New Zealand has opened its first dog park to help deal with canine mental health.
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Just like humans they can become overwhelmed.
Source: 1 NEWS
The Canine NeuroPark has been opened in the Christchurch redzone of Pacific Park, offering dogs physical and mental rehabilitation.
“Our field may look similar to many dog parks or fields, but our focus is to give owners and dogs space to heal the underlying issues of both body and mind,” canine behaviour practitioner Bono Beeler said.
Beeler runs the park with business partner Elena Saltis, a certified canine rehabilitation therapist.
“For dogs with behavioural problems, it’s all about calming them down so they can more easily take in and process sensory information – ultimately reverting to natural behaviours,” Beeler said.
“We want to help them be more social and that’s something you can’t train – the dog has to learn it through sensory experience.
“Our park is a real workout for the mind. Navigating the different sensory stations may look easy but it’s not simple for a dog – it takes a lot of energy for them to figure it out.”
Kelly Burt from Dog Watch Adoption Centre takes animals to the park from her nearby shelter, as many suffer from “fear, anxiety and stress”.
A fox terrier. Photo / iStock
“We’re seeing success in homes, success with dogs that we may have not been successful with before,” Burt said.
The park’s canine rehabilitation therapist Elena Saltis said mental health issues can be related to physical injuries.
“What we’ve done is set up stations to stimulate different sensations into their paws which will help to activate the neurological pathways in the brain and stimulate the body proprioception,” Saltis said.
More than 100 people have signed up to the charitable park. Toitū Te Whenua LINZ has facilitated 3028 short-term projects, events or land uses since 2016 when it took over responsibility for the red zone in Christchurch.