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Thursday, 22 December 2011

TO CURE YOUR DOG'S MOTION SICKNESS


The only way to cure motion sickness is to face the situation head-on, do not avoid - if you avoid taking your dog in the car because of motion sickness your dog will never normalize the experience. Patience, determination, repetition is the only way to cure this condition.
  
My dog, Jordie (a German Shepherd x Alaskan Malamute) is an excellent example of how you can cure motion sickness in your dog. Like people, some dogs just acquire motion sickness. Jordie is a rescue from Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Iqaluit is a northern climate where these dogs are used as sled dogs. Spay and neuter is not commonly practiced - there are many unwanted litters of puppies. When no one wants the puppies they are shot to death. Jordie and his litter mates were to be shot - the rescue group that I fostered for found someone willing to fly the puppies out the day before they were to be shot. The next day Jordie joined my pack. The entire litter were sick on the flight out of Iqaluit - they were only 10 weeks old, stressed, underfed. As a result Jordie developed a severe case of motion sickness.

On the way home after I picked Jordie up he threw-up in the car. It was August, 30o Celsius, this poor little guy had spent his entire 10 weeks of life up north in deep cold, he had been neglected, flown on a plane and now put in a car!


The next time I took Jordie for a ride in the car he threw-up again. The third time I put Jordie in the car he started to pant, drool and foam at the mouth and then proceeded to throw-up. I realized that I would have to cure Jordie of motion sickness and an aversion to traveling.

When Jordie sensed I was getting ready to take him for a ride in the car he hid. I would go looking for him - I would find him in his hiding spot drooling, foaming, ears down. I knew that if I gave in and did not make him go through the repeated experience of riding in the car he would never be cured. So I persisted in taking Jordie with me in the car. 

As Jordie associated travel with stress I needed to show him that travel was OK...with patience and persistence Jordie became comfortable with vehicles and the symptom of his travel stress - motion sickness disappeared. I took a full year to normalize the experience for him. With time he stopped throwing-up and only drooled and foamed, eventually that stopped too.


Because dogs live in the moment it is easier to change a dog's association of a situation than it is a human's. Humans carry grudges, dogs do not. Dogs form associations with places, things, animate and inanimate objects. Dogs are very forgiving and treat each day, each experience as a new beginning if you give them the support that they require. Make the future different than the past. You must let the past go - must not anticipate that the past will and must repeat itself - let it go from your mind. Envision a new future in which you forget about what has happened before and focus instead on what you would like to happen - a nice peaceful ride in the car with your dog.

When you change your thoughts from negative to positive you relax - this allows your dog to do the same. You are leading by the right example. Your will must be stronger than your dogs, your must have greater patience and determination.


If your dog does not want to go out to the car then you will need to take control of the situation. Leadership is an active state. If you have called your dog and your dog will not come, goes to hide (your dog realizes it is being asked to go out for a ride in the car) you need to go get your dog. Reading this article 'Does Your Puppy or Dog Shut Down and Refuse to Walk' will help you understand how to get your dog back into motion! 

Don’t give-in to your dog’s resistance to go in the car. When Jordie hid, I went and got him. If you have to bring your dog over to the door and out to the car with a leash do it! But make sure your attitude and state of being is that of a true leader or you will further traumatize your dog. Reading this article 'Is Your Dog Anxious / Over Excited in the Car' will help you understand how to work with your dog to reduce car ride anxiety.

Once you have read the two articles indicated above you will have a thorough protocol on how to move forward. The following provides the balance of information you require to work this cure.


One - When ever possible, don’t feed your dog any food at least an hour prior to a going for a drive in the car;

Two - Do not put your dog in the front seat - this usually makes their motion sickness worse! Put them in the back seat or back cargo space - you can also use a crate in the car;

Three - Make sure you cover your car seat and floor with old linen sheets that you can rinse and throw in the wash - you can also under-layer the linen with towels for better absorption. Bring extra linen and extra towels - when your dog does throw-up you can change the seat cover or crate liner and put fresh linen out. Extra towels can also be used to wipe your doggies face! If your dog drools and foams at the mouth you are going to need towels to wipe that up too. Bring a large plastic bag that you can toss the dirty linen into.

Four - If you are giving your dog a natural rescue remedy make sure you read the instructions - some need to be given well in advance of he car ride (i.e. an hour prior to getting into the car).

