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Showing posts with label Psychology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Psychology. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

TYPES OF AGGRESSION IN DOGS & HOW TO AVOID CREATING IT

The most common types of aggressive-reactive behaviour in dogs result from the dog being...

A - Insecure, nervous, tense, fear based reactivity;

B - Bullying, dominating reactivity.

When these psychological conditions noted above are not addressed and resolved a dog may become:
  • Fearful reactive-aggressive, or;
  • Defensive reactive-aggressive, or;
  • Offensive reactive-aggressive.
Some typical signs of these behaviors are:

  • Fearful reactive-aggressive - backing away, trembling, low growl, whale eyes.
  • Defensive reactive-aggressive - barking, bared teeth, growling,  fearful body posture (lowered head, tucked tail, ears back, whale eye) and may back away.
  • Offensive reactive-aggressive - barking, bared teeth, growling,  offensive body posture (direct eye contact, erect ears, high tail) while moving or charging forward.


This behaviour may be directed at animate objects such as dogs or other non-human animals, at humans and at inanimate objects as well.

As an example most aggression in dogs occurs due to lack of leadership in the dog’s life - in the absence of proper direction a dog may become anxious, insecure and fearful. If dogs were pre-wired to be aggressive rather than social there would be very few dogs left standing. A dog in its natural state is a social being, a pack animal with the potential inherent to get along with others.  There are very few dogs born with 'bad wiring’. When a dog goes bad it is almost always a human who is responsible for the bad behaviour.

When puppies are young they learn their social skills from the adult dogs in their dog family. Now, as long as the adult dogs’ natural social state has not been negatively disrupted by human influence the adult dogs will teach their young how to get along without being aggressive. If you are thinking - yeah but what about the 'Alpha' - dominate dog...you need to read this.

Things go wrong when we humans...

A - Separate the dog from its early socialization process by removing the puppy from its parents and then;

B - We fail to take up the leadership role to coach and mentor the dog in the acquisition and maintenance of social skills - providing rules and boundaries.

In this day and age of technology and our fast paced-life we have lost an awareness of all of the ways in which we communicate. We have lost patience. We attempt to direct our dogs - we assume we know what we are doing - but most often people do not. 

A dog learns aggressive-reactive behaviour because a human enables the behaviour in a dog. Either by failing to provide leadership or by actively abusing the dog. Usually when a human enables the aggression it has happened by accident - completely unintentionally.

Here are some typical ways that dogs develop aggressive reactive behaviour…

A - Dogs that lack proper coaching and mentoring can become insecure, anxious and fearful. When a dog is insecure it will either be overly submissive or overly defensive. We see these same behaviours in people as well. If you are insecure, anxious or fearful you are either going to recede into the background or overcompensate by being a bully - it is the same for dogs. If your dog is nervous around humans or other dogs and you are nervous too - you tell your dog it is right to be worried. You enable the behaviour. If your dog has been attacked in the past by another dog and you are unable to let the past go, you enable your dog’s nervousness and aggression towards the other dog.

B - Dogs who receive the wrong type of affection at the wrong time can become aggressive-reactive. When you reward a dog for being in an excited state the dog learns that being excited is good. When a little dog is insecure and starts to react (snarl, growl, snap, bark) at a bigger dog - if you pick the little dog up, you have just rewarded the little dog for reactive behaviour. Your dog learns that reactive aggressive behaviour is ok.

C - Dogs who are allowed to take-over their humans, their homes, their toys, the furniture etc. without any rules that they can understand - these dogs can become aggressive. The rule - they own and the human fears to intercede. The human has inadvertently taught the dog to be a bully.

D - A dog has been abused by humans - this can make the dog insecure and fearful - the dog will seek to protect itself. To stop this behaviour you must help the dog gain confidence, you must show the dog that there are other ways to navigate through life - just as you would do for a person. You can read my Boxer Robbie’s story if you want to understand more about this cause and affect.

So, aggression is normally induced by humanity. No dog wants to be bad. All dogs want to have the opportunity to receive fair instruction, coaching and mentoring to help them be social happy members of society - the same thing that a child wants. Children don’t want to be bad - but when they lack the proper guidance, just like a dog they have little choice.

When we do not take the opportunity to correct the dog in a respectful, firm way without anger, fear or other emotions we create psychological damage in the dog. We miss an opportunity to change future outcomes - we make one more mistake in the dogs’ life - we set the dog up for future failure…just as we would be doing with a human.
  
The great thing about dogs is that they are easier to psychologically rehabilitate than humans are. Why, because dogs do not hold grudges. Because dogs live in the moment it is easier to change a dog's 'bad habits' than it is a human's. Humans carry grudges, dogs do not. Dogs are very forgiving and will, given the opportunity treat each day, each experience as a new beginning. It is only with difficulty that we are able to convince, permit and allow ourselves to do the same.


Patience, will, determination, persistence, respect and a little understanding of dog and human psychology are key. Coach and mentor the dog, train its human.

A dog is willing to give so much to their human - but what is the human willing to give to the dog?  


