Showing posts with label Anxiety in Dogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anxiety in Dogs. Show all posts

Monday, 13 January 2014

Anxiety in Dogs - Treatments, Remedies - What Works, Might Work, Dosen’t Work

My German Shepherd x Malamute 'Jordie'
In this article...
  1. Loving Dog Owners - the Vulnerable Consumer Trained to Trust not to Question…
  2. A question that I am often asked - ‘Are you familiar with the Thundershirt?
  3. Understanding Limitations
  4. Setting Expectations
  5. Commercially Available Products - Can They, Do They Really Help
  6. Remedying Root Cause v.s the Band Aid Approach

Dogs acquire chronic anxiety for many reasons and with different outcomes. Anxiety may exhibit as localized to a specific situation or may be exhibited in multiple situations. Here are a few examples - 
There are a lot of products marketed to 'solve' anxiety but do they really work, and if the products don't work what does solve anxiety...

1.0 Loving Dog Owners - the Vulnerable Consumer  

Trained to Trust not to Question…

In the pet-care industry there are so many products that are promoted as being the ‘solution’. But what if that product is not the solution? What if the person pushing the product is not truly educated in the limitations of the product? What if you purchase the product and it does not meet your expectations?

Products marketed for 'reducing' or 'solving' anxiety include a wide range of applications - for example:
The 'Thundershirt' a garment that apply pressure to your dog's body;
Pheromone and herbal spray collars, and;
Veterinarian prescribed drugs such as Reconcile.

At best you may be disappointed.

At worst, failure of that product to meet its advertised goal can seriously and adversely impact on yours’ and your dog’s psychological and  physical well being, and can even cause death.

In the case of a chronic issue such as anxiety, a strategic and comprehensive approach that addresses immediate symptoms and root cause creates a recipe for success.

However when a single product is promoted as a ‘proven solution’ to a complex condition you should be suspicious and you should question the validity of the claim. This is so even if the product is recommended by your favourite pet store employee, your trainer/behaviourist or your veterinarian. 

I have seen much damage done to dogs and their people when trust was assigned without question.

Some products have only negative value - meaning that due to the nature of the product only an adverse result can be and will be realized. 

Other products may contribute great value when used in the context that they are really intended for or may be applied to a new situation with success as part of an overall strategy to address the situation.

Lastly - some products that are designed to and actually do provide helpful support to ameliorate a temporary condition do not provide the same quality of result when applied to a chronic condition. Regardless of a not-so-perfect outcome the manufacturer may decide to aggressively market the product becasue it is a good business decision when the priority is to make money. If the product finds a niche it can become very popular - but popular does not necessarily equate with appropriate, good or safe.

Sometimes a product migrates from its intended use as a means to address an emergency situation, into mainstream use for ‘treating’ a chronic condition. When a product has attributes that can be used in emergency, temporary and chronic conditions, multi-application is truly justified. When use is not justified but pushed for the sole gain of the company, the consumer may be ill served.

2.0 A Question that I am Often Asked...
‘Karen are you Familiar with the Thundershirt?’

When it comes to the topic of anxiety and dogs, people often ask me ‘Are you familiar with the Thundershirt’.

I cringe every time I see the product for sale in a pet store with the product packaging promoting it as the, to quote “proven solution for dog anxiety”.

I cringe when I hear sales people - who know little to nothing about dog and human behaviour advising customers to purchase the product to resolve the issue of anxiety. Resolve? Wait a minute, you must mean aid in the resolution of? Surly you don't mean actually resolve? The disturbing thing is that I do know that the person having the conversation thinks that the product can actually resolve the problem.

I cringe when I have people - now desperate and coming to me as a last ditch effort to save their dog, retell their experience with using that or another product. How did they and their dog end-up in such a desperate state? Because product manufacturers, sales people, trainers and behavourists that don’t understand the cause and effect behind the development of unhealthy behaviours, nor the real solutions required to right the condition push the Thundershirt as a remedy.

While the Thundershirt may have some value in some circumstances to ameliorate some or a single symptom of anxiety it is not the panacea for cure that is evoked by the product’s labeling as a "proven solution for dog anxiety”.
My Beagle x Fox Hound 'Willow'
3.0 Understanding Limitations

The Thundershirt works on the theory that by applying pressure around the majority of the body a feeling of comfort will be triggered in the being wearing the shirt. An intervention that has been found to have varying degrees of success when dealing with a human that is in a state of psychological distress. While this may work for some individuals it has little to no effect on other individuals.

