We at OneMind Dogs are celebrating the National Pet Month by highlighting two main themes: the joys of owning a pet and responsible pet ownership. We wanted to find out what these concepts mean to our community and friends.
In this interview series, we chatted with several key members of the OneMind Dogs community about the importance of responsible dog ownership.
This time we interviewed Janita Leinonen. If you know OneMind Dogs, you’d know Janita. If you don’t, Janita is the leading mastermind behind the OneMind Dogs training method. It all started when her dog Tekla suddenly became deaf. Janita had to reconstruct her way of thinking about dog handling and training. From there, the OneMind Dogs positive training method was created, through understanding the dog’s point of view and their natural behaviour.
Hi Janita! Let’s get started – tell us a bit about your background?
I wanted a dog ever since I was three years old. I always wanted to visit all dog owners’ houses to meet with their dogs. Even then, dogs accepted me super quickly – even dogs that had a fresh litter, or in general didn’t like new people. I also used to take all the neighborhood dogs out for walks when I was old enough to do so.
When I was 13, my parents promised that once we move to the new house, I’d get the dog I had wanted for ten years. And indeed, they got me one! Back then, I didn’t know anything about dog hobbies, especially about agility. I just taught my dog everything I could think of, and by coincidence, a lot of them resembled agility techniques. Going out with my friend and our dogs and teaching them all kinds of tricks we could think of in a park was so much fun.
Eight years later, I saw my first agility show and I was sold on the spot. Now, 27 years later, I am as excited about agility as I was then. Agility has given me so much more than I could have imagined: career, spouse, and all of my best friends.
Who are the animals that own the house you live in?
We currently have eight dogs, all border collies. They all have their own personalities, even the language they speak (or, rather we speak to them) is different. In our household, you can tell which one of the dogs is being spoken to by the tone of voice. And they are all such great, big characters! One is a very wise one, one is always putting the blame on others, one is from Italy and of course, has a very clear body language with a lot of movement!
How would you describe your life living with a pet?
With eight dogs, life doesn’t come without struggles. You can’t travel spontaneously. Your sadness about losing one is bottomless. You have to worry about their health, mentally and financially.
But, the positives overpower the negatives thousandfold. My dogs are living with an attitude that I want to implement: live in the moment, don’t worry about tomorrow! They are always happy to see me, and they have brought so much fun and activities to my life. Thousands of kilometers would not have been walked without my dogs. They also create a feeling of safety when you are alone.
With great dogs come great responsibilities. Activation, health, socialization, feeding – there are a lot of responsibilities, and you can’t choose when you need to attend to them. In bad weather, a terrible flu, or when you only feel like sleeping and munching snacks on the sofa. Sorry, but you need to get up: dogs need someone to take care of them every single day. In addition to just taking care of the basic needs, you need to invest into training them so they don’t become a burden for you or anyone else.
We at OneMind Dogs are emphasizing responsible pet ownership. What does this mean to you?
Responsible ownership starts with commitment. Are you prepared for it? You’re looking into a life of 10-15 years with another living being that needs your attention and care and everything we mentioned earlier.
Your life of being spontaneous ends. Is that okay with you? The ability to make completely free choices is taken away from you. How does that fit with you? My life revolves around my dogs, and I’m happy with it. I might have to leave the company Christmas party a bit earlier, but that’s something I am more than willing to do for my dogs.
What is the best part of owning a dog?
Dogs never have a bad day. You are always welcomed home with a wagging tail, ready for another active day together.