To enable the best in your dog you must think beyond yourself, your momentary needs your emotions. I believe you must broaden your understanding of affection, leadership and partnership. You must understand how dogs communicate and how you can unintentionally communicate the wrong thing. You must understand how dogs assign respect. You must understand what leadership really is and is not. And you should understand that there are many ways to share affection with your dog. Only when your have truly understood these concepts will you be in a position to enable the best in your dog.

If you learn to look at every element of your relationship in a more dynamic and holistic fashion you can learn to combine what you want with what your dog requires.

To have a happy, well balanced canine companion the human needs to make sure that they fullfill the needs of their dog. This is where it so often all goes wrong. Many of us, with the best of intentions, do not realize (that just because we love our dog and ensure we provide it with lots of affection the best of food, treats, a comfy place to sleep, etc.) that we have not met our dog's needs in a way that will best benefit them. 



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




WHAT OUR DOGS CAN TEACH US


"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." -- Edward Hoagland 


If we are willing to open our minds to see, we can learn much from dogs about ourselves. They can help us be more aware of our own behaviour and give us a second chance to grow into better, wiser and happier individuals.

Dogs do not require training unless they are to learn a skill such as search and rescue. 

To learn good behaviour dogs simply need to be communicated to in a fair, aware and respectful manner. I can walk into a home where a dog always jumps on guests, yet without saying a word to the dog I can provide it with direction instantly - the dog will not jump on me, the dog will be respectful. It is not a trick - I did not use my voice to communicate I used body language and my state of mind. I communicated to the dog in a language that he/she  understands.

A dog will usually tell you if your need to improve yourself as a dog will often reflect the state of their human.

If your dog is anxious and nervous the only way you can help your dog to overcome that state - is to learn  to truly understand your dog and yourself.  Most people will automatically look to see why the dog is misbehaving - I teach my clients to understand how they create and trigger unwanted behaviour in their dogs.

The best way to help a dog is to heIp the dog's human...I teach my clients how to become better communicators and better observers. I teach them to be  aware of all of the ways that we communicate - our thoughts, our body language, our tone of voice - our state-of-being...and then I teach them all of the ways that dogs communicate. Dog's do not read dictionaries - if you want your dog to understand a concept you must be capable of clearly exemplifying that concept...this is a fundamental and critical element of good leadership. To enable the best in your dog you must learn true leadership skills. In so doing  you improve your ability to communicate with not only your dog but with everyone in your life - your children, your spouse, your friends and co-workers.


Dogs can teach us about love and generosity, about living in the moment and seeing the small but valuable things that surround us everyday.

Dogs can also teach us to be less arrogant about our place in this world. 

If you allow yourself to see how truly intelligent and sensitive dogs really are you must also ask yourself what else have I missed seeing in the past? 

A whole new world opens up, where you can see the great value of non-human animals. The bonds they form with each other, their friendships and emotions are no less than that of a human. Dogs smile, they can be joyous, and sad, they grieve, they anticipate things that they enjoy and things that they do not like, they have dreams and nightmares. Dogs can teach us to recognize the intelligence and great value of other animals too. Did you know that cows have best friends? That elephants and whales are deeply bonded to their family members? Just two examples - there are so many. From this we can learn a deeper respect. And from this we can also learn to value the environment.


This is just a small part of what our dogs express and show us. Should we be smart enough to listen to what our dogs are trying to teach us our world expands and becomes a richer place. 


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



Tuesday, 13 December 2011

THE TRUTH ABOUT PIT BULLS - BSL IS WRONG

 

SO WHAT IS REALLY WRONG WITH PIT BULLS?

Nothing! Pit Bulls may have compressive jaw strength and superior overall body strength…they also posses great intelligence, sensitivity and train-ability.

PIT BULLS ARE LOVING ANIMALS

There are many thousands of Pit Bulls who live with their human families in harmony. These dogs contribute nothing but love and affection to the families and communities that they live-in. Living, breathing proof of the loving nature of the breed.

DE-BUNKING THE BAD BREED MYTH

There are more attacks recorded by other breeds such as Golden Retrievers (sorry doggies no offense intended) than there are by Pit Bulls. Pit Bull attacks simply feed the need of some people to victimize and buttonhole - meaning it makes for more sensational news - so gets the reporting focus. Years ago the focus was Dobermans, then German Shepherds, Boxers, Rottweilers - each of these breeds went through this cycle of bad publicity based on uninformed, reactive human emotion.

Our current age of enlightenment currently shines the focus on Pit Bulls.

Pit Bulls are sweet tempered dogs. 

Pit Bulls are not the problem - humans are! Many people do not even know the difference between a Pit Bull and similar looking breeds…so not only is the Pit Bull vilified but also other innocent dogs. I have had people recoil from my Boxer as they ask me ‘is that a Pit Bull?’ And so what if he was!

A Pit Bull in its natural state is a social being, a pack animal with the potential inherent to get along with others.  There are very few dogs born with 'bad wiring’. When a dog goes bad it is almost always a human who is responsible for the bad behaviour.

