As we introduce a dog or puppy to the world we expect it to function in, we want to send the message that life with us is good. You (the dog) are safe. What may seem a bit weird and unsettling is not a threat. To do this we must log (have the dog or puppy go through/experience) as many positive experiences as we can. In doing this, we will inevitably encounter things and situations that push the dog out of its comfort zone and elicit a fear response. How we handle these situations will have a big impact on the how the dog will handle stressful situations in the future. Experiences can make or break a dog. Continue reading
Many companion animals are catered to in their day to day living. Owners promptly alleviate what stress they can as soon as they can. Gratification is instant. What happens then when an animal’s sum of life experiences are such that it has received what it wanted when it wanted doesn’t get its way? What happens when direct access (I see….I want it….I go straight to it and get it….if that doesn’t work my owner/well trained staff steps in and helps me get it) doesn’t work for this dog? Continue reading
In the last post (Lead) we looked at group dynamics and some of the character traits that make for a great leader. Now let’s look at how a good leader helps a group function more like a community. If a leader’s actions aren’t about competing for resources, what are they about?
In order for a leader to be able to lead a group effectively and efficiently (which is what keeps the group safe), group members must be responsible for two things. Continue reading
When it comes to dogs, it is common to hear people speak of dominance….a dominant dog, a dominance problem, maybe they have been told that they need to be the dominant one in the household, pack, or their relationship with a dog. Often people think of dominance when what they need to focus on is leadership. These two terms are not the same. They are not interchangeable. Dominant does not mean leader. Continue reading
Even the most timid and insecure animal can flourish given enough time and the right circumstances (especially when a strong bond with good leadership is in play). It all begins with love, understanding, and putting a bit of thought into how we prepare our dogs for and introduce our dogs to elements of the world we want and expect it to function in. Animals need an opportunity to access and process new environments and input without adrenaline coursing through their system. Continue reading
Understanding intense feelings.
Intense feelings come with a veritable flood of neurochemicals (primarily, cortisol and adrenaline) associated with stress and the fight or flight response animals experience when they are afraid. Most of the aggression we see in dogs is fear- or insecurity-based. Dogs (and most animals) view the world in terms of safe, potentially unsafe, and unsafe. When a dog feels unsafe and afraid, an increase-distance alarm goes off inside (fight or flight). With this comes a flood of neurochemicals associated with this emotional response and distress. Continue reading
Feelings are important.
Life in general would be much easier if feelings weren’t such a major influence in how our day to day lives play out. They drive people (and animals) to action. Never underestimate the power of emotions. Feelings and emotions have driven people to suicide, to monumental sacrifice, to re-prioritize their life, to make incredibly poor choices and bold good choices, to stand up for what they believe in. Feelings are often the unconscious forces driving behavior. Continue reading
In the post The dog’s approach you learned how to improve the way your dog presents itself to you. Next we need to teach the dog to move out of our space. This may sound like a silly thing to teach, but our body language is inherently different than that of another species (in this case, the dog), and you need to be understood to be effective. Continue reading
Now that you understand a bit about the concept of space and dogs, why it is important, and how it impacts how interactions and relationships unfold, let’s talk about what we can do to improve things with our furry friends….to disarm them, to help them have a more open broadcast, to help them become more optimistic about future approaches by us and others. Continue reading
When a dog approaches us, the roles are reversed. We get to decide and dictate what is appropriate and acceptable. Space should be important to us. However, this is where things get convoluted. It’s easy to come up with reasons to always let the dog barge right in. Maybe you want the dog to like or love you. It’s easier. Maybe you want the dog to be extra drivey (run hard and fast, tug like a fiend, and drive into you) to build drive, teach tight turns, and maximize their performance in dog sports. Listen to me now and hear me later…. Continue reading