Monday, November 14, 2011

Do you know when . . . ?

Do you know when to say when to Fido? I 'm not talking about feeding him too much, I'm talking about stress levels.  I try to discuss this with all my clients but I am not sure if I do as good a job as I should.  You must realize that a dog under even the slightest bit of stress can make a lot of things look like something else.

During a training class I watched as one of my clients asked her dog to lie down.  The dog lifted her paw and stood looking at her owner, "Ma, did I do it right?!"  The owner was becoming slightly irritated, "Fifi, down!"  She offered the paw again and then sat, still looking longingly at her owner.  The dog was not being defiant, she was simply conflicted, confused and now stressed out.  At this point she wasn't going to lie down no matter how much the owner kept stressing "Down!".  Once a dog hits a level of stress and we don't step back to find out what to do better or change the situation we set our dogs up for many things:  1) failure  2) lack of compliance  3) distrust in us.

It is critical to learn how to read your dog, and use that to your advantage.  Doing this will help so many situations.  During training you will go further if you are actually "in tune" with your dog. But even forget dog training, life in general will be better for the both of you if you learn to read your dog!  By this I mean learn to read his stress signals and help him learn and go the right direction, using appropriate training, tools, and communication.  (This is a huge reason I do not like a certain TV Dog Trainer, he doesn't read dog's stress levels worth a poop!)

I saw this blog post titled, "A Different Form of Abuse?" on Facebook today and shared it on my Facebook page, but I wanted to write a little more about the subject too.  I also wanted to share that this is one of the many topics that will be discussed in my Speak DOG! Workshop I'm having on Sunday, November 20th.  Details on that here--please enroll and find out some things you may have thought you knew but didn't!