About Me (or rather, my middle eastern experience)
My name is Matthew Hatherley. I've just recently returned to Ucluelet after 11 years in Qatar. You can check out the facebook page I had for my business there: Doha Dog Services. Qatar was a very unusual place to be working with dogs. There were quite a few people living there that traditionally viewed dogs as "dirty"; certainly not as a family pet to be kept inside the home. All too frequently dogs found themselves the victims of the most horrific abuse or at least neglect. Dogs were not permitted in public places nor were there any dog parks. For many months, the heat in Qatar is staggering and dogs can only be walked late at night or early morning. Everyone lives in either concrete homes with token backyards or in apartments. Greenery is sparse in this desert country.
All this results in what must be one of the most mentally unhealthy dog populations in the world. Even expensive imported dogs were in danger of being tossed on the streets on the whims of their wealthy "collectors". It all contributed to a ballooning and out of control stray dog population mostly made up of saluki (one of the oldest breeds, primal and independent) mixes . These dogs were then adopted by caring owners, but a history of abuse or neglect resulting in fearful, aggressive, or anxious dogs or even just dogs rarely experiencing proper socialization with other dogs and humans (or suffering "cabin fever", etc) created an environment where a regular part of my clientele was what in Canada would be considered the "exceptions". I estimate I helped around 300 dogs in private consultations each year. Frequently, these dogs didn't have the luxury of time and I learned to to put aside my pride in the best interest of the dog. Practicing the "sit" for an hour with the owner was not in the best interest of these dogs. I could show the owner that in 5 minutes, to be practiced on their own time, and then we could move on to bigger issues. And there were always more dogs waiting to be helped. Beyond my first week of operations, I never advertised. Word of mouth was enough.
Frequently, these were also the types of dogs I worked with to establish my dog packs for the off-leash adventure walks (sight hounds and northern breeds(in the desert!) also being a significant portion of these packs). I worked with dogs at their most instinctive levels, far away from controlled and limited environments. As a result, I believe I have developed a good understanding of dogs, what motivates them (your dog will never be a robot no matter how much "programming" you put in), and how to work with them in the real world. I have experience, good psychological insight which breeds compassion, and I continue to educate myself. The aim is for your dog to have as good a life as realistically possible in a human world and for you to enjoy being with your dog.