Tillières-sur-Avre. Séverine, expert in gentle dog training

Séverine, hundenes ven © La Dépêche de Verneuil

Severine Gastelais-Marie is an independent trainer at Watchmen of Saint-Michel in Tillières-sur-Avre (Eure). Its domain consists of a boarding house for dogs, but also a training or activity place, such as an agility park, which is accessible to customers.

She welcomes and takes care of dogs, each with their own identity: Like Texas, a four-month-old Rottweiler from the Rotts de la Baronnie, or Foggia, a 12-year-old Cane Corso Italiano. She also runs her business Anne Sophie, former soldier much invested and and volunteer.

His journey

From an early age, Séverine was attached to dogs. She is studying at an agricultural school and will initially take over the family farm or become a veterinarian.

From 2013, she began working as a breeder and dog trainer. Shortly afterwards, she set out on her own and opened the guards at Saint-Michel in Tillières. It is then a “professional but family breeding of Cane Corso and Beauceron”.

But “after ten fine years” she withdrew her breeding activity. She says she is “disgusted” to see dogs that are often poorly adapted to their master’s lifestyle and sometimes in poor condition, being sold. This is especially the case for relatives of Séverine, who adopted a dog at a show that turned out to be deaf and have scabies.

Today, she has “several hats” because she manages the family farm with her husband, but her primary activities continue to be dissemination and dog training.

His struggles

Séverine goes against these breeders and trainers and emphasizes listening to the animal. Above all, we must “understand the body language of the animal,” that is, know what it will tell us and how it feels. Raising an animal “requires work” and adopting a dog is above all a responsibility and an investment of his person.

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Adopting a dog is not “like choosing a blanket”. He should not be taken for his physical appearance, but rather for his behavior and his suitability for the life of the master. “So before you choose a breed for its beauty or its intelligence; advice must be sought from an educator.”

Tillières dogs
Séverine takes a dog through an agility course © La Dépêche de Verneuil

Not taking these criteria into account is risking missing out on the training of your dog ”. This encourages “giving it up, giving it away, or finding excuses to leave it at the SPA or, worse, asking the vet to kill it,” often powerless over the demands of the masters.

Puppy school

Séverine has opened a “puppy school” on her property. This school consists of welcoming puppies, in order to best support their masters in their education. “This allows the puppy to develop in different situations or scenes by using paths, small obstacles, to understand everyday life”.

The lessons last 1.30 with the puppies and Zabou. This is a Visigoth tip, one of Séverine’s dogs, which “transforms” the puppies by giving them the confidence to tackle obstacles. So, “depending on his age, he will start in kindergarten, and then when I feel he is ready, he will continue with primary school”.

This school is essential for Séverine, who believes that the dog must be brought up from an early age in order not to adopt bad attitudes while growing up. “It should be mandatory,” Séverine argues.

Dogs are not violent

Séverine welcomes and takes care of impressive dogs like the Cane Corso Italiano or even the Beaucerons and Rottweilers. She wants to change the negative image that we give to large mastiffs, known to be more ferocious and especially biting.

She confirms that “there is no bad dog, only bad masters”. According to her, small dogs can be so biting and violent because it is not the size of the dog that matters, it is primarily a matter of training.

Workshops to start

Therefore, she also wants to hold workshops with young people, in schools, to create awareness about these issues.

Being a woman in this environment does not seem to be shocking to Séverine, it is above all a “story of charisma”: one must know how to stand up to even the biggest dogs. And she does not want to hear about animal cruelty in her home. If she lets certain dogs sleep in a cage, it is never against their will, on the contrary: she even describes one of her dogs as “gaga of her cage”.

hospital dog
During the annual Vernoline barbecue, Séverine and her dog met the residents. © The Verneuil Dispatch

His actions

Séverine’s activities also focus on animal welfare. She travels or brings in the elderly and disabled to meet “farm animals”. She can thus present her dogs, but also rabbits, horses, a peacock, a parakeet …

Orus, his cane corso, is an expert in the field. He has “enormous empathy” and naturally goes to those who need it most. The operation is always a success because the beasts have a calming effect and bring happiness.

Contact: 06 15 43 48 95

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