The Thundershirt was developed for use in slaughter houses with an end-goal of ‘comforting’ animals (i.e. cattle, horses) as they did their final walk to the slaughter room floor.

The Thundershirt was designed to treat a symptom in an emergency situation experienced by an individual animal once in his/her life span.

It is very important to understand that the act of applying pressure to the body does not alter the root cause of the distress - which is the fact that the animal is about to be slaughtered. If that animal were to experience the stressful situation on a daily basis the ravages of stress on the mind and body would not be completely of even partially eliminated in all or even in some of the animals.

The application of pressure to the body does not teach a being how to cope with the situation - the pressure simply triggers an auto-response by body and brain to relax to one degree or another in some individuals.

The Thundershirt was not designed for use as a remedy for a chronic condition experienced by an individual animal, nor was it designed to foster a permanent resolution of the root cause of the anxiety.

4.0 Setting Expectations

Understanding the logical reality of a product such as the Thundershirt means that you, the consumer and loving pet owner can set some reasonable expectations around the use of the product.

The company’s marketing strategy includes the following statements…
  • “The Thundershirt is the best solution for dog anxieties caused by thunderstorm, travel separation and more”
  • “Proven solution for dog anxiety”, and;
  • “Over 80% of dogs show improvement”.
So what do these claims really mean? I would say that the phrasing and words used in these claims should be scrutinized for their many permutations. "Over 80% of dogs show improvement" - does that mean that the issue of anxiety was resolved? I don't think so - in which case the product is not a solution. How do they define 80%? Do they get feedback from every customer that has ever purchased a Thundershirt? I don’t think so. Do they define the percentile from recording the results experienced by the dogs in the companies' ‘Training Center’? Do they define the percentile based on a group of dogs that they tested the product on during development of the product?

The statement also does not define what type of improvement was achieved - minor improvement? Major improvement? What percentage of dogs experienced what type of improvement?

These claims by the company are, in my opinion a good marketing strategy but a very unfair means of selling the product as the words used can create an expectation in the dog owner that the product may not be capable of delivering.

The claims all come down to symantics. 

How do you define ‘solution’?

Do you define a solution in the context of a big picture? Meaning that a solution provides a complete remedy to a condition? Or does ‘solution’ pertain to modifying an element of a condition? To attain ‘improvement’ in your dog so you just put the shirt on your dog and walk away, or do you need to sign up for the company’s training program or work with an affiliated trainer?

The answer to those questions requires contemplation, thought, comparison on the consumers part. Quite frankly when you are desperate for a solution you don’t always have the circumspection to read the fine print or compare and interpret the manufacturer’s use of a term (i.e. ‘solution’ or a phrase i.e. ‘over 80% of dogs show improvement’) against your understanding/interpretation of a term or phrase. You are more likely to buy into the desire to believe in the marketing and / or ‘advice’ being provided to you.

I have had many client’s that tried the Thundershirt first – for both separation anxiety, thunder anxiety, travel anxiety - to no avail which is why they end up coming to me to resolve the problem. Prior to trying the Thundershirt most of them have been to one or more trainers and behavourists who attempted to resolve the anxiety and some also recommended the thundershirt to the owner - which is why they tried to use it.  The trainers failed to remedy the anxiety because they did not understand the dog or the dog’s human companions. The same trainers and behavourists try other interventions such as pheromone and herbal spray collars, Bach remedies etc. Obviously if the approach had worked the people would not have had to seek me out and engage me to truly resolve the anxiety.

5.0 Commercially Available Products - Can They, Do They Really Help?

5.1 The Thundershirt

I think it would be fair to say that in some cases the Thundershirt is able to and may provide temporary relief of one or more of the symptoms of anxiety and if used consistently overtime the Thundershirt may change a dog’s association with events that lead to anxiety. Note the word some and may.

I would say that the Thundershirt - when it does work may do so in one or two of the following ways, depending n the circumstances:
One - via applying pressure to the body as discussed further above and;
Two - via a placebo effect.

It is my belief that the Thundershirt can have a placebo effect on some humans which then transfers to the dog. This is what I mean - the thought of using the Thundershirt calms the human because he/she thinks it will work. One of the fundaments of repairing anxiety in a dog is the ability to communicate a state of calm to the dog. By being that thing first you want your dog to be you set the example and provide the direction. I teach my client’s (the human client’s) how to achieve calm as in so doing they provide pure, logical direction to their dog to calm. For the most part dogs do exactly what their human’s communicate - the problem is that humans have become hasty and ineffectual communicators.

