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The Patterdale Mindset

The Patterdale Mindset E-motion. Patterdales are alert hunters and looking for an opportunity to ‘commit’. They don’t seek to dominate, they seek to please. They need a ‘master’ and will live loyal to their master’s wishes as their own control over their instincts and emotions allow. High pitched voice and whistle are good signals to bring the Patterdale running back. Also their association with their master is close friendship; high value treat-sharing, they see you moving on to further a field, or simply association of routine – home for tea – they’ll be there. They adore affirmation of their being a valued ‘good dog’. Please don’t take risks as they have no road sense and our roads and even our country lanes are responsible for killing many a Patterdale.

Patterdales will naturally be out in front on walks with their nose poking in the undergrowth or their paws lifted up in pose as they listen to a ‘rustle’! They need intense socialisation to enable them to meet other dogs without intense emotion and excitement. So many are misjudged as ‘aggressive and ready to attack everything’ when in fact they want to go over and meet. Their instincts for play have to be softened and they need to become ‘mannered’. We advocate a muzzle until they learn to tone it down. This shows a responsible owner who is working with maintaining social contact whilst ensuring with gentle control asserted through the voice and lead. Muzzles ensure social encounter achieves a trustful affiliation.

Parallel Walking How many times do we hear “our Patterdale is perfect in the house, its outside that they are a nightmare”. We think ‘unaccustomed as I am’… this terrier needs frequent, long and confident walks ideally with walking partners; ‘friends’ outside who can offer parallel walking. Parallel walking is when a dog is controlled on a lead and gradually bought into association with another dog(s) on lead(s) not face to face, but by moving slowly together with attention maintained on their walk. They develop a ‘comfortable’ coexistence as trust in the other dog is developed. They learn that the other dog is trustworthy and doesn’t exist for them alone; awareness that they not really interested in them. The aim is to gradually move the dogs together so they are fairly close, but never able to have physical contact. It takes nerve to ignore the excited behaviour and may need several attempts of moving away and building association again. In rescue we are always conscious never to rush to achieve an objective, first break it down into achievable steps with the ultimate goal ever in sight. We are working towards building trust. Terriers are such bold individuals ‘all front’, but so often they don’t have the inner skills or confidence to match the bravado. They are ‘hot head’ and get themselves is situations they never intended. Ask me how many rescue dogs have had the love, care and attention a terrier needs with adjustment to a domestic lifestyle, where they are the centre of a family’s lifestyle; few before- only after homing.

Forgiveness Patterdales are very tender and loving. If they make a mistake with their instincts rushing through, they need forgiveness and future management. We are constantly taking Fell terriers in who have nipped, bitten or are ‘hard to handle’. We are very forgiving. To ask a working terrier to live in a domesticated setting and adjust fully, is achievable, but needs mutual respect. The big mistake is suggesting that a terrier, who has only ever known a family unit and usually without the degree of socialisation their breed type demands, at an early age, ‘go and live on a farm’. This is to condemn that terrier to a state of emotional devastation. If the terrier isn’t coping in their current setting, ask yourself are they equipped to cope with ‘free range’ farm animals, livestock, a kennelled life or intermixing with cats and other dogs as a pack? We can’t believe people are still making such suggestions. You can’t be serious.

Up close and very comfortable Believe it or not, but in terrierrescue we do not believe in kennelling dogs other than seldom holiday parking or in our case saving their lives as a homeless dog. Our relationship with our dogs is one of ‘part of the family pack’. People are firstly shocked that we are based in South England (Richmond, Surrey not Yorkshire) and secondly taken aback when we decline homes who are offering a kennelled working life. We don’t believe any dog should be demoted into a ‘hardened’ lifestyle. We work with the opposite belief structure, that our terriers can come in from the cold. Being your terrier’s manager/boss is not actually an employer/employee role. It’s actually a ‘pack structure’ where you relieve the terrier of their inclination to take on stress and get them to relax and listen to ways in which everyone can just mingle along nicely without the umph! Our dogs sleep on our beds or in our bedrooms not outside.