Tamasine Smith BCCS.CanBhvPrac worked with horses for over twenty years and taught and studied horsemanship for around half that time. For a number of years she was also a teacher and trainer of horsemanship at her own centre, around South Africa and other countries. Often those coming to the centre would meet the resident Ridgebacks and ask if she also trained dogs – to which the answer would be “no, only horses”. However, over time, it became clear that although horses are considered prey animals and dogs predators, they actually both need the same thing when it comes to the humans in their lives – leadership and consistency given with calmness, confidence and compassion. She discovered that what she taught in horsemanship lessons: that it’s about “who we need to be more than a method of training” – also applied to dogs. This led to her taking up studies in dog behaviour and starting on a training programme for dogs. After working with a friend and colleague to create a self-development course called Inner Game (after W. Timothy Gallwey’s books) initially using horses as the teachers, it seemed that it might work just as well with dogs. It did. And so Leadchanges was born.
Tamasine continues her studies, also attending workshops and gaining inspiration from others. One such group was DogsandAll in South Africa who prepare dogs for protection work and sniffer dog work including drug and bomb detection.
Leadchanges then moved to Andalucia, Spain and in addition to the original workshops, grew to encompass Tamasine’s own work and work with rescue groups such as Lab Rescue (South Africa), Ridgeback Rescue (South Africa) and PEPA (Spain). This work involved fostering, rehoming, home checks and rehabilitation.
In Spain, Tamasine helped a number of rescue charities, including helping to set up a new group in the Alhama area where she lived. She offered a foster carer training programme and still gives ongoing support with two of the charities. She also plans to continue fund raising for them and offer them support within the UK for any of their dogs adopted here. If you are interested in adopting a dog from Spain you can contact ASAP here and AAR here.
Leadchanges is currently based near Kenninghall in Norfolk, where Tamasine will continue her dog behaviourist work and the type of work she has done with groups such as Lab Rescue (South Africa), Ridgeback Rescue (South Africa), PEPA, Axarquia Animal Rescue and Alhama Street Animal Protection (Spain). This work involves fostering, rehoming, home checks and rehabilitation. Tamasine’s workshops and in house rehabilitation service will continue once that base has been set up but in the mean time she is able to offer home consultations and internet support.
Tamasine in particular loves helping with shy and fearful dogs, preparing dogs for travel, working with travel worried dogs, and with people who do not necessarily thrive in group classes. Leadchanges also offers work with puppies, helping people start their dogs off in the right way, offering longer residences and day care facilities for young dogs, which involves teaching them to crate, pool safety and swimming (summer months), basic obedience and agility along with socialisation to other humans and animals.
Tamasine is a keen traveller and has always found it necessary in the past to find house sitters for her dogs, because she has not wanted to subject her own beloved dogs to a closed and unloving regime while she was away. This has led her to offer, through Leadchanges, a different kind of kennelling, built on the concept of socialisation, walking and fun, allowing for a greater interaction with their human carers and access wherever possible (and appropriate) to her home, to be part of the family.
Tamasine has a Practitioner Diploma in Dog Behaviour and certificates in Canine First Aid and Dog Law with the British College of Canine Studies, all passed with distinction. She is also an Associate Member of the IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals). Associates have been working as canine professionals for a minimum of three years.
Tamasine is a BARK Professional