Dog training is about a two way communication. If we are asking our dog’s to learn to understand us and the language we communicate in, it’s only fair for us to learn how they communicate. Dogs are speaking to us all the time and we have to learn to listen.
Body Language and Common Stress Signals: Below are some resources that include visuals to help you understand when your dog is stressed, happy, and playful. Familiarize yourself with them so that you can advocate for Fido when he’s overwhelmed. Learn to tell positive interactions apart from negative ones. Armed with this crucial information, you can help Fido be the most comfortable and confident dog he can possibly be.
Living With Kids and Dogs Guide (These are not stress signals exclusive to dog/kid interactions.)
While we are on the subject of body language, it is really important to note that we do not want to punish Fido if he growls. Growling is important communication and it’s an important warning, one that we want to preserve. If we punish the growl, he’ll learn not to use it at which point he could very well learn that the most effective means of getting a perceived threat to move away is to bite. To address your dog’s growling, it’s important to address the underlying cause. Are men in hats causing Fido to growl? Then we have to address his feelings about men in hats, not simply suppress the growling while he’s around them.
Pat Miller talks about the “gift” of the growl in this article: “The Gift of the Growl”
Stress Reduction: Below are products that we use for puppies and dogs that are either in transitional periods of their lives (i.e. they were just brought home from the shelter or breeder) or that are experiencing other types of stress.
- Adaptil / Comfort Zone collar – a pheromone collar that you renew every 30 days. It also comes in a diffuser format as well as a spray.
- iCalm Dog Music – bioaccoustically engineered calming music for dogs. Think of this as Fido’s spa time. This music is designed to relax dogs and has been proven to do so. Play it during times when you think he needs some help relaxing. It can also be used to drown out noise. Never pair this exclusively with stressful events or the music will take on a negative meaning.
- Thundershirt – a pressure jacket that can help relieve stress. This is only helpful if your dog is okay with wearing clothes. Never pair this exclusively with stressful events or the shirt will take on a negative meaning.
© Give Paw Dog Training LLC 2017