Dog Training Norwich – It’s a dog’s (and cat’s) life

Posted on by DogsInTranslation in Dog Training, Uncategorized

Dog Training Norwich

Its a dog’s (and cat’s) life

It is perfectly possible for many dogs and cats to coexist in harmony! Even a dog who is showing aggression towards cats or a cat who is fearful of dogs, can be taught to remain calm and exhibit self-control in each other’s company. We need to be prepared to make some changes to how we live with them and put in the necessary time and energy to gain their trust, respect and cooperation. They don’t need to be best buddies – although I have come across many who have gone on to become just that. All that we require from them is that they do respect each other’s personal space and refrain from winding one another up! 

Dog Trainer Norfolk - Dog aggression towards cats

Daisy (spaniel) and Monty (chihuahua) were both very unsure of the cat (and just about everything else!) when they first came to live with us. Both had a previous history of ‘going for’ other animals and both would have reacted aggressively towards her, if we hadn’t managed things carefully. Now they all coexist peacefully.

Unfortunately, for many dogs and cats living together is an absolute nightmare! Both parties can feel very insecure and threatened and this leads to a constant battle of wits and wills as they attempt to occupy the same, relatively small space, of our homes.

The cat enters the room. She knows he’s in here somewhere, but where? She slinks and scurries in a way that betrays her apprehension and concern and the dog who spots her immediately, charges over to see what’s going on. The cat runs, seeking higher ground or an exit from the house. “Great result” thinks the dog. “I got rid of the cat!” and a strategy for cat management is formed.

A little later on the dog is happily ambling around when suddenly something sharp and spiky clobbers him on the back of the head, accompanied by a loud hissing noise! “Ouch!” Yelps the dog, as he scampers away, and looking back over his shoulder sees two yellow eyes glaring down at him from the safety of a chair.

And so it begins, and both animals go on to consistently reconfirm, through their behaviour towards one another, that they really are a threat.

Breaking this cycle of anxiety involves time, patience and good management. Both cat and dog must gently be shown to leave each other alone. Being conscious of what is going on between them at all times, is essential. The message is ‘You don’t need to worry. I’m keeping an eye on things’. This must be backed up with the right kind of action and response, preferably before an altercation occurs and certainly during and after. If either the dog or the cat makes a move on the other, you must step in and calmly redirect them. The cat must see you looking out for her and the dog must know you’ve got his back!

Initially it’s important to restrict the interactions between the dog and the cat, to times when you are there to monitor and manage what is going on. Leaving them to their own devices will only strengthen their concern and anxiety, as they continue to have altercations. It’s really important to resist the temptation to shout or show your agitation if there is a kerfuffle, as this is likely to increase levels of tension and feed into the problem!

As always, it’s important that the ‘back-drop’ to life together, is one of general calm and cooperation. A dog who believes that he is the decision-maker in your home, is much more likely to believe that he should decide if the cat stays or goes. He will also find it harder to trust your decisions about – and management of – the situation. A cat who is used to receiving your undivided attention and has you trained military fashion to cater to her every need, is much more likely to object to a dogs presence.

Sometimes, when things are really bad we will need to spend time doing some specific work with our cat and dog, to help them to accept living alongside each other. If you have a situation where the dog literally wants to eat the cat (or vice versa!) it’s a good idea to seek the assistance of a Recommended Dog Listener, to ensure that you create an environment where the necessary training can be carried out safely, correctly and effectively. Please contact me or visit Jan Fennell to find a Recommended Dog Listener in your area.

By calmly and consistently interacting with all of our animals, in a way that inspires trust respect and cooperation, we can gently guide them through all of life’s inevitable challenges and ensure peaceful and harmonious family groups. Contact Lucy Parkes - Dog Trainer Norfolk – for more canine inspiration and dog behaviour advice.

 


Dog Trainer Norfolk – Self-Control, the very best kind!

Posted on by DogsInTranslation in Dog Training

Dog Trainer Norfolk

Self-Control, the very best kind!

