New Zealand opened its first dog park to improve the mental health of dogs.
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Just like humans, they can be overwhelmed. Source: 1 NEWS
Canine NeuroPark opened in the Christchurch Redzone of Pacific Park and provides physical and mental rehabilitation for dogs.
“Our area may look like many dog parks or fields, but our focus is on giving owners and dogs space to heal the underlying problems of the mind and body,” said Bono Beeler, a canine behavior practitioner.
Beeler runs the park with business partner Elena Saltis, a certified canine rehabilitation therapist.
“For dogs with behavior problems, the point is to calm them down so that they can more easily absorb and process sensory information – and ultimately return to natural behaviors,” said Beeler.
“We want to help them be more social, and you can’t train that – the dog has to learn it through sensory experience.
“Our park is a real workout for the mind. Navigating through the different sensory stations may look easy, but it’s not easy for a dog – it takes a lot of energy to figure it out. “
Kelly Burt of the Dog Watch Adoption Center brings animals from her nearby animal shelter to the park as many suffer from “fear, anxiety and stress.”
A fox terrier. Photo / iStock
“We see success in households, success with dogs that we may not have been successful with before,” said Burt.
The park’s canine rehabilitation therapist Elena Saltis said mental health issues may be related to physical injuries.
“We set up stations to stimulate various sensations in their paws that help activate the neurological pathways in the brain and stimulate body proprioception,” Saltis said.
More than 100 people have joined the charitable park. Toitū Te Whenua LINZ has made 3028 short-term projects, events or land uses possible since 2016, when it took over responsibility for the red zone in Christchurch.