Dog Trainer Norfolk ~ Happy Dogs Happy Families

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

Dog Trainer Norfolk

Happy Dogs Happy Families

Living with dogs can and should be an absolute joy.

Dogs have an incredible ability to bring DSC_3662happiness into our lives and we can, in turn, give them a happy and fulfilling life.  However, for many dog owners, life with their dog is at best an ordeal and at worst a complete nightmare! Understanding what it is that makes the difference, has been pivotal to my work as a Dog Listener over the last seven years.

Watching a much loved dog running freely in the woods or on the beach, playing in the garden or relaxing at home, brings joy to millions of dog owners the world over, and sharing these simple pleasures with our dogs brings us and them a great deal of happiness.

But what happens when things go wrong and what is it that causes a dog to become a problem?

First of all it’s much more helpful to view a “problem dog” as a “dog with problems”. Problem behaviour can be seen as a cry for help from a dog who is trying to cope under pressure! Excessive pulling on the lead, poor recall, hyper-vigilance, manic behaviour, aggression, separation anxiety, destruction……..the list goes on. All of the above are symptomatic of a stressed dog who is trying to control and manage his environment!

Stress is an infectious state of mind and body and if one member of the pack is stressed, the chances are that others will be too! Whether it’s just you and your dog, a family group or a pack made up of many dogs, the effect of too much, or prolonged stress, is dis-harmony, inability to cooperate and often conflict.

So how does the stress get there and what can you do about it?

Not all stress is bad. Without the bodily systems that implement the responses that are associated with stress, we wouldn’t be alive! These systems are what get us out of danger and make sure that we stay that way. However, it is possible for these bodily systems to become out-of-balance.  Over-exposure to challenging situations and stimulus – especially at an early age – can cause the nervous system to become over-sensitive and this can lead to problems.

Almost all problem behaviour in dogs is the result of miscommunication and misunderstanding about who is in charge of – and responsible for – the pack and the associated stress. It’s all too easy to give the role of leader to our dogs, landing them with a big job of responsibility that they are just not equipped to deal with. The result is stress, anxiety and problem behaviour. Some dogs are even less suited to this situation than others and this is when the problems can really escalate!

So what’s the answer?

Communication is key! By calmly and consistently communicating to your dog -in a way that he can easily understand – that you are the pack leader that he can trust, you reassure him that all is well and gain his respect and cooperation. Understanding the world from your dog’s unique perspective (they’re all different!) allows you to manage his life in the very best way and resolve problem behaviour without the use of force, gadgets or gizmos.

Understanding, communication and cooperation are all essential ingredients for happiness. Happy dogs make happy families and happy families create happy dogs!

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 –