FREEWORK & PUPPY PLAY PEN
Developed by Sarah Fisher (UK), Free Work is a simple, low impact activity that can be rewarding for the dog, and illuminating for the guardian/care giver; it can be set up in any environment.
The aim is to give the dog opportunities to engage with a variety of different items enabling guardians and care-givers to highlight items the dog really enjoys, and those he actively avoids.
As the dog starts to relax and slow down, postural struggles, habits, and worries about handling or other aspects of daily life become more apparent enabling guardians and caregivers to modify their own habits and address these small, or more obvious, concerns. Sometimes it is our own habits that create the behaviours in our animals we wish to modify.
Making small adaptations to the way we interact with dogs can often bring the biggest change.
Many dogs struggle when in novel situations and many cannot tolerate contact from even familiar people when aroused, worried or in new or exciting environments.
Free Work has provided an invaluable stepping-stone towards further learning including quiet interactions, and bodywork (including some of the TTouches) by encouraging dogs to engage with a variety of items at liberty. If safe to do so all equipment, including the collar, is removed.
Stripping everything back and giving the dog complete freedom of choice enables dogs to reset, rebalance and release. It also gives the guardian the opportunity to gather data from the dog whilst the dog is at liberty to gather data from the environment. This low impact exercise can help to improve the posture and ensure the dog works every muscle in his body without engaging in fast, arousing games.
Using a blend of different textures, scents and tastes helps to engage the sensory part of the nervous system. Placing treats on objects of varying heights can help to improve posture and release tension in the neck, back and hindquarters.
Free Work can help dogs to settle and calm and has been beneficial for some dogs with noise sensitivity as they focus more on what they smell, eat and feel rather than focusing purely on what they hear; a dog that is more relaxed through the body will be more relaxed on an emotional level too.
PUPPY PLAY PEN
Our baby puppy playpens, a first for Australia, include FREEWORK, sensory therapy and soclialisation within a safe space. Offering different environments, textures and heights are very important for proprioception during their physical, mental and emotional growth period.We build confidence through a light introduction of new things and people, in a safe environment of structures and interactive pens to support their limbic system. The limbic system is the part of the brain involved in our behavioural and emotional responses of motivation, emotion, learning and memory.
We teach 'pattern' games which in turn can be used day to day to help your pup cope when things become overwhelming. We also discuss consent and touch, including temperament and personality and what that means for each individual puppy.
Building on new things within 4 weekly sessions is a wonderful head start for your pup. Puppies start in their own penned space and build to human interactions and practice stationing (mat work) and polite greetings in final sessions. All puppies move forward at their own pace, we acknowledge not every puppy is the same. Temperament & personality, breed and health play major parts in how a puppy navigates things around them.
All puppies have individual play pens, we then build to larger pens and finally to closer interaction and polite hello's with humans. The choice to move forward with calm confidence is taken at your puppy's pace.