New Zealand’s Mark Vette has over 40 years experience as an animal trainer and psychologist.
Owner and founder of Dog Zen, the incredible behaviouralist has spent years helping to rehabilitate mistreated and abandoned animals for rescue organisations to assist in their rehoming.
He has also helped countless families discover a more harmonious relationship with their beloved canines, through his popular, online training programme.
Most recently, Mark has spent four months in the UK filming a 6-episode TV series called “Dogs Might Fly” for Sky 1. Miraculously, Mark and his team successfully taught three rescue dogs to fly a plane.
Selected from rescue shelters across the UK, twelve dogs were tested for their comfort in in-flight scenarios and slowly and carefully acclimatised to various sensations. It was only after rigorous testing and a positive response that the dogs were placed into the next stage of testing – the flight itself.
“We built a deep connection to the dogs we were training, and that formed the basis for why we were able to achieve this feat. The crucial element was communication – we needed to understand the dogs, and the dogs needed to understand us and what we wanted them to do. By building a shared language I call Dog Zen, we were able to guide the dogs through the flying process.”
“Most importantly, this exercise has proven that shelter dogs are not secondhand goods. They are smart dogs that deserve a chance at life. Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about dog welfare and rescue, and I feel that’s the entire point of what we did – to bring attention to the fact that there are thousands of dogs abandoned every year – good dogs that need to find good homes,” says Vette.
See footage from Vette’s incredible series below. To learn more, or to enquire about your own training experience, go to the Dog Zen website here.