Dogs are very insightful communicators – much more so than the average human. Because dogs can sense and discern to a degree that exceeds that of an untrained human, it does not matter what you say as much as what you feel.
How you feel at any one given moment instantaneously transmits itself to:
- Your body in the form of body language
- Facial expression
- How you hold yourself – how one part of your body relates to another part of your body, your posture, etc.
- How you occupy your space, and
- How you occupy the space you are located in
- Where you are in that space
- How the various parts of your body are positioned in relationship to other parts of your body
- The footprint you are occupying
- How you move, etc.
- How you present yourself
- How you feel and the impacts of that on
- Your breathing
- Your adrenalin level
- Your heart rate
- Your blood pressure
- Your blood sugar level
- Your scent.
Your Thoughts and Your Emotions Are Directly Reflected in Your Body Language
Whatever you want your dog to be you must be that thing first. Your thoughts and emotions provide direction to your dog – more so than the words that you speak. It is not about being an ‘alpha’ a much misused term. It is about providing real leadership.
Real Leadership Is
Real leadership is about directing from a place of pure logic, with insight, fairness, honesty, self-awareness, self-discipline, self-restraint, respect and true patience for the good of all involved. Arguing with your dog simply serves to create stress for both dog and human.
Dogs are Literal Beings
Dogs are insightful observers and communicators – these attributes make literal communication of the utmost importance – logic matters.
When a human who is in one state (i.e. excited, emotive, reactive) expects a dog to be in the exact opposite state (i.e. calm, i.e. non-reactive, etc.):
- The human must learn to be first what he/she wants the dog to be, or
- Reset his/her expectations
In failing to adhere to 1. or 2. above it is the human that becomes the source of trouble – not the dog.
It is important to understand that it is not that we can never feel anxious, depressed, sad, stressed, fearful around our dogs. It is instead to say that in those moments when you seek to direct your dog you must do so by first reflecting what it is that you want your dog to be and your dog will follow your lead.
Never feel sorry for your dog, never feel guilty as these are destabilizing emotions to both the dog and the human. Instead ensure that your thoughts are in alignment with what you want your dog to feel – this is leading by the right example.
Older Dogs Can’t Learn – Wrong!
The much used saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is false.
An older dog does not need to learn something new to change his/ her behavior…that dog already possess what is needed to support change.
A dog in his/her double digit years can and will change his/her behavior when communicated to properly – no voice required, no force required, no treats required.
The limiting factor is not age, it is instead whether the human is willing to learn!