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 ~ 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 Training Norwich – Why should I?

Posted on by DogsInTranslation in Dog Training, Uncategorized

Dog Training Norwich

Why should I?

Remembering that our dogs are not actually obliged to cooperate with us, can empower us and place us in a much more influential position. When we tell ourselves that our dog should walk to heel, should come when called and should be friendly towards other dogs (to mention a few) we effectively create a big gap between where we are and where we want to be. Living with this gap can be extremely uncomfortable for both you and your dog! IMG_20130709_234232

‘Should’ can be seen as a rather unhelpful word and sometimes just replacing it with ‘Could’ can make all the difference! ‘My dog could walk to heel’ feels so much more hopeful and full of possibility! Words are incredibly powerful and the words that we repeat to ourselves about our lives and the situations and circumstances within it, can become like mantras that shape and impact our perceptions and reactions.

‘Should’ can keep us stuck in resistance, in a place where nothing is ever quite as it should be. As the saying goes – ‘what we resist persists’ and the more we resist what is, the more we can dig ourselves into a problem! My dog should do this, my dog should do that and I should be in control! Where did all these ‘shoulds’ come from!?

Much like us, all dogs are different. Different parents, different births and different formative experiences with their litter mates and the world around them. All these variables are what create the diversity of personality that dog owners the world over have delighted in for many thousands of years.

On a survival level, a group of diverse personalities can work really well. It means that there are a variety of different skill sets available, to fulfil different roles and situations. Put simply, different life experiences create different creatures with differing capabilities. Not better or worse capabilities, just different, and everyone has something special and unique to offer to the group.

When we honour these differences we can work together in harmony, and for the benefit of all. If we replace ‘should’ with ‘could’ we can bypass resistance and free up both inner and outer space. A world of possibilities now becomes available to us as the Universe conspires to bring helpful people and situations into our lives, and we are able to co-create – with our dogs and everyone else around us – the peace and joy filled lives that we all desire.