Robert Falconer-Taylor chats with Claire Martin

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@Dog Centred Care hosts chats from the Dog Centred Care FB group –

In this next discussion as part of his monthly series , Robert talks with Claire Martin. They talk about the role of dog sports in the lives of Claire and her dogs, the role of her dogs in education and the benefits they can bring to the social and emotional well-being of our young people, the dynamics of living with a large group of dogs and linking all of these to the hedonic budget of the dogs through activation of the seeking system.

This is a cracker !

BIO from Claire :

I am a COAPE trained behaviourist and trainer, a secondary school teacher and I live with a family of 9 rescue sighthound dogs.

The dogs and I train and compete at a variety of dog sports including canicross, bikejor, scooterjor, agility, hoopers, lure coursing and mantrailing.
My dogs also come to work with me, to the specialist school where I work, and they are present in lessons and in everyday school life. Our students have a range of medical needs but many are very able and most are neurodiverse.

With a colleague I have written a level 2 accredited qualification in dog training and husbandry that sits within the school education framework and I teach this course to around 50 students a year.

I see some behaviour clients still, despite my full time career!, primarily dogs who are reactive and often bite risks.

My particular skill set is in developing the ‘hedonic budget’ of these dogs, particularly balancing their individual emotional needs (conceptualised within Panksepp’s emotional SYSTEMS e.g. SEEKING in all its variations, see Karin Pienaar’s Talk on MHERA) and mood state.

I also volunteer as the sole behaviour adviser for a podenco rescue and as part of a team providing support to the dogs homed by a U.K. sighthound rescue.