June 23, 2009

Calming Signals

Turid Rugaas has brought a lot of attention over the years to dogs & their calming signals. Many people find it extremely hard to communicate with their dogs. I often hear..."I wish I knew what he was thinking". Well... you can. You just have to pay close attention to the dog's body language and he will very openly tell you what he is thinking and how he is feeling (happy, excited, stressed, sad, angry). I pay close attention to the calming signals of my own dogs and those of dogs I am training. It is very important that I don't over load a dog with too much new information and cause the dog stress. Calming signals and stress signals go hand-in-hand with one another. When the dog is stressed...he will yawn, lick, blink quickly, sniff the ground, urinate and/or freeze just to name a few. These are all signals given by the dog to calm those around him (usually what is causing his stress). Dogs often recognize these signals immediately and will turn away from the stressed dog to prevent an altercation. People are not as tuned-in. They continue to walk towards the dog (usually head-on in a threatening manner), reach their hand out to pet the dog and then wonder why the dog bit them "out of no where". It wasn't out of no where though. The dog was given all kinds of subtle warnings...the person just didn't know how to recognize them.

I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar given by Turid quite a few years ago. It was a long three day seminar. I learned so much. If you ever have the opportunity to meet Turid and listen to her speak I highly recommend it. Her book On Talking Terms with Dogs & her DVD Calming Signals are also great!

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Dog Training Philosophy

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I train dogs using positive reinforcement training to modify unwanted behaviors.  I step outside the traditional training box and use therapeutic-grade essential oils to assist in my behavior modification regime when it comes to dogs plagued with fear and anxiety as well as aggression.  My philosophy is to heal the dog's mind, body and spirit, not just to rid the dog of unacceptable behaviors.  I specialize in shelter dog rehab, reactive rover, and fearful fidos.