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Utilising our Secure Dog Walking Paddock: A Step Toward Safe Off Lead Group Walks.

At Harris Hounds the well-being and safety of the dogs in our care is our top priority. A crucial part of ensuring this safety is gradually introducing dogs into our off lead group walks, a process that can be effectively facilitated by using a secure dog walking paddock - similar to ours at Eddystone View.

The Importance of Secure Paddocks

Secure dog walking paddocks provide a controlled environment where dogs can safely interact, play, and learn. These enclosed spaces are essential for socialising dogs who may be new to group settings or unfamiliar with other dogs. By using paddocks, we can carefully monitor and manage their behaviour, ensuring a positive experience for all.

Structured Socialisation

While it might be tempting to let dogs run freely in the paddock, our approach at Harris Hounds is more structured. The aim is not just to give the dogs a space to expend their energy but to use this environment as a training ground for good behaviour. Allowing dogs to run around out of control can lead to undesirable behaviours and increased anxiety, which can hinder their progress towards successful group walks.

Introducing Dogs into Paddock Sessions

We welcome Dogs to our paddock sessions starting at 20 around weeks old. These dogs will remain in the paddock environment until they are at least a year old. During this time, they will learn and develop essential skills that prepare them for group walks. By the time they transition out of the paddock, they will have:

1. Become Used to Us as Handlers: Consistent interaction with our team helps puppies become familiar and comfortable with us, building trust and a strong handler-dog relationship.

2. Understood What We Expect from Them: Through regular training sessions, puppies learn the rules and behaviours that are expected of them, creating a foundation for good conduct.

3. Learned Basic Obedience: Commands such as sit, stay, and come are taught in the paddock, ensuring that dogs have a grasp of basic obedience before joining group walks.

4. Experienced Socialisation: Interaction with other dogs in a controlled environment helps puppies develop essential social skills, making them more confident and well-adjusted.

5. Recall and Loose Lead Training: both essential Group walks skills are taught and developed within the Paddock environment esuring everyones safety when the dogs progress outside of the safty of the secure Paddock enviroment.

Steps to Safe Group Walks Using Paddocks

1. Initial Assessment: Before a dog is introduced to a group walk, we conduct an initial assessment in a secure paddock. This helps us understand the dog's temperament, energy levels, and social behaviour.

2. Small Group Introductions: We start with small groups, pairing dogs based on their personalities and play styles. This controlled introduction helps prevent overwhelming or intimidating situations for the dogs.

4. Positive Reinforcement: During paddock sessions, we use positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviour. Treats, praise, and gentle corrections help dogs learn the expected behaviour in a group setting.

6. Gradual Integration: As dogs become more comfortable and display positive social behaviours, we gradually increase the group size. This step-by-step approach ensures that each dog can adjust at their own pace, reducing stress and promoting a harmonious group dynamic.

8. Ongoing Monitoring: Even as dogs progress to larger groups, our team continues to monitor interactions closely. Any signs of discomfort or aggression are addressed immediately to maintain a safe and enjoyable environment for all dogs.

The Benefits of a Structured Approach

By using secure paddocks in a structured manner, we ensure that dogs are not only safe but also build the necessary social skills for successful group walks. This method minimises the risk of incidents and helps dogs develop confidence and positive associations with group activities.

How Not to Use Paddocks

It is important to note that paddocks should not be used as a place to simply let dogs run around out of control. Unsupervised and unstructured play can lead to aggressive behaviour's, increased anxiety, and potentially dangerous situations. Here are some key points on how paddocks should not be used:

Unsupervised Play: Leaving dogs unattended in the paddock can result in conflicts and injuries. Continuous supervision ensures that interactions remain positive and safe.

Lack of Structure: Allowing dogs to play without any guidelines or training can reinforce bad habits. Structured activities help dogs learn appropriate behaviour's and boundaries.

Ignoring Individual Needs: Every dog is unique, with different socialisation needs and comfort levels. A one-size-fits-all approach can be harmful, especially for more timid or anxious dogs.

Overcrowding: Introducing too many dogs at once can create a chaotic environment and increase the risk of stress and aggression. Gradual integration in small groups is essential for a harmonious paddock experience.

At Harris Hounds, our commitment to a structured and secure introduction process means that your dogs are in safe hands. We believe that a well-socialised dog is a happy dog, and our careful use of secure paddocks is a testament to this belief.

If you have any questions about our dog walking services or the methods we use, please feel free to contact us. Together, we can ensure that your dog enjoys a safe, enriching, and sociable walking experience.

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