How to change your dog’s behavior?
Written by Zuza on May 18, 2021
In this little post I want to write you about the process of changing your dog’s behavior, or rahter, changing your perspective on what it indeed should look like.
When approaching issues like dog aggression, fear, hyperactivity, we very often want to just “train out” what we don’t like and what the dog does either towards dogs or people. We forget that all these behaviors have an emotional background which cannot be modified simply by teaching the dog a certain command (like look at me) or by showing the dog how to sit and wait when another dog is passing by. These typical training techniques might at maximum lead to changing how the behavior looks from OUTSIDE, while still leaving the emotional state unchanged.
In order to help the dog, we have to get into a certain state of mind and understanding:
– Changing the behavior of the dog should be treated like a therapy which (like in our case if we go to a therapist) takes time and needs to be considered to last in some cases even a few months; we can’t expect that we resolve the emotional root in 1 or 2 sessions.
– The behavior is only the end result of other areas of the dog’s life which need to be looked at and modified accordingly in order to support emotional balance of the canine: diet, activities, communication with the carer, emotions of the person, play, walks, stress, walking equipment and routine. In this way we build a solid foundation for the further work.
– Some dogs might behave in a certain, unbalanced way if they had experienced a trauma. As in the human psychotherapy, we need to look at and relax the physical body in order to release tension patterns created there over the time due to the traumatic experience. We cannot separate the emotional from physical as then the transformation process won’t go so smoothly and effectively.
– Our approach, habits and emotions play a HUGE role affects the dog and the way it behaves. It’s important to take responsibility for your own reactions in the transformational process of your dog’s behavior.
How do I work with my canine and human clients?
In the beginning we make the initial appointment and analyze all these “building blocks” which might contribute to how the dog behaves. We talk through the stressors and find ways to modify them in order to be able to lower the stress level and help the dog feel more safe. I also show the carer how to read the body language and communication of their dog and how to respond to it accordingly.
We also make a plan for the further meetings, depending on what the issue is.
Everything we talk about is focused on how to support the dog in becoming more confident and calm in the presence of a certain object or situation. We don’t use any punishment or correction as I don’t accept those in my work and philosophy.
At the end the carer receives the summary with lots of links to items to purchase and extra articles to read to get a better understanding of their dog’s behavior.
Each next session is designed by me depending on the goal and plan we made on the initial appointment.
If the carer feels eager to learn the relaxing bodywork techniques or how to use essential oils in order to address the dog’s behavior more holistically, we add those modalities too on the 3rd or 4th session. In some cases I might also suggest that we add sound therapy and tuning forks.
It all takes time and patience…
It takes a while till we see a change in the canine’s behavior. But it’s definitely worth as in this process we grow and change as people too. We become more sensitive to our own emotions as we need to become sensitive to our dog’s emotions. We become calmer, more grounded and those new skills help not only the dog but also ourselves in other daily stressful situations.
Look at your dog’s behavior as a precious gift, not as something to fight against and the change will come sooner than you might even imagine! 🙂
Check my qualifications and book your first consultation HERE. 🙂