Five - don’t be upset if your dog throws-up - adjust your expectations - this is going to take repeated trips to cure. Gradually he stopped throwing-up but he still made a mess drooling and foaming at the mouth! After a year Jordie was cured of motion sickness.

Remember patience and understanding is key! Just like people, every dog will progress at it's own pace some faster, some slower. Many people give-in and give-up too soon. 
 
Your ability to affect change in your dog is dependent on your leadership skills and your awareness of how you and communicate. As your skill grows, your ability to affect change will too!

In combination with the  methodology above you can also try using ginger to help ease your dog's nausea.

You can use a slice of fresh or dry ginger root or a ginger capsule. Dogs do like the taste of ginger so they will usually readily accept a slice. If you are using fresh or dry ginger only give a small piece as a lot is not required. Ginger is mostly harmless to your dog so it's hard to overdose. If you want to use ginger, give your puppy the ginger about 30 minutes before you are ready to go in the car. If you are using ginger in pill form the dosage is100 mg/25 lbs (every 8 hours). 

Some people say you can also give your dog black jelly beans. The flavor of black jelly beans and black licorice is derived from fennel. I do not recommend giving a dog jelly beans due to the sugar, artificial favours and artificial coloring - all of which are inflammatory and toxic. Use real fennel, don't use jelly beans as the amount of fennel (if it is present at all) is overpowered by the amount of sugar - concentrated amounts of sugar will increase the likelihood of nausea and vomiting. For efficacy in prevention of vomiting due to nervousness, fennel is best combined with catnip.

Ginger on its own and it is very effective. The carminative (ability to expel gas) action enabled by fennel  is effective to relieve flatulence and is the primary reason for the use of fennel in herbal medicine. So even though the herbal remedy made from fennel is used as a remedy in treating a variety of other ailments, its main use is in dealing with flatulence and excess abdominal gas.



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IS YOUR DOG ANXIOUS OVER EXCITED IN THE CAR?


PANTING, WHINING, BARKING, NOT SETTLING DOWN… if the experience of going for a drive in the car with your dog has become stressful for you and your dog it’s time to address the situation. Left as is, neither you nor your dog can relax, normalize and enjoy the time spent together.

To cure the behaviour you must address and correct the root cause - this is a psychological issue – your dog’s and yours. Rescue remedies may help but they are unlikely to cure the behaviour.


FIRST LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW THIS BEHAVIOUR DEVELOPS

Here are a few examples of how we de-normalize the situation for our dogs and create the behaviour problem…

One - If you make a fuss when you are about to go out to the car, you ‘wind’ your dog-up and teach your dog that leaving and going out in the car is associated with excitement… i.e. ‘hey boy, you want to go for a ride in the car!’ by creating intense excitement you are destabilizing your dog’s state of being. You are overwhelming and flooding their senses. You are telling your dog to be excited, you are enabling an altered state. For an insecure dog this can trigger anxiety and anxiousness.

Two - If, in the past you or your dog has experienced a traumatic incident in the car and you still carry some of that stress from your traumatic experience your dog can sense your disquiet, nervousness, upset.

Three - You may have been upset or very excited when you first brought your dog home in the car.

Four - Your dog has motion sickness. When your dog gets sick in the car you get worried, frustrated, angry or otherwise stressed. For guidance on curing motion sickness in your dog you can read this article.


Now let’s talk about curing this behaviour

STEP ONE - CHANGE YOUR OWN BEHAVIOUR

I usually spend the first 30 minutes to 60 minutes of a four hour session just dealing with the human's issues - which trigger the dog's issues. When we humans start to accumulate nervousness pertaining to our dogs in certain situations (i.e. Our dog going up to another dog) we teach them to associate that situation with tension, nervousness, fear, insecurity, excitement...this is why dogs become reactive. Our dogs read our body language as our thoughts translate directly and instantaneously to our bodies. The second you feel tension, your body shows it...compression of your lips, tension around your eyes, your shoulders - your dog knows how you feel before you are aware of how you feel! You must relax and normalize so your dog can too.

To understand more about how you can inadvertently communicate the wrong message to your dog and to understand more about how to communicate the right message you can read these articles…



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 form associations with places, things, animate and inanimate objects. 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.

Make the future different than the past. You must let the past go - must not anticipate that the past will and must repeat itself - let it go from your mind. Envision a new future in which you forget about what has happened before and focus instead on what you would like to happen - a nice peaceful ride in the car with your dog.

