In 2003 I established Toscanzahoeve on my parent’s farm. I did this in memory of Tosca, my American Stafford who was stabbed to death by former neighbour. He claimed it was unacceptable to keep a dangerous dog on ‘his’ street. This was totally unjustified, poor Tosca did not even attempt to defend himself when the neighbour was stabbing him. Staffords have been very unfairly branded as being dangerous. My objective in setting up Toscanzahoeve was to share a better understanding and knowledge of animals so that the chances of such an incident reoccurring would be decreased significantly.
I was already working in the communication and management sector with people and went abroad to study the training and behaviour of animals. In 2003, some 11 years ago, I started my business Toscanzahoeve.
I help people with animals and animals with people; I work on improving communication, knowledge, understanding and behaviour. I do this through workshops, lectures, personal consultations and training, Internet blogs, books and television programs.
I work with animals and people, I coach individuals and work with businesses.
At Toscanzahoeve we offer dog training, we can help people to select a new puppy, we help with behavioural training, carry out behavioural tests and have a special dog swimming pool.
My books have been translated into Portuguese, English and Italian. We are the only authorized training centre in Belgium to offer behavioural therapy and therapy animal courses. All of our graduates have recognized qualifications and are eligible to become a member of the professional association of dog behaviourist (hondengedragstherapeut-belgie.be).
Furthermore, I coach people who find themselves questioning their lives and work with them and their companion animals to find out if personal coaching using Animal Reflection can help them find their way forwards. Animal Reflection offers the possibility of real communication in all honesty.
For businesses, we offer team building and communication training: we put dogs together with a team of people and by assessing the way the dogs are reflecting the human team members we can provide insight into the participants behaviour, interaction and way of communicating.
I am also an ambassador for various organizations such the Animal Coalition, an association fighting for animal rights in Belgium and I am a founder member of the Therapy Animal Association. This is an association which promotes the use of therapy animals in educational projects in schools and for occupational therapy in retirement homes. Dogs are also trained as service dogs for the specific needs of disabled persons and diabetic and epileptic patients.
I have a very varied job, working with all kinds of animals in Belgium and abroad, for example I go to India for a project involving the snow leopard and to Brazil to study panthers
We hold a regular yearly open door day in Toscanzahoeve and visitors are welcome to ask for a behavioural test for their dog or to join in one of the many workshops on offer. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and of course dogs are welcome. All information can be found on the website www.toscanzahoeve.be