Posts in dog behavior
Shy, Fearful and Reactive Dogs - Part 1

When discussing shy, fearful or reactive dogs, it is important to know what we mean by that. What does a shy, fearful or reactive dog look like, and what can you do about it?

A shy or worried dog will be uncomfortable with a person moving into their space. They will likely do what is called avoidance behaviors. Avoidance behaviors are things a dog will do to indicate to the person or dog, that they are uncomfortable with the situation and want avoid interaction or confrontation. Things like turning their head, lick their lips, evert their eyes. Think of things you would do if you wanted to ignore a person (minus the lip licking).

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The Human Part of Body Language

The fact is that dogs learn body language faster than verbal cues. We are a verbal species but dogs are a visual species. They must learn the body language of other dogs and those around them in order to successfully maneuver their way through life. It’s a survival skill, plain & simple.

Often, we think our dog knows a verbal cue when we are actually giving the tiniest visual cue as well. If you aren’t sure what your dog is picking up on then videotape yourself and see what your dog is seeing. When we work with our dogs it is important that we are aware of what our body is saying to the dog as well as the verbal cues we give. For example: if our mouth says “stay” but our body language says “come”, our dog will come to us. This is one great reason to practice moving around when teaching stay, instead of doing the all too common “stand frozen in front of your dog” routine. The entire reason we teach stay is so they won’t move while we are doing something else.

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Vocal Inflections and How They Affect Your Dog’s Responses

Have you ever heard the phrase "It's not what you say, it's how you say it"? Well, that phrase has never been truer than when it is applied to how we communicate with dogs. Human beings rely heavily on words and vocal inflections to determine the meaning behind what other people are saying. Dogs, on the other hand, rely more on vocal inflections and body language. Today’s topic is about not only the words we use but how we say them. The tone of our voice and the inflections we use can help determine whether a dog will respond the way we want them to.

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The Evolution of Behavior - A.K.A: Connecting the Dots

Today’s show is about noticing when a small behavior can become a problem in the future. At first, we might see a small version of a behavior and ignore it because hey, it's not a big deal, right? But as trainers, we can see the future and it's not because we're psychic. It's due to the fact that we've worked with so many dogs and have seen how behaviors develop from something small into something bigger and can sometimes difficult to change.

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