Veteran dog trainer Heather Northover has seen the pandemic profoundly change the way people think about their four-legged friends.
- Queensland dog trainer says growing owners’ desire to spend more time with their pets could be a silver lining to the pandemic
- Queensland laws allow dogs in certain outdoor dining areas and on public transport under certain conditions
- Well-behaved pets should be welcome in cafes, hotels and on public transport, trainer says
“It helped people bond with their dogs,” she said.
After more than 40 years in the industry, central Queensland has said these spells of working from home could mark a turning point.
“I hope this is a start for Australians to embrace more responsible dog ownership and start to appreciate their dogs more and take care of them a little better,” she said.
“At the end of the day what I would love to see is Australia start to take the same paths that we see in Europe and America, where dogs are really seen as family.
“People tend to live with their dogs indoors, they walk down the streets with them, they go to cafes, they stay in hotels with their dogs.
“Here in Australia that doesn’t happen a lot because people tend to have a puppy and when he’s not cute anymore he goes out and learns to take care of himself.”
Ms Northover said the change could be “a silver lining” for the pandemic for dogs nationwide.
“We have seen questions this year about dogs allowed on public transport, motels and cafes,” she said.
“It’s actually a good side effect of [COVID-19] that people pay more attention to their dogs and are more interested in those little animals that they share their lives with.
An equal member of the family
Sam Finch of Yeppoon attends training with her dog, Bronson, who she said was “another member of the family.”
“I wanted to have a smart dog that we could do things with and also be a good pet, which he was,” she said.
“We hope to take her on a family vacation.
“We took him [a cafe] for breakfast one morning I took him for a walk along the beach… he was pretty good. “
What are the rules?
Queensland laws allow food companies to choose whether they want to allow dogs in outdoor dining rooms only – different rules apply for service animals.
Pet owners should respect the safety and comfort of others, maintain control of the dog, refrain from touching the dog while eating, clean up after the animal, and be aware of local laws and the Management Act animals.
In South East Queensland, service animals are allowed on board TransLink buses, trains, trams and ferries with a pass.
Pet dogs are allowed on TransLink ferries all weekend and 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and 7 pm to 6 am on weekdays as long as they meet requirements. These include being on a leash, wearing a muzzle or in a closed baby carrier.
Dog trainers in high demand
Demand for dog training services has been “very high” since the start of the pandemic.
“Suddenly people stay home with these dogs and realize that they don’t really like the dog because the dog isn’t behaving the way they want,” Ms. Northover said.
“When they try to work from home and spend more time with the dog they find, ‘Oh, this dog is pulling on a leash or he barks at other dogs or when I bring him inside he wants to beg for food at the table ‘.
“They generally understand that he is not a very pleasant dog, that he has no manners, that he has no social graces.”
These were common complaints from pet owners.
“Once they realize it, they come here and say, ‘My dog jumps on me and itches and he yells at the kids and barks at my friends and he digs the garden,'” she said. declared.
“They’ve had the dog for a few years and they just haven’t noticed him because they weren’t home with him so it’s good to be able to change that for them.”
Ms. Finch encouraged other dog owners to train their pets.
“I think it’s great because you don’t just make them leave them at home,” she said.
“He comes everywhere with me… to the beach, for lunch if we can, and he comes to mum, dad and grandma.”
Owning a responsible dog
Ms Northover said the science behind dog behavior had progressed “by leaps and bounds”.
“When I started it was really ‘We have to be the boss and we have to force the dogs to do that and push their butt down and shake their heads and pull them on a leash'”, a- she declared.
“Now we’re using a lot more science to make dogs want to behave the way we want them to because it’s rewarding for them and because they want to do what we ask them to do.
“My big catching cry is still the dog’s responsibility.
“Take care of your dog. Learn what your dog does. Teach him a good reminder and have fun with him… please train your dog to live with you in your family and be a responsible part of it. your family.”