Encouraging a dog to develop self-control boosts his confidence in a really positive way. On the whole, living in our world with us, our dog’s need to follow our lead and defer to our decisions about things. However, by developing self-control in key areas of their lives with us, they can feel a level of autonomy that is rewarding for both us and them.

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Encouraging Self-Control – the very best kind! – Dog Trainer Norfolk

Developing self-control means that we encourage our dogs to work things out for themselves – with a little help and guidance from us 

If we consistently ‘tell’ our dogs what to do – “in your bed” “be quiet” “get down” “wait!” “heel” – they are less likely to develop self-control, which is of course, the very best kind!

Encouraging a dog to think for herself, and therefore cooperate, is at the heart of the work I do with people and dogs. We are all much more willing to cooperate when we are given a good reason to do so and are then able make the decision to cooperate, for ourselves.

Understanding, communication and cooperation pave the way to happy dogs and happy families.


Dog Trainer Norfolk – Stress-free pets?

Posted on by DogsInTranslation in Dog Training, Dog's Health

Dog Trainer Norfolk

Stress-free pets?
Stress-free with dogs - Dog Trainer Norfolk

Maisy sits peacefully on her special cat shelf in the garden. Living with four dogs could be stressful for her but careful management ensures that everyone feels safe and as stress-free as possible.

The well-being of our companions, is intrinsically linked with our own. Being well is not only good for us, it also has a profound effect on those around us. A truly holistic approach to the resolution of behavioural issues, means understanding the impact that we all have on each other.

In a family/pack everyone affects everyone else and our state of mind (and body) is contagious! We can infect those around us with peace, joy and love. We can also cause an epidemic of stress and anxiety. The modern world can be a very stressful place. Long working hours, multiple and complex commitments, financial strains and social pressures mean that stress and anxiety can easily build up and begin to unbalance our autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system (part of the peripheral nervous system) plays a very large part in well-being – both for us, and most of our animal companions. It plays a key role in keeping us all alive by maintaining and healing our bodies and getting us out of danger when it occurs – flight or fight. Problems can arise when the autonomic nervous system (ANS) becomes out of balance and this can happen when we are repeatedly exposed to danger – real or perceived!

The trouble is, our ANS is unable to differentiate between the very real threat of an out-of-control car that is careering towards us, and the persistent – but less immediately life threatening – day-to-day fears and worrying thoughts, that can pervade our waking and sleeping lives! The untamed voice in our head can become our own worst enemy. An internal saboteur, terrorising us on a daily basis with thoughts of ‘what if’, self-judgement and condemnation. If this fearful voice continues to run the show, the ANS can become progressively more and more out of balance. This can lead to negative consequences to our well-being, and unfortunately, for the well-being of those around us.

Most of our animal companions have an autonomic nervous system, and just like us, they too, can become out of balance. This is very often the root cause of what we perceive as problem behaviour. An out of balance ANS can cause us all to become more sensitive/aggressive, less cooperative and trusting and more likely to judge rather than empathise. Soothing and nurturing everyone’s nervous system is usually a big part of the picture in the resolution of behavioural issues.

Put simply, it’s the difference between a life lived in love and a life lived in fear!

Some of the more extreme behavioural issues that people can experience with their dogs –   aggression, separation anxiety, compulsive patterns of behaviour, destruction and eating problems – are rooted in an out-of-balance ANS.

Sometimes a shift in perspective and a change in the way that we are doing things is enough to help our dogs to feel safe with us and therefore, more able to relax and cooperate, more of the time. Sometimes however, when stress and anxiety are more pervasive, we may need to soothe and nurture our own ANS as part of the process, and these are some of the strategies that I use to create lasting change -

-          Meditation – proven to reduce stress, increase serotonin (feel good chemical) and improve cognitive ability and immune function, amongst a multitude of other amazing benefits!

-          Breathing techniques that are easy to implement, any time any place, and have an immediate, soothing effect on the ANS.

-          Strategic interventions to challenge the voice in the head and create the space for real and lasting change to take place.

Next week I’m off to Oulton Broad to further my knowledge of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) with the inspirational Kath Temple – www.thehappinessfoundation.co.uk

WATCH THIS SPACE! : )


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