dogs or cats killing birds and upsetting wild rabbit nests.  Our response, should we witness this sort of behaviour often ranges from being horrified to dismissing the action as the animals natural instinct.  We rarely see it as a problem.  However, it does become a problem when this predatory drive is directed towards running children, cyclists, traffic or small dogs and cats.  For us these targets are not prey, but to the dog they move like prey, sound like prey, and look like prey, hence the danger.

The results of such cases of mistaken identity can range from annoying to painful and even life-threatening.  A dog exhibiting the predatory mode may slink up on their prey and, when within range, launch an attack.  They then accelerate towards their target, either nipping at heels or biting at calves or thighs, perhaps hanging on in an attempt to drag their prey to the ground.  Sometimes other dogs will be drawn in to the attack displaying “group” aggression.  When the subject is a young child who is attempting to run away, the results can be disastrous.

What makes this type of aggression dangerous is it cannot be trained, medicated or counter conditioned out of the dog.  You may have a dog who previously chased cats, who can now be commanded to stay or sit around a cat but they will still chase a cat down at some point especially if you are not around.  This aggression can be shocking to the owners as it manifests so suddenly and is directed to what we do not see as prey.  For the dog however, instinct dictates otherwise.

Risks of Canine Predation

Realistically, there is no real treatment for predatory aggression and the only sure way to control predatory aggression is 100% avoidance of the situations that put humans and animals at risk.  The sudden high arousal level, a fixed focus on the prey subject and difficulty distracting the dog, are all indicators of a poor prognosis.  Dogs that are born with a high prey drive and have it fine-tuned by experience will always be likely to display this behaviour under certain circumstances.  Quite simply, they cannot help themselves.  This means if your dog chases cats, it cannot live with a cat.  If small dogs are the prey, your dog cannot be around any small dogs, especially when out on walks. 

As previously mentioned, this behaviour is neither malicious nor vindictive but simply biologically driven and natural  though unacceptable and downright dangerous when expressed toward humans. It therefore remains the responsibility of dog owners to recognise and appreciate tendencies in their dog and to take precautions such as keeping the dog on a lead etc.

It is your responsibility as a dog owner to recognise that if your dog only comes back to you when there are no distractions then your dog does not have a reliable recall and therefore should not be off the lead until one is taught.  It is not enough if your dog attacks another animal or child to say “he/she has never done that before” or “he/she only wanted to play”.

Reward-based obedience training will increase owner control, but will not prevent predatory behaviour when the owner’s back is turned or when the owner is absent.