IT’S EASIER TO BLAME THE DOG

Over the centuries humans have selectively bred dogs for both physical and behavioural traits. Sometimes the goal was to achieve a loyal, strong, dog with stamina and intelligence that could be taken into war, or employed as a guard dog.

It is humanity that has created all of these breeds yet it is humanity that mishandles them, disrespecting the dog’s needs and requirements. Humans use and abuse the dog for selfish reasons, altering the dog’s natural state and transforming its good and social nature. When things go wrong it is the dog that is blamed. It is the dog that suffers, it is the dog that does not get to live the life it was born to live, the life it deserved to live.

PIT BULLS DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE

When the wrong people, for the wrong reasons acquire these beautiful dogs - the nature of who they are truly meant to be is disrupted. The dog may be taught to use its natural abilities for harm instead of good. No dog wants to be bad. All dogs want to have the opportunity to receive fair instruction, coaching and mentoring to help them be social happy members of society - the same thing that a child wants. Children don’t want to be bad - but when the lack the proper guidance, just like a dog they have little choice. Is it the dog’s fault that its human is too lazy to coach and mentor it? Is it the dog’s fault that it’s human is aggressive and wants to teach the dog to be aggressive as well?

The dog has little choice - the human has supreme power to ensure compliance - brutality and cruelty, weapons.

Animal laws need to focus on the human’s responsibility and not blame the dog. Do we blame a child when it is neglected, abused and poorly taught? The child like the dog has little choice about how they are treated and what they are taught…and so it is for a dog.

So many dogs have been put to death needlessly, while the humans who altered the dog's natural, balanced state of being, walks away; never taking any responsibility for what they have done.

PIT BULLS ARE VICTIMS

Pit Bulls are victims of the selfishness of humanity. Untold numbers of Pit Bulls suffer great pain and death - brutally used in dog fights for the entertainment of humans. Other humans use Pit Bulls to booster the human’s desire to evoke fear and power. Do we punish human victims of bullying? Or do we seek to find and treat the bully? Why would we treat a victimized Pit Bull with ire and cruelty rather than with sensitivity and care?

Invariably it is the dogs who suffers most. Misunderstood, euthanized.

FOR THOSE THAT SAY ‘IT WAS THE DOG’S FAULT’

A dog learns aggressive-reactive behaviour because a human enables the behaviour in a dog. Aggression is not embedded in a Pit Bulls nature. If aggression exists humanity has created it. It is the human (who has taught the dog aggression) that is bad, it is the human that lacks ethics, morals, sensitivity and the will to delineate right and wrong.

There are very few dog attacks that are not-unprovoked…it is just that no one was there at the right time to intervene in the right way when the provocation first started to build.

When we pass the dog to someone else - we just pass the problem on. When we summarily euthanize the dog we are making a huge mistake. 

When we do not take the opportunity to correct the dog in a respectful, firm way without anger, fear or other emotions we create psychological damage in the dog. We miss an opportunity to change future outcomes - we make one more mistake in the dogs’ life - we set the dog up for future failure…just as we would be doing with a human. I help people and their dogs repair this type of issue all of the time.

There are very few dog attacks that are not-unprovoked…it is just that no one was there at the right time to intervene in the right way when the provocation first started to build.

A dog that nips has already been let down by humanity - it does not need to be euthanized, it does not want to be bad - it just wants someone to step up to the plate and provide it with kind, considered direction. 

If not addressed in time the nip eventually turns to a bit and the bite can turn into a deathly compressive lockdown. Not the dogs fault - humanities fault. 

For those who have suffered from traumatic dogs bites (either human or animal companions), for those who have died as a result of an attack by a dog and for their loved ones who are left to try to understand - it is a tragic and life altering situation. But 99.9% of the time it is the humans behind the reactive dog who are at fault - not the dog who is euthanized. 

IT IS EASIER TO REHABILITATE A DOG THAN IT IS TO REHABILITATE A HUMAN

Because dogs live in the moment it is easier to change a dog's 'bad habits' than it is a human's. Humans carry grudges, dogs do not. Dogs are very forgiving and treat each day, each experience as a new beginning. It is only with difficulty that we are able to convince, permit and allow ourselves to do the same.

Patience, will, determination, persistence, respect and an understanding of dog and human psychology are key. Coach and mentor the dog, train the people.

PIT BULLS HAVE  MUCH THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO SHARE WITH HUMANITY

If we are willing to open our minds to see, we can learn so much from them about ourselves. They can help us be more aware of our own behaviour and give us a second chance to grow into better, wiser and happier individuals. When you help a dog it is not just the dog that gets a second lease on life and a new opportunity...it is also the human.

SO BAN BSL

Dog aggression IS NOT BRED SPECIFIC - therefore Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is wrong!

BSL is legislation born of fear, ignorance and laziness. BSL is not based on logic, common sense or truth.

BSL is not a cure, it is racisim. Address the root cause - if you want to make a change - go after the people that cause the problem, not the innocent dog. 

SHAME on ONTARIO, CANADA and all of the other places in the world that have adopted BSL!


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