Mady Bensdorp has a big heart for dogs.
All dogs, but especially for her rescue dogs Dusty and Cas.
The 21-year-old Ashburton woman has canines at home, at her work for the Dog House and has just started a dog training business, Dusty Dingo Dog Training.
She thinks there might be a few dogs bought during covid lockdown that are now in their teens and needing to learn some manners.
Mady has learned plenty of skills herself as a member of the Mid Canterbury Dog Training Club and has taught Dusty and Cas tricks, agility and obedience that sees her travel around the South Island to dog shows.
She is a certified canine coach, dog trainer and instructor.
She and Dusty were also among the top 10 dogs selected to take part in TVNZ’s Dog Almighty show, currently on air.
Mady adopted Dusty five years ago; she is a lab-staffy mix and was abandoned with the rest of her litter in a cardboard box.
The pair have a special connection and Mady says Dusty has helped her through depression and anxiety.
The toll of travelling weekly by air to film Dog Almighty and the stress of learning new tricks was too much for Dusty and Mady withdrew her from the show.
She says it stopped being fun for Dusty.
Fun is the key ingredient for all her dog work and her dogs respond to rewards. Dusty likes doggo treats, Cas likes treats and toys. They both enjoy plenty of patting.
Mady’s backyard has a fenced off area for practice. In agility competitions, dogs take on jumps and tunnels in an obstacle course that shows off their special bond.
They compete for fun and placings are a bonus.
Dusty and Cas are not the only dogs in the family household – Cavalier King Charles spaniels Gracie, Steven and Ziggy also vie for attention.
Mady says choosing a dog requires research as breeds have different character traits. Some are high energy and like to work. Some are more relaxed.
Her new dog training business is about helping dogs and their owners learn some basic manners and prevent forming bad habits.