In a mild case of anxiety the Thundershirt may provide some positive impact on reducing symptoms. How much this product can achieve varies depending on the genetic and psychological make-up of those involved, dog and human, on the plan of treatment and on the knowledge and skill of the person - if any that teaches the dog’s owner how to implement a plan of treatment. Is the product going to be used alone or as part of a larger strategy?

5.2 Specialty Spray and Scent Collars, Bach flower essences, Rescue Remedies, etc.

Once again, I think it would be fair to say that in some cases these products may have some positive effect on mitigating some symptoms of anxiety in some dogs BUT these products will not normally cure the anxiety.

Once, again - how much these products can achieve varies depending on the genetic and psychological make-up of those involved, dog and human, on the plan of treatment and on the knowledge and skill of the person - if any that teaches the dog’s owner how to implement a plan of treatment. Is the product going to be used alone or as part of a larger strategy?

5.3 Veterinarian Prescribed Conventional Prescription Drugs

These pharmaceutical products cause me the greatest concern of all. While products such as the Thundershirt and speciality collars may simple not create a looked for result that may lead to added frusteration on the owners part - pharmaceuticals can do immediate and long-term damage to the health of a dog. Products such as Reconcile - (Prozac renamed for use by allopathic veterinarians) can and do cause mild to serious to lethal harm. And when used long-term are known to cause an enlarged heart, seizures and an early death. You can read about Reconcile here. This is not a product that I ever recommend and if I am going to work with a client whose dog is on the drug I ask them to get the dog off of the drug prior to a session.

There are many natural nutraceuticals and herbs that can be used on a temporary and permanent basis along with a properly designed diet which will BETTER support the reduction of anxiety than any conventional drug. These natural items can also do double duty by supporting over-all health and the immune system. These natural items will NOT have the serious adverse consequences that conventional drugs impose on the dog. 

There are many listed and unlisted ingredients in most pet foods that can - on their own, create anxiety in a dog. Another reason why I approach all matters in a comprehensive, holistic manner rather than relying on stop-gap measures that were never designed to use on a long-term basis and will not result in actual remedy.

In an emergency situation and when used for a very short time when access to alternative knowledge is not available, the use of conventional drugs may in some cases have some value, however the side effects of the drug may far out-way benefit. 

It is interesting to note that Reconcile - in addition to exposing the dog to adverse and serious side effects also has side effects that create the same symptoms that the drug is supposed to 'treat' - anxiety. 

Once again, I think it would be fair to say that in some cases conventional drugs may have some positive effect on mitigating some symptoms of anxiety in some dogs BUT these products will not cure the anxiety and the side effects of using the drug may have far worse consequences than the actual issue the drug is supposed to 'treat'.

6.0 Remedying Root Cause v.s the Band Aid Approach

In my opinion based on years of working with dogs and people - the real remedy to anxiety is comprised of multiple elements - you can read about those many facets here and how they interconnect and when accomplished properly result in a remedy for anxiety.

While there are commonalities amongst most cases of anxiety, including separation anxiety, there are also unique variables that exist in any single given case. These unique variables are a direct reflection of the reality that each person and each dog is a unique individual. When one or all of these key contributors is not understood and/or not addressed the root cause is not resolved. The issue remains.

Although I work with dogs and their humans who are experiencing truly extreme anxiety - the dog is chewing his/her way through metal crates, drywall, doors, electrical wire and sustaining severe physical damage (and yes I do mean both dog is anxious and dog’s human is anxious). I have never had a need to use products such as the Thundershirt, special spray collars etc. I am fortunate in that I have (and have the knowledge, understanding and skills to perceive root causes and effect solutions by working with the actual psychology and physiology of a dog and his/her human. This allows me to perceive what triggers behaviour (good and bad, human and canine), identify and apply methods that resolve the issue, which I then teach to the dog’s person.

My methods are based on leveraging a holistic strategy that addresses root cause and contributing factors including diet. These are all part of a kit of tools that can and should be used to create a successful resolution. The other tools I use and which I teach my client’s to use are tools that we all have within ourselves - which just happen to be the same tools that a dog has to use. These tools are also very portable as both the dog and the human carry the tools with them wherever they maybe. No fear of forgetting one of the tools behind. No need for treats, clickers, special shirts etc.

Some of the tools I use and teach my client’s to employ are -

  • The ability to perceive, understand and communicate using multiple senses - for this is how dogs communicate and should the dog’s person not learn in part to do the same the person will always be at a great disadvantage when seeking to provide support for their dog;
  • The development and deployment of self awareness, self discipline, patience, persistence, determination to lead by logical and true example;
  • The ability to read a dog’s face and body language,
  • The ability to learn from your dog.

