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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

TO STOP YOUR DOG FROM CHASING YOUR CAT



Robbie and Tibby weren't always best friends -
Robbie just needed some coaching to get there!
IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR DOG TO CHASE YOUR CAT...you have to disagree with the behaviour consistently and pro-actively. 

The methodology below is also relevant to stop your dog from chasing your rabbit, guinea pig, ferret...

One - Make sure you are calm (without excess emotion),and ready to coach with fair, firm confidence. Don't be aggressive; don't raise your voice in anger.

Two - Lead...addressing from a distance is not leadership! Calmly but with assurance get up and walk over to your dog. If you need to move a distance - fine, move quickly, deliberately, confidently - not panicked or excited! Don't match your dog's state, if you do so, you lead by the wrong example.

Three - Get your dog's attention, you can touch your dog firmly but quickly with your fingers - at its neck or waist, you can snap your fingers and say 'hey' firmly, but not with anger. Never touch or talk in anger as you then lead by the wrong example!

Four - Tell your dog what you want i.e. 'no, don't touch' and then say 'leave it' I have ten dogs - different breeds, from tiny to large - they all understand this type of direction...as do the dogs I work with for my clients. Direct your dog, don't whine and complain to your dog...for example... 'I wish you wouldn't so that' or 'Oh, stop that' and so on.

Five - Tell your dog what you would like it to do instead i.e. 'go sit down' etc.

Six - If your dog gets back up and moves forward to start the chase again...you can either use your voice as noted above or you can herd your dog. Herding is accomplished by using your body to herd your dog away - back it out of the space by walking into the space your dog is occupying or use your body by leaning in or toward your dog, you can block the space with your foot, or even just slightly move your foot out or your knee, you can then point them away with your hand/arm and say /no', go lie down...and make sure that they do!

Seven - Follow through...if your dog goes does go to chase again follow through by repeating step one to five - don't get angry, simply correct as per the steps above. This is a test of wills, persistence, determination - you have to be more committed and more determined than your dogs is...and you must take a leadership position not a dominate, angry, excited position.


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.











YOUR DOG, YOUR COUCH

'Sarah' my German Shepherd x Siberian Husky enjoying warmth & comfort
I am going to address this topic in three sections…

DOES ALLOWING YOUR DOG TO SIT ON THE COUCH CREATE DOMINANCE,  AGGRESSION?

Clients often ask me is it OK if my dogs go on my couch? Will it make them aggressive?
The answer is no - but lack of leadership can!

Recently, I had a client ask me if his little Yorkie was being dominating as it liked to sit on the back of a couch! He had read an article on the internet that if a dog sits on the back of a coach, the dog is dominating.

I love the fact that we can do so much research at the touch of our finger…the only problem is that it magnifies the ability of those who really do not understand dogs to influence others.

To answer my client’s question, I ask them

One - Is it OK with you if your dog sits on the couch?

Two - If you indicate to your dog that is should get off of the couch will it get off without any issue?

Three  -  Can everyone else sit on the couch and your dog willingly accepts every ones presence without a complaint (no growling, no nipping, etc.);

Four - Will your dog quietly yield space on the couch should he need to move over a little to make room for people or another dog?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above - then there is no issue - there is no reason why your dog should not avail themselves of the comfort of the couch!

Sitting on a couch does not make a dog reactive aggressive - it is a lack of proper coaching and mentoring that can make a dog reactive.

Personally, I love relaxing late at night sitting on the couch, with dogs to either side of me, at me feet and in their various favourite spots around the living room...seeing them just being calm, relaxed, and content. Their energy spent for the day.
Jordie, my German Shepherd x Malamute relaxing after a pack walk
AND WHAT IF YOU DON’T WANT YOUR DOG ON THE COUCH…

Well guys, just like humans, dogs are opportunists too! So adjust your expectations to suit.

Dogs are very intelligent. If you do not want your dog on your couch than you can coach him not to go on…but be fair…dogs love comfort…so when you are out of the house, don’t be surprised if you peek through a window and see your dog stretched out on those comfy pillows.

Don’t set your dog up for failure. If you don’t want him on the couch including when you are not home you are going to have to close a door or put a baby gate up to section off the spaces that accommodate couches. Be fair.


'Robbie' my Boxer and 'Tibby',
both of my cats love to cuddle with Robbie on the couch
To teach your dog not to go on the couch - please don’t yell at your dog! Do this instead. If your dog goes to get up on the couch:

One -  Make sure you are calm (without excess emotion),and ready to coach with fair, firm confidence. Don't be aggressive; don't raise your voice in anger.

Two - Lead...addressing from a distance is not leadership, calmly but with assurance get up and walk over to your dog.

Three - Get your dogs attention, you can touch your dog firmly but quickly with your fingers - at its neck or waist, you can snap your fingers and say 'hey' firmly, but not with anger. Never touch or talk in anger as you then lead by the wrong example!

Four - Tell your dog what you want i.e. 'off’ or down’…I have ten dogs - different breeds, from tiny to large - they all understand this type of direction...as do the dogs I work with for my clients.

Five - Tell your dog what you would like it to do instead i.e. 'go sit down' and show your dog where you would like it to sit instead. Don’t just point - get up and show your dog where you want him to sit / lie down. Once your dog is familiar with his relax spot you will be able to point…for now you must take a more active lead.

Six - Follow through...if your dog goes back to the couch to get-up, don't get angry, simply correct as per the steps above.


Abby. All of my dogs excel at pillow arranging!
Be patient, fair, calm, confident and direct - remember you do not change your habits instantly!  

A dog will let go of a habit faster than most humans will…if coached properly. Because I have experience and have trained myself to communicate properly, when working with a dog I can often change an outcome very quickly. But please adjust your expectations to your abilities - if you have not trained yourself to communicate properly be patient - you need to learn first!

You can read these articles to get a head start…




AND WHAT IF YOUR DOG IS NOT IN A BALANCED STATE OF BEING…

Each and every aspect of un-balanced behaviour must be addressed or your dog will never have the opportunity to return back to a balanced, happy, healthy state.  Each little tiny thing feeds into the whole. Behaviour such as owning people or objects rarely exists in isolation - it is only a symptom of an issue. In order to address the issue and bring a dog back to a balanced state-of-being you must address all symptoms.

Again don’t set your dog up for failure, if your dog owns you don’t let it up on the couch until you address the ownership issue. This article will help you understand how to address ownership…


If your dog is possessive about space or objects that needs to be addressed as well.

'Buddy' my Cocker Spaniel and 'Jacob' my little Pomeranian
If your dog is possessive about space or objects that needs to be addressed as well. 


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.







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.