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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

TO INTRODUCE YOUR BABY (TODDLER, CHILDREN) TO YOUR DOG



 

DO YOU LOVE AND TRUST YOUR DOG...

Has he/she ever showed any signs of aggression towards anything? 

If the answer is no than you have nothing to worry about - you just need some help in understanding dogs a little - which I will provide you with below.


Having said that the biggest mistake people make is being nervous, anxious, fearful or expecting/anticipating problems.

I am going to give you a few articles to read. Please read them as it is critical that you understand how dogs communicate and how we unintentionally communicate to them. And below I am going to coach you on introducing your dog and baby in more detail. Also, the same methodology can and should be used when introducing your new dog to your toddler, or older children.

Here are the articles and then I will continue with an explanation below. You can either read them now or continue on and read them after - but to read them is a must!



First I want to share this with you...when my daughter was a toddler strangers would criticize me for leaving her in the car with Shanny (my first German Shepherd x Malamute) while I stepped into the pizza place to pick up the pizza I had called ahead to order. Shanny would have done anything and everything she could to protect my daughter if the need ever arose. Shanny would never have harmed her - I had nurtured Shanny's balanced state of being and enabled the best attributes of a dog. I had respected her as a dog and as a non-human person. I had every reason to trust in Shanny. Not only did Shanny never let me down, but she often astonished me with her kindness, instinct, intuition and great intelligence.


STEP ONE OF THE INTRODUCTION

When I was in the hospital, having just delivered my daughter into this world, I took one of the little hats that she wore on that first day and gave it to my Mom to take home (while I was still at the hospital) so Shanny could meet my daughter for the first time - not in actual physical presence - but instead by her scent on the little knitted hat. This is of great importance to the dog -  it should be allowed to meet the baby by scent first. (If you are introducing your new dog to children rather than baby, you can skip this step!).

Now I would have had no trepidation about my Daughter and Shanny meeting in physical presence first, but because I was still at the hospital, I wanted to send Shanny something to let her know what was going on. If you can do this first it is a wonderful way to start.

Why the nose first...well please read this to understand...


THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE with babies, children and dogs

I end up with quite a few clients who retain me to help because their dog has become child reactive. This is so easily avoidable, but people in not understanding how and what they communicate create this situation, which gets exponentially worse if allowed to continue and then results in aggression. So let’s make sure you do not accidentally create this situation.

How does this type of behaviour start? Well, when a child's parents are nervous of their child being around a dog...the dog learns that when children are near, people are nervous, anxious and/or fearful. Dogs look to their humans for leadership…if you are uncomfortable it tells your dog that it should be on guard. So the dog learns to associate children with tension and fear and eventually this turns to aggression. The dog does not create the situation of aggression - people do!  

This has nothing to do with training your dog - it has everything to do with training yourself. What this is about is the psychology of humans and the psychology of Dogs. 

Reading the articles that I provided links to above, will ensure that you can get a good understanding of what follows below…but read on and then you can go back to the linked articles after.

STEP TWO OF THE INTRODUCTION

Make sure you are not tense, stressed or anticipating reactive behaviour (what you probably think of as aggression) from your dog. Your dog has absolutely no reason to be aggressive - unless you create the aggression! To lead by example you must be without any such emotions. You must be (calm) and have confidence in yourself and in your dog. Your state of calm, confidence will set the framework for your dog’s state. If your thoughts and body language are relaxed and confident you indicate to your dog that you are confident with the situation - this allows your dog to relax and normalize the experience of meeting your baby. Dogs are naturally good with children and babies - it is only when the human creates tension and bad associates, when the human has fails to enable balance in their dogs that dogs are aggressive to children.

I am going to ask that you also read about Leadership and debunking the Alpha Myth here - a whole understanding is very important as it will foster a relaxes and informed state for you!

Encourage your dog to use its noise to greet your baby. A dog’s sense of smell is acute. In its natural state, dogs greet each other by smelling each other - not by jumping all over each other in an excited state. Excited greetings occur because the human has taught the dog that greeting (a human - child or adult) requires excitement. This is not a dog’s way. It is a human’s way. To teach this type of greeting de-normalizes the experience for a dog. Make the greeting normal and comfortable.

RELAX AND ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL MEETING - by doing so you will make it what it should be.

So train yourself to control your thoughts, your emotion and direct your focus. Only then can you properly support your dog. Remember you communicate with your state-of-mind, and hence your body…not just by the words or tone you use to speak.

If your dog is truly a little to eager/pushy you need to disagree with your dog’s behaviour. For instance your dog places his paws on the baby with a little too much energy or wants to lick the baby’s face too much. Touch your dog and say 'no' and then say 'gentle'. Touch gets his attention, 'no' to indicate the behaviour is not appropriate and 'gentle' to provide the right direction. This is coaching/mentoring. It is all your dog requires. As long as you do so from a calm and confident state your dog will understand. It is really simple - the energy behind what you do is everything and has an immense impact on creating a positive, normal, happy greeting and future relationship!