These skills provide a remedy to canine anxiety and human anxiety they also create positive growth in the human and the dog. By making sure diet is also addressed a complete solution is provided.

I think it is safe to conclude that a Thundershirt or any other single product is no match for a real solution.

I think it is safe to conclude that no single product used in isolation of a larger strategy can be expected to remedy anxiety - the product may instead, simply help to create a band aid ‘solution’. And this may be better than no intervention.

Consumer beware and adjust your expectations to suit. If you are successful to any degree in your use of a product you will feel good about it rather than stressed. If you feel stressed your dog will too.

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Aggression in Dogs - Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

Out for a Walk with Some of My Dogs
In this article…
  1. Typical Causes of Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Aggression  in Dogs;
  2. Typical Signs of Stress in Dogs;
  3. Long-Term Stress is a Health Threatening Condition
  4. The Use of Conventional Chemical-Based Drugs to Control Stress
  5. Other Products that Claim to Solve Stress and Anxiety
  6. Diet Can Create and/or Exacerbate Stress or Help to Alleviate Stress
  7. Herbs Can Help Too
  8. Better Communication Helps to Alleviate Stress
A situation that stresses one dog may not affect another dog and some situations will stress all dogs to one degree or another. Why the difference? Well, every dog is an individual with his/her own unique disposition, physical and psychological strengths and weaknesses. 

Dogs are subject to the same basic factors that affect our ability to remain immune to, trigger on and cope with stress - for example...
  • Inherited traits;
  • Acquired traits;
  • Diet and nutrition;
  • Available support structure, etc.

If your dog happens to have heightened sensitivity additional stress may be generated if you are not aware of and/or do not understand heightened sensitivity. If you have not had the opportunity to hone your communication skills and your own sense of self awareness dealing with your dog’s stress can be a very difficult matter.

1.0 Typical Causes of Stress, Anxiety,
      Depression, Aggression in Dogs

A partial list…
Dogs can become stressed for many reasons…
  • Natural predisposition which is inadvertently enabled by the dog’s human - for example:
    • A dog that has heightened sensitivity can become stressed resulting in anxious behaviour if the dog’s human does not learn to be an effective communicator;
  • An unfamiliar situation:
  • Surgery and injuries;
  • Under-socialization;
  • A sudden traumatic event – emotional and/or physical for example;
    • The passing of a loved one - grief;
    • The sudden move of a family member away from home;
    • An emotionally destabilizing encounter reinforced by discomfort of the dog’s human – i.e. an attack by another dog while in a dog park;
    • A violent thunder storm, wind storm, etc.
    • Fireworks, gun shots, etc.
  • A condition that is inadvertently created and teaches the dog to be in an altered state of normal, for example:
  • Tension resulting from proximity to animate and inanimate objects – situations and locations, people, other animals, objects associated with tension that creates stress due to fear resulting in avoidance, aggression etc…
A condition that creates a situation where the dog is at physical and/or psychological disadvantage that results in a deficiency of the basic requirements of life…
    • Healthy diet;
      • A truly good diet supports a healthy mind and body;
      • An inadequate diet and/or a toxic diet creates instability in mind and body;
  • Safe home;
    • A physically safe environment promotes confidence; an inadequate environment promotes stress;
  • Structure that enables positive, balanced physical and mental output.
When parts of this formula are missing, stress and anxiety are a likely outcome even in the absence of a sudden trauma.

A psychologically safe environment in which a dog is understood, properly directed, provided with structure and both physical and mental stimulation is stabilizing and helps to build a firm foundation for weathering stressful situations.