When you change your thoughts from negative to positive you relax - this allows your dog to do the same. You are leading by the right example.


STEP TWO - SET THE FRAMEWORK AND GET READY TO GO OUT

You then have to set the framework for the car ride before you get into the car! How you go out of the house with your dog matters! You must have control of your own state of being and your dog at every step of the way. This sets the framework for good behaviour in the car.
 
A - When you want your dog to go to the front door to get ready to go, call your dog over in a calm, confident manner. Don’t wind your dog-up. Don’t say, ‘we’re going out’ or ‘do you want to go for a ride’ - you do not need to say anything at all - your dog already knows. Don’t engage your emotions, just be matter of fact - remember this should be a normal event.

B - Your dog needs to be, calm and quiet before you walk out the door, if you are attaching a leash to go out to the car your dog needs to be calm and quite before you attach the leash to your dog’s collar.

C - When you are ready to approach the door, stand-up straight - your posture should be upright, confident, not tense - be aware of your shoulders, arms and how you hold the leash in your hands. If you are gripping the leash with tension, if your arms and shoulders are stiff with apprehension and tension you are giving your dog a message - you are communicating that you are not in control of yourself and therefore you cannot be in a leadership position with your dog. You are enabling stress, anxiety, insecurity in your dog.

D - Your dog is behind you before you open the door;

E - Your dog is to stay behind you as you walk out the door (and down the steps);

F - Your dog is either behind or beside you to the garage or across the lawn (pathway) and out to the sidewalk and to the car.


If you or your dog is not calm - stop.

I see so many people keep moving forward when their dog is not calm, when they (the person) are not calm. Stop, get your dog calm and then continue moving. If your dog is reacting and you keep walking you are telling your dog it’s ok to behave as you are. Stop regain control and then move forward.

It matters 100% what state you and your dog is in before you get into the car!

Don’t engage in an argument with your dog and don't whine! Don't say to your dog ' oh, I wish you wouldn't do that'...to do so is whining and complaining, not directing - provide leadership, coach and mentor your dog. If you expect trouble you will get trouble…your dog can feel if you are anticipating an argument, instead remember to think i direct, my dog listens and that is it! Be 100% committed - your dog knows when you are not. Your dog knows when he has an edge to manipulate and control. Be fair, but be determined.

Tugging and pulling, yelling - it’s all an argument. This is a psychological test of wills - make sure your will is greater and comes from a place of confidence and strength of commitment.

Remember your dog has probably been doing this for awhile (as have you!), so have patience and persistence. Adjust your expectations too. When we are tired or stressed we don’t have the same focus, patience and control as we do when we are relaxed and refreshed. Some days are better than others – never give-up hope. Persist…change can take a little time. It takes time to train yourself to lead, communicate and direct effectively and we all have good days and bad days!

If your dog starts to get excited you must be the polar opposite – calm and directive. Don’t get sucked into the vortex of your dog’s emotion, disengage your emotions engage your working mind.

And remember if you need to disagree with any excited behaviour…

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 go 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' or ‘shh’ 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. 'shh’

Five - tell your dog what you would like it to do instead i.e. 'Relax or ‘calm’' etc.

Six – what until they are calm to move forward.

STEP THREE - GETTING INTO THE CAR

One – when you stand beside the car your dog must be calm;

Two  – when you open the car door, your dog must be calm;

Three  – you must wait until your dog is calm before you invite your dog into the car. When your dog is calm invite it to get into the car…or if the dog is small, you can then pick your dog up and put it in the car;

Four  – if your dog runs about in the car you should get it a harness and seat belt tether…or crate your dog. Your dog must learn that it cannot pace or dash about in the car.

Five  – as long as your dog has gotten into the car in a relaxed state and you remain positive and relaxed in the car you should see your dog’s  behaviour start to change, become more relaxed.

Six  – you can also use rescue remedies or flower essences  in combination with the methodology above.

Lastly, be patient and persistent, many people give-in and give-up too soon. 

Your ability to affect change in your dog is dependent on your leadership skills and your awareness of how you and communicate. As your skill grows, your ability to affect change will too! 


Additional Assistance

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Monday, 19 December 2011

TO INTRODUCE YOUR DOG TO A CAT, RABBIT...

So, you would like to introduce your dog to a cat or another non-canine animal, maybe a rabbit!