I cannot state enough how important it is to be relaxed, calm, confident and patient - it is everything!

This meeting should be enjoyed, it should be beautiful - and not infused with stress, tension and nightmare scenarios in your mind. Remember it is the human who creates the situation good and bad!

PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO NAY SAYERS

I have had to rehabilitate too many dogs who have become aggressive to children simply because they were not socialized using all of the methods I not above. Instead of socializing and normalizing them to greeting and being with children - the people fear from the get go and lock the dog in another room or never allow the dog to great a baby. Well guys, what do you think will happen - of course you make the dog aggressive. You make the dog frustrated and confused. Dogs are highly intelligent, sensitive animals - take advantage of their natural nature, work with it, don’t destroy it.



Additional Assistance

If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…

Dog Obedience Training and Behaviour Modification Services:
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service

Notes:
Please note - this article is for information purposes and is not a substitute for an in-person Session with me. When working with dogs I use many techniques - it is important to note that this article may touch on one or several techniques but not all. I select the technique that I use for a particular dog based on my observations of the dog and an intuitive, instinctive assessment of that dog's and its human's individual requirements. For example when I am working with a dog that is hyper sensitive and very physically reactive I will not use voice or touch. I use a lot of therapeutic touch on some dogs, others require the use of herding techniques and so on. Each and every technique must be combined with:
  • an understanding of the real intelligence, sensitivity and capability of dogs;
  • an understanding of how to read a dog's face and a dog's overall body language;
  • an understanding of the full spectrum of ways that humans communicate and dogs communicate; 
  • understanding and recognition of the individual that is each dog - no two dogs are the same...taking a 'cookie cutter' approach to techniques is not the way to work with a dog;
  • a complete recognition and understanding of all the elements that feed a behaviour and create an issue:
    •  the vast majority of people can only identify one or two elements...which vastly inhibits the ability to resolve behavior issues;
    • behaviours do not exist in isolation - there are always many elements that feed a single behaviour, there all always multiple behaviours that create a behavioral issue;
  • self-restraint and discipline on the part of the human who is directing the dog;
  • sensitivity, awareness, intuition, instinct and timing on the part of the human who is directing the dog;
    • to understand, connect with and adapt quickly and effectively to a dog's learning requirements you must be able to employ the same tools a dog uses - acute sensitivity, awareness, instinct, intuition and timing;
  • kindness, endurance, consideration, patience, persistence, perspective, the ability and know how to let the past go, the ability to set realistic expectations at any one point in time;
  • the creation of structure, rules, boundaries and limitations for each situation at the macro and micro level;
  • understanding of all the elements that make up an instruction and direction to a dog...there are multiple steps involved in an instruction - not just one!
  • absolute honesty - if you cannot be honest with yourself you will not be able to communicate clearly with a dog.
These are just some of the techniques that I teach my clients - it is a holistic, all-encompassing approach. If you are missing any one element of the above mentioned your success rate will be affected to one degree or another in implementing the techniques offered in the article presented above.




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Note -

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Nutraceuticals and Alternative Medicines:

When choosing to use any of the items or protocols in the article above, it is your responsibility to ensure safe use of the item/protocol. Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines all have drug interactions, most have health issue contradictions, some have side effects. Use of substances and protocols are your responsibility. Prior to use of any substance or protocol make sure you do your research - check for all cautions, contradictions,interactions, side effects. If in doubt do not use the substance or protocol. If the substance, or protocol is contradicted for your animal do not use. If your animal has an underlying condition you are not aware of substances may conflict with that condition.

2.0 The Real Meaning of Holistic…

Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’. It is important to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just as unethical as BigPharma, the Food and Pet Food Industry, and unfortunately many veterinarians.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (i.e. an herb) you are using a natural substance, this is not synonymous with holistic.

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that - overall health, and wellbeing.

Please do not expect a natural substance to miraculously remedy a health or behavioral situation. A natural substance may be used to treat symptoms. However, if the factors causing the underlying issue are not properly identified, analyzed and addressed you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach that identifies root cause, seeks to remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues, and builds a complete, and detailed approach to immediate treatment, remedy, and maintenance of long-term health = holistic.

I offer extensive consultation services - Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness and Holistic Behavioral, for people that are serious about looking after their dogs and cats holistically. If you want to engage my services you can contact me via email or phone.

If you are looking for additional free advice, please refer back to the articles on my site, do not contact me via email or phone - personalized service is for my clients / patients only.

3.0
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Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen
the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats

karen@ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca

Canada, U.S.A. North America
1-613-926-5536 (off)
1-613-293-3707 (cell)

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