2.0 Typical Signs of Stress in Dogs

A partial list...
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Refusal to accept offered food or treats;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Panting;
  • Rapid breathing;
  • Stress yawn;
  • Withheld breath;
Body Language
  • Facial Expression - tense:
    • Eyes;
      • Diverted eyes will not make eye-contact;
      • Dilated pupils;
      • Whale eye;
    • Tail;
      • Low to body or tucked between legs;
    • Ears;
      • Back;
    • Head;
      • Lowered;
      • Turned to side;
    • Body;
      • Low posture;
      • Weight shift to back legs;
      • Stress-bow;
      • Defensive aggression – barks, growls, bares teeth with fearful body
        postures (lowered head, tucked tail, ears back, whale eye) while moving away
      • Offensive aggression – barks, growls, bares teeth with offensive body
        postures (high tail, direct eye contact, ears erect) while charging/moving forward
  • Lethargy;
  • Disinterest in activities that the dog would normally look forward to/enjoy;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Demanding constant attention;
  • Constant swinging of head or eyes to scan environment or lock on to objects;
  • On guard looking for threats – defensive and offensive;
  • Inability to focus or ‘pay attention’; 
  • Fixation;
Fur and Skin
  • Excessive shedding;
  • Sudden shedding;
  • Skin rash from excessive nervous scratching;
  • Drooling and/or foaming at the mouth;
  • Licking of lips;
  • Licking of nose;
  • Excessive licking of paws, legs, etc.
  • Excessive licking of another dog or human companion;
  • Sucking on paws, tail, blankets, etc.
  • ‘Hyper-activity’…
    • Inability to ‘settle down’;
    • Restlessness;
    • Continual pacing;
    • Continual scratching;
    • Full body shake-off;
    • Stress-bow;
  • ‘Suppressed activity’…
    • Slow and/or ‘slinking’ movement;
    • Trembling;
    • Tense and tentative movement;
    • Avoidance – pulling away, slinking away, running away, hiding, etc;
  • Excessive or more than usual;
  • Barking;
  • Crying;
  • Grumbling;
  • Growling;
  • Whining, whimpering.

3.0 Long-Term (Chronic) Stress is a Health Threatening

On a long-term basis stress (psychological and physical – i.e. dietary insufficiency) can trigger further health issues, for example:
  • Suppression of the immune system - thereby leaving the body more susceptible to:
    • Disruptions in the endocrine system; 
    • Inflammation;
    • Infections, such as:
      • Eye infections;
      • Ear infections,
        • Ironically when eye and ear infections are treated with antibiotics (rather than with natural remedies for ears and natural remedies for eyes), greater stress - physical and psychological results due to the fact that:
          •  Antibiotics kill good bacteria in the GI tract along with bad bacteria;
          • The elimination of good bacteria destroys the health-giving flora of the GI tract placing additional stress on the immune system and on the psychological state as serotonin levels in the GI tract are also adversely affected.
    • Insect and parasite infestation;
    • Fatigue and pain;
    • Low serotonin levels - thereby affecting brain function and behaviour;
    • Viruses.

4.0 Conventional Chemical-Based Drugs to Control
      Stress and Symptoms

Chemical-based anti-depressants such as Reconcile (also known as doggie Prozac, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor – SSRIs) are often prescribed by allopathic veterinarians in an attempt to control the symptoms of stress. While SSRIs may seem to provide some amelioration of symptoms for the short term, SSRIs will not cure the condition and in many cases may make the situation worse – the consequences of which can be very serious and can shorten life span. SSRIs often have severe side effects, may actually mimic some of the symptoms of the condition being suffered and may become an impediment to actually solving the root cause of the stress. 

There are many natural, safe ways to safely boost serotonin levels without putting a dog’s health at risk. In-fact naturally boosting serotonin levels via diet comes with other very important health benefits.

Then there are other symptoms and their ill effects that may need to be addressed. Symptoms such as hair loss and skin irritation due to excessive licking and scratching. The use of steroids such as prednisone can cause an additional burden of stress and further deterioration of health. Consider natural alternatives to steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

5.0 Other Products that Claim to 'Solve' Anxiety, Stress
      and Symptoms

There are a lot of products marketed to 'solve' anxiety, for example:

The Thundershirt
The Thundershirt is a product that has been aggressively marketed - but is it really the 'solution' to anxiety as claimed by the manufacturer? 
I don't think so.

While the Thundershirt may have some value in some circumstances to ameliorate some or a single symptom of anxiety it is not the panacea for cure that is evoked by the product’s labeling as a "proven solution for dog anxiety”.
If you would like to understand more about my thoughts on the Thundershirt you can read here

Pheramone Collars, Herbal Spray Collars, Bach Flower Essences, Rescue Remedies
Pheromone collars and herbal spray collars are also promoted by some behavourists,  trainers and veterinarians as a solution to anxiety - you can read (in detail) about my thoughts on these products here.

The bottom line - in my opinion these products may have some value in some circumstances to ameliorate some or a single symptom of anxiety but they are not a panacea for curing the condion of anxiety.

6.0 Diet Can Create and/or Exacerbate Stress
      Diet Can also Help to Alleviate Stress...

A poorly designed diet can create both physical and mental stress on its own or can contribute to an existing stress from other sources. 