As pack leader our role in a dog-to-other animal meeting is to coach and mentor, not to stress and panic! 
Teaching your dog good social manners with other animals starts with training yourself. 
My smaller cat 'Callie' waiting for the dogs to go by -
as the dogs walk by she plays with their tails!
IF YOU HAVE TRIED INTRODUCTIONS BEFORE & ITS HAS NOT GONE WELL…

Make the future different than the past. You must let the past go - you must not anticipate that the past will and must repeat itself - let it go from your mind (to all intents and purposes...respect it but leave it|). This allows the human and the dog to leave the past behind and its associations and move forward. 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 form associations with places, situations and animate and inanimate objects. 
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.
Tibby, my larger cat with Robbie the Boxer and
Sarah the German Shepherd x Siberian Husky
THE TWO BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE…

ONE - Not having a basic understanding of what they themselves are communicating to their dog!
TWO - Being nervous, anxious, fearful or expecting / anticipating problems. 
When people do not have a complete understanding of all of the ways we communicate (and most people do not understand this!) create this situation, which gets exponentially worse if allowed to continue and then results in aggression. When you are nervous of your cat around a dog...the dog learns that when a cat is near, people are nervous, anxious and/or fearful. Dogs look to their humans for leadership…if you are uncomfortable you are telling your dog to associate a cat with nervousness, tension and fear and eventually this turns to reactivity - chasing and aggression. The dog does not create the situation - people do!  

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

SO LET’s MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS RIGHT!

DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU ARE COMMUNICATING?

Before you answer ‘yes, of course I know how to communicate' please read on. If greetings have not always gone well in the past and you anticipate that this new greeting will also go badly - I assure you, you are right - it will not go well! 
Dogs are very sensitive and use their senses (sight, scent, sound) more keenly and consciously than people do. Dogs read stress & emotion in people before a person is even aware of how they themselves feel. They do look at our face to read our reactions. A little tension in a persons shoulder, clinching of a hand, tightness of the lips, narrowing or widening of the eyes, change in breathing, sweating. They know what you are thinking, what you are feeling! The affect of our state-of-being on our dogs is profound. If you anticipate trouble you create trouble! You create tension and sometimes that is all that is required to trigger reactivity in your dog. This tells your dog that you are not in control and therefore it cannot trust you or the situation. Your dog becomes insecure and nervous, even fearful. This is the trigger for reactivity - what you see as aggression.

Make sure you are not tense, stressed or anticipating reactive (what you probably think of as aggressive) behaviour from your dog. 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 another animal.

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 the wrong message to them.

How Dogs Communicate

How Dogs Assign Respect

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 the tone you use to speak.
 

DO YOU REALLY KNOW HOW TO DIRECT YOUR DOG?

Seems an impertinent question for me to ask but from working with my clients, I know many people do not realize that they only give their dog the beginning of an instruction. Then the poor dog is vilified for not doing what the human thinks they told the dog to do!

To direct properly you must be calm, confident and provide a full set of instructions. A full set of instructions consists of:

1. Getting your dogs attention;
2. Letting your dog know what you do not what him to do;
3. Letting your dog what you do want him to do instead, and;
4. Following through to correct your dog if he backslides into the unwanted behaviour.

The leadership role is one of coaching and mentoring with fair, firm, clear direction. Never match your dog’s state but you do have to match the intensity of his behaviour. I see a lot of people doing only step 2. Then the poor dog gets in trouble as it goes back to doing the unwanted behaviour as its human has not provided a full set of instructions! Blame yourself, not your dog!

Here are some articles you can read to understand leadership and help you hone your Leadership skills...

Be Your Dog’s Pack Leader

De-Bunking the Alpha Myth

Dogs and Affection

The Golden Rule

IT IS EASIER TO WORK WITH A DOG WHO HAS EXPENDED ITS ENERGY

I always say that dogs have two types of energy;

A - their daily quota of energy, and;
B - if they have not had enough exercise on a regular daily basis they can have stored energy in addition to daily energy;

They can also have a third type of energy - anxious energy! If your dog has anxiety issues it may also have nervous energy which results in chewing objects or itself, scratching itself, etc.

Dogs need to expend their energy to feel relaxed and calm. You cannot expect a dog with unspent energy to be focused and ‘reasonable’, happy or balanced. Dogs need to expend their energy on a regular (daily) basis.

Just as we would find it difficult to settle down if we were revved up, so to do dogs - even more so. Unspent energy can lead to frustration making a dog more reactive and less attentive!

