The Story of Magnus
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Life wasn’t very pleasant for poor little Magnus at the beginning. He was owned by a hair
dresser who kept him in a crate all day long and he got very little attention. Magnus was bored, unhappy and started (to quote his owner) “being naughty”.
Luckily for Magnus he found a wonderful family called the Annings, who knew exactly what this little Patterdale Terrier needed and that’s when they phoned me, Jude, a dog walker. I first met Magnus in 2016 and was struck by his tiny size and cheerful nature. I’ll be honest, I was worried this little guy might be too little for the groups of dogs I took out and wondered whether he would cope.
I can tell you he was fine! His tiny size doesn’t detract from his enormous character and Magnus was brilliant at holding his own. He was later joined by a new family member called Myrtel who is a Rottweiler cross Labrador/Saluki; he just loves to boss her about.
The two of them together with four other friends get picked up and taken for the most beautiful walks in the Blackdown Hills. We love to go to hilltops like Hembury Fort, or forests like Sheldon Woods.
I believe that dogs are healed and soothed by nature as much as people are. A dog’s main sense is smell so getting out into the wild amongst the earth, plants, foliage and wildlife really can be a sensory massage and is a very exciting and enriching experience.
Little Magnus loves a good game of spin; he gets very excited and barks at me to tell me that he’s ready. I throws small biscuits into the long wet grass for a good ‘sniffari’; snuffling all the bits along with his friends helps him to not be food aggressive. The grass tickles his little nose and he finds it very calming searching nooks and crevasse around the tree of treats.
Using that brain of his, he becomes mentally tired as well as physically. Magnus compares it to doing a crossword but he’s never actually completed one.
It’s all trickery and bribery with dogs. Of course, I use lots of food but they don’t get it for free. The dogs have to work for it - which is exactly what hundreds of years of breeding was designed to do. Working a dog and encouraging it to focus on you is the ultimate aim. We are all told to socialise our dogs but most owners don’t know what that means.
To me, socialising a dog isn’t about letting your dog wonder up to anyone. I actually guide my dogs away from that because some dogs and people can be fearful and I always feel it’s only polite to ask if they can meet. This is one of the challenges I set myself for the dogs. This doesn’t make them unsociable, it actually makes them more sociable - and they’re still very happy to be in other dogs company whilst behaving beautifully. My advice is don’t socialise your dog, socialise with your dog.
Into the deep dark woods we go, off the beaten track, under trees, over trees, a stop and an interesting sniff. Magnus was a dog that liked a good chase and to say hello to the other dogs without asking first, so I know if my walks are more exciting by keeping his focus on me through treat chucking and doing tricks, he will listen better and want to stay with me more.
He loves the activities we share along the way and when we stop for five minutes for some photos and cuddles he likes a little fuss - although not too much because that will ruin his street cred!
Magnus has been out walking with me for four years now and he’s the life and soul of the party. He’s always picking on me to throw him a stick and will get annoyed when I won’t - and then he grumbles like a bad tempered chimp. I call him Bubbles when he does this! You can find a video on my Facebook page of him doing this.
Out in nature Magnus’ confidence has blossomed; he is now a true adventure dog and loves attending our canine forest school. Magnus’s owners send me videos of him bobbing around on his surfboard in the paddling pool and he also loves riding on the battery-operated kids’ truck with his girls. Here’s to many more years Magnus!