Although many pet food manufactures like to advertise their pet food as: nutritionally complete, science-based etc. these terms are unregulated. 

The manufacturer can say what they want to without substantiation. 

There are many examples of unsubstantiated if not outright deceitful claims or of negligence by silence exercised made by pet food manufacturers that  include specious if not downright health threatening substances in their products. And AFFCO certification  should not and can not be relied upon as a guarantee of a good dog food.  to Ingredients such as:
  • Probiotics’ that are non-viable (dead) as the living microbes that make a food probiotic cannot withstand the heat of processing required to make the product – i.e. dry dog food, wet cooked dog food.
    • This is, at the very least innocuous, and at worst harmful in the case of those that believe they are meeting their dog’s need for healthy gut flora when in fact no healthy gut support is available from the product;
  • Fish meal that contains ethoxyquin, a known: allergen, behaviour problem trigger carcinogen, cause of deformities in puppies, toxin, skin problem trigger, organ failure trigger – you can read about ethoxyquin here;
  • High pesticide residue ingredients like corn, soy, canola oil, etc.
  • Grains such as rice that are not screened for aflatoxins;
  • Artificial food colouring and preservatives;
  • Food that is advertised as containing Omega-3, however the amount of Omega-3 included is insufficient;
    • No dog food contains sufficient amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids;
    • Ingesting an insufficient level of Omega-3 fatty acids has an enormous impact…
    • On your dog’s mental health – you can read why here, and;
    • On your dog’s physical health – you can read why here;
    • Go here for a complete guide on adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your dog's or cat's diet.
It is very important to understand that no dog food is nutritionally complete on its own – this includes homemade raw or cooked and commercial processed dry and wet or raw dog food. It is also why my homemade dog food recipe outlines important supplements to be added to food at meal time.

There are certain supplements that are required for each option (homemade or, commercial) in order to make the diet nutritionally complete and therefore health-supporting and stress-suppressing.

One more thing in common between dogs and humans – both species have more serotonin in the gut than in the brain – when god gut health is not supported behaviour is affected.

A poor diet adds to the creation and maintenance of stress and anxiety.

7.0 Herbs Can Help Alleviate Stress Too

There are many herbs that can help to support health and help to alleviate stress - here are a few such examples...
 Arnica Montana;
Lemon Balm; 

8.0 Better Communication Helps to Alleviate Stress

Dogs are very insightful communicators - much more so than the average human. The significance of this is huge. Because dogs can sense and discern to a degree that exceeds that of an untrained human, It does not matter what you say as much as what you feel. 
How you feel at any one given moment instantaneously transmits itself to:
  • Your body in the form of body language;
    • Facial expression;
    • How you hold yourself - how one part of your body relates to another part of your body, your posture, etc.
    • How you occupy your space, and;
    • How you occupy the space you are located in:
      • Where you are in that space;
      • How the various parts of your body are positioned in relationship to other parts of your body;
      • The footprint are you occupying;
      • How you move, etc...
    • How you present yourself;
    • How you feel and the impacts of that on;
      • Your breathing;
      • Your adrenalin level;
      • Your heart rate;
      • Your blood pressure;
      • Your blood sugar;
      • Your scent.
Your thoughts and your emotions drive your body language...

Whatever you want your dog to be you must be that thing first. Your thoughts and emotions provide direction to your dog - more so than the words that you speak. It is not about being the ‘alpha’ a much misused term. It is about directing from a place of pure logic, with insight, fairness, honesty, self-awareness, self-discipline, self-restraint, respect and true patience. Arguing with your dog simply serves to create stress for both dog and human. All too often the human expects the dog to be what the human is not first willing to be themselves. While at other times it is not that the human is not willing – it is instead because the human has not had the opportunity to understand how to direct effectively. When we work to train ourselves what we learn can translate directly in the most positive ways to our dogs.

It is important to understand that it is not that we can never feel anxious, depressed, sad, stressed, fearful around our dogs. It is instead to say that in those moments when you seek to direct your dog you must do so by first reflecting what it is that you want your dog to be and your dog will follow your lead. 

Never feel sorry for your dog, never feel guilty as these are destabilizing emotions to both the dog and the human. Instead ensure that your thoughts are in alignment with what you want your dog to feel – this is leading by the right example.

Holistic Support

Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice - information and payment here >>. 
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans - information and payment here >>.
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services
  • In-Person sessions - information and payment here >>.
  • On-Line consultation and sessions - information and payment here >>.