Before the introduction - give your dog a chance to expend its energy.
Shanny and Benjamen
LEARN TO READ YOUR DOG AND BE AWARE

I have worked with many clients’ who love their dog very much, but they think that their dog is a bad dog as the dog exhibits unwanted behaviour. I notice that the dog makes good eye contract, constantly looking at its people…but the people don’t see. The dog is trying to be positively opportunistic, but its attempts fail time and time again, because the humans are not aware and don’t see that their dog is asking for direction.

After providing direction to the dog once or twice, the dog quickly understands that it can look at me for direction and I will provide the coaching and mentoring it is seeking - the dog is a positive opportunist. It always was it’s just that no one was paying attention.

Just imagine how upsetting and frustrating this is for the dog. Yet the dog has never stopped trying…even though it was often reviled by its humans for being bad!

In the absence of direction the dog has little choice but to make up its own rules. Take advantage of the fact that your dog looks to you for direction - direct! I will show you how to really direct below.

SO LETS GO GREET THE CAT!
Jordie my German Shepherd x Alaskan Malamute and April
ONE - SET THE FRAMEWORK

You have to set the framework before you move forward with the meeting. How your dog approaches the cat matters! You must have control of your dog at every step of the way. This sets the framework for behaviour once the dog and cat are face to face.

A - Your dog needs to be, calm and quiet before you get up to the cat. Do not allow your dog to move forward in an excited state. If you are attaching a leash to your dog they need to be calm and quite before you attach the leash to their collar.

B - Once your dog is calm make sure you are standing up straight - your posture should be upright, confident, not tense - check your shoulders, arms and if you are using a leash make sure there is no tension in the way you are holding the leash. If you are gripping the leash with tension, if your arms and shoulders are stiff with apprehension and tension you are giving your dog a message - you are communicating that you are not in control of yourself and therefore you cannot be in a leadership position with your dog. You are enabling stress, anxiety, insecurity on your dog.

C - Your dog is behind you or beside you as you approach the cat, you are calm, confident, your dog is calm and is not in front of you. Remember, don’t engage in an argument with your dog, don't complain & whine! Tugging and pulling, yelling, frustration, anger - it’s all part of engaging in an argument.  If you are trying to provide direction to your dog - who is excited, anxious, reactive and you are also excited, frustrated, angry, reactive you are matching your dog’s state. You are most definitely leading by example - the wrong example. Dogs don’t like hypocrisy any more than humans do - would you

If you or your dog is not calm - STOP. I see so many people keep moving forward when their dog is not calm, when they (the person) are not calm. Stop, get your dog calm and then continue moving. If your dog is reacting and you keep walking you are telling your dog it’s OK to behave as you are. Stop regain control and then move forward.

Stevie my Sheltie, with Ginger and Benjamen
TWO - ENCOURAGE YOUR DOG TO USE IT’S NOSE
Encourage your dog to use its noise to greet your cat. 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, another animal) 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.

THREE - MAKE SURE YOUR DOG DOES NOT TAKE OVER

Remember it is your job to coach and mentor your dog - if you want your dog to give space and not crowd you have to tell it. If your dog is a little to eager / pushy you need to disagree with your dogs' behaviour. For instance your dog places his paws on the cat with a little too much energy or wants to lick the cat'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.

Dogs also claim space by moving into the space - by taking it over. If they crowd the cat too much you need to claim the space back.

Think for a moment about the tools and strategy that your dog uses to take over your space and your cat's space - your dog uses its body. You need to use the same tool he does - use your body to herd him out of the space while using your calm, confident state of being to support what you do with your body.

While working with your dog on this issue avoid looking, touching and talking as much as possible. You do not want to engage with him - you do not want to argue or debate with him - you want to direct him...there is a vast difference!

Use your body to herd your dog out of the space - back it out of your space by walk into the space it occupies or use your body by just leaning in or toward your dog, or use your hand/arm to point them away.

The technique you choose just depends on what works well for you and your dog and how committed your dog is to taking over the space.

When you are herding and directing move calmly and deliberately - not frantically. Frantic is what your dog is - you have to be the polar opposite. Firm, in-control movement. This is very important.

Persist with patience - also very important. Remember it may take a little effort to get your dogs' to stop being pushy - you need to have a stronger will than they do - just persistent with calm, confident patience.

Please read this article - it will help as well.

To Stop Your Dog From Chasing Your Cat

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!


Additional Assistance

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Dog Obedience Training and Behaviour Modification Services:
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