It’s 11:15 on a sunny Sunday morning at Clover Point and owners with leashed pooches in tow begin to gather around Asia and Jim Moore.
The couple have operated K-9 Superheroes Dog Whispering service for the past six years and host a group dog walk with current and past clients on weekends, rain or shine.
Teaching “dog psychology” – the more clinical name for dog whispering – is their primary stock in trade and applies to both the animals and their owners, Asia says.
“There’s lots of dog lovers out there, but loving a dog is not enough,” she says.
“People continue to get dogs when they don’t have the capacity to give them what they need.”
Socialization, one of the main reasons for the regular group walks, is crucial for dogs, she says.
Similar to wild counterparts such as wolves, dogs have a pack mentality and are looking to follow, Asia says, and that means owners must lead in a way the dog understands.
The Moores do their best to teach both dog and owner a common language in two sessions, which last as long as required to make progress. That language has nothing to do with instilling fear, Asia notes, but is about being consistent.
“A dog needs rules and boundaries – actions that tell it what it’s supposed to be doing.”
When dogs are perceived to be behaving badly, they are simply acting out in the only way they know how, she says.
K-9’s one-on-one service – they offer no group classes – is primarily aimed at helping people eliminate such behaviours in their dog as jumping on visitors, barking incessantly or acting aggressively toward people or other dogs. But there are positive byproducts.
“For a lot of people, (having success working with their dog) helps them feel better about themselves and feel like more of a confident person,” Asia says.
Asia grew up on Salt Spring Island and found training dogs came naturally to her. Along the way, she says, she learned to communicate with humans, an important skill in a venture that sees the couple interview clients before beginning work with the dog.
Jim Moore grew up around horses and brings a decidedly male perspective to the business, Asia says.
“If you’re not afraid of horses, you’re not going to be afraid of dogs,” she says.
From a business perspective, working as a couple is an advantage, Jim says, in that some dog owners respond better to a man than a woman.
“I think with our interpersonal skills and life experience, we bring a lot to the table,” he says.
The Moores, who also work with rescued dogs and help place problem animals, schedule no more than one session a day so they can give clients the time they need, Asia says.
As for the Sunday walks, getting the animals together – both the four-legged and two-legged varieties – is a good opportunity for both species to check in.
“Dogs need socialization,” Asia says, adding that the owners frequently have questions for them.
For more information on this canine training service, visit k-9superheroesdogwhispering.com or call 778-678-DOGS (3647).
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