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Does Your Dog Get To Choose Enough?

If you’re a dog owner who likes rules, or you expect a dog to be seen and not heard, show respect to the humans as their pack leader or expect them to act like obedient robots, you would hate this home. 

It’s chaos in this house and the chaos is largely to do with the conduct of the dogs, with Holly (our puppy farm survivor and the smallest Yorkie) right in the middle inciting riots that she might in some way benefit from and she usually does. And there’s positive reinforc…

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What Is Canine Reactive Behaviour?

When our dogs overreact our first and most important tool is knowledge!

Reactive behaviour is a sign that the internal state of the dog has changed and that the dog is dog suffering with an emotion such as stress, fear, frustration or anxiety. It is strictly speaking, an overreaction and can include lunging, barking, threatening or trying to get away. The exact behaviour type and reason for it will depend on the dog, their personality and capacity to cope. 

Whilst overt…

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Don't Touch The Dog!

You have probably seen the practice of offering a scared dog food from the hand, to associate that food with us as a pleasurable thing. It’s what we do, based on the idea of passing them some nice food to let them know we are friendly. It might even be another evolved habit from our ape ancestors. When a dog is really scared though, an outstretched hand – even with food in it, is enough to set their stress reaction off. The associated vocal encouragement and the fact we are watching to dog to …

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Choices - Give Your Dog The Chance to Get It Right!

My terrier Chips, is socially awkward and somewhat fearful of other dogs. He actually really likes other dogs and with proper introduction he will be friendly and enjoy a brief hello. He’s much more comfortable with the smaller dogs and those that don’t have obscured faces, such as long haired or black dogs which are more difficult for others to read.

When he sees a dog that he’s not comfortable with, Chips will put on an aggressive display – as braveheart terriers often do when…

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Worried Dogs Speak - Do You Listen?

Often, strangers try to touch or interact with dogs without asking their permission, or in some cases they don’t even ask ours. It’s perfectly natural for us to want to love every dog we see. The problem is not all dogs want to be fiddled with by strangers and here's how they tell us.

Dogs get worried and scared of things they think may be threatening to them just like we do, so even if the excited stranger is friendly they can make our dogs feel tense. Our job as thei…

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Helping A Scared Dog Through Skilled Engagement

It can be difficult living with a dog who struggles with the world. We can feel like we have already heard them bark a million times today and walks might feel like more work than relaxation or fun. We can change that though – by working on our relationship through engagement, which is quality trust building time with our dogs. Engagement is a vital part of your relationship with your dog and it’s something that works perfectly to build your bond, to keep your dog’s focus and add glu…

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Do You Know Your Dog's Triggers?

Anything that makes our dogs uneasy can be a trigger for a reaction. Since my little dog, Holly was attacked, other dogs have been a huge trigger for her. She changes just by the scent of another dog in the distance, It’s very sad to see.

Triggers can occur through one or more senses. Extremely visual dogs, collies, for example, might be overwhelmed visually, while sound-sensitive dogs might be overwhelmed by sound. So for a sound-sensitive collie, a car roaring past at 40 miles…

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Make Dinner Time More Interesting For Your Dog

Food games, are a great way to mix extra time and dinnertime for dogs.

Food games are easiest and most obvious to the dog learning to sniff for fun and relaxation. Foraging is such a natural behaviour that most dogs love it, and naturally know how to do it. Food fulfils a primary need and tasty food is motivating and interesting enough to merit a little sniff effort. The beauty of food games and foraging is that we can start the dog off so easily, that he can’t possibly find a way…

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Choices and Touch - Consent Is so Important.

Choices are so vitally important to our dogs and in fact they have very few. We chose them after all, they didn’t choose us. Even when we offer them a happy home with plenty of love, they still have few choices. Think about the freedom we have. We might think we are stuck for a multitude of reasons: money, relationships, people or necessity all give us the impression that we have little choice. On a wider scale, government, taxes and world politics allow sinister beliefs to grow, beliefs that …

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Emotional Intelligence & Reactive Dogs

Emotions affect the way that we feel and our presence with our dogs, let’s focus on what we can do about it. Let's start with being mindful.

The basis of mindfulness is awareness and being aware will help you to take a less involved view of your mind chatter. Through being mindful we can’t stop our thoughts but we can stop assuming they are an accurate representation of our reality because often they are not. An example would be how we start to see other dogs and dog walkers when we…

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