|My smaller cat ‘Callie’ waiting for the dogs to go by –
as the dogs walk by she plays with their tails!
|Tibby, my larger cat with Robbie the Boxer and
Sarah the German Shepherd x Siberian Husky
SO LETs MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS RIGHT!
1.Getting your dogs attention;
2. Letting your dog know what you do not what him to do;
3. Letting your dog what you do want him to do instead, and;
4. Following through to correct your dog if he backslides into the unwanted behaviour.
A – their daily quota of energy, and;
B – if they have not had enough exercise on a regular daily basis they can have stored energy in addition to daily energy;
They can also have a third type of energy – anxious energy! If your dog has anxiety issues it may also have nervous energy which results in chewing objects or itself, scratching itself, etc.
Dogs need to expend their energy to feel relaxed and calm. You cannot expect a dog with unspent energy to be focused and ‘reasonable’, happy or balanced. Dogs need to expend their energy on a regular (daily) basis.
Just as we would find it difficult to settle down if we were revved up, so to do dogs – even more so. Unspent energy can lead to frustration making a dog more reactive and less attentive!
Before the introduction – give your dog a chance to expend its energy.
|Shanny and Benjamen|
After providing direction to the dog once or twice, the dog quickly understands that it can look at me for direction and I will provide the coaching and mentoring it is seeking – the dog is a positive opportunist. It always was it’s just that no one was paying attention.
Just imagine how upsetting and frustrating this is for the dog. Yet the dog has never stopped trying…even though it was often reviled by its humans for being bad!
In the absence of direction the dog has little choice but to make up its own rules. Take advantage of the fact that your dog looks to you for direction – direct! I will show you how to really direct below.
SO LETS GO GREET THE CAT!
|Jordie my German Shepherd x Alaskan Malamute and April|
B – Once your dog is calm make sure you are standing up straight – your posture should be upright, confident, not tense – check your shoulders, arms and if you are using a leash make sure there is no tension in the way you are holding the leash. If you are gripping the leash with tension, if your arms and shoulders are stiff with apprehension and tension you are giving your dog a message – you are communicating that you are not in control of yourself and therefore you cannot be in a leadership position with your dog. You are enabling stress, anxiety, insecurity on your dog.
C – Your dog is behind you or beside you as you approach the cat, you are calm, confident, your dog is calm and is not in front of you. Remember, don’t engage in an argument with your dog, don’t complain & whine! Tugging and pulling, yelling, frustration, anger – it’s all part of engaging in an argument. If you are trying to provide direction to your dog – who is excited, anxious, reactive and you are also excited, frustrated, angry, reactive you are matching your dog’s state. You are most definitely leading by example – the wrong example. Dogs don’t like hypocrisy any more than humans do – would you
If you or your dog is not calm – STOP. I see so many people keep moving forward when their dog is not calm, when they (the person) are not calm. Stop, get your dog calm and then continue moving. If your dog is reacting and you keep walking you are telling your dog it’s OK to behave as you are. Stop regain control and then move forward.
|Stevie my Sheltie, with Ginger and Benjamen|
Encourage your dog to use its noise to greet your cat. A dog’s sense of smell is acute. In its natural state, dogs greet each other by smelling each other – not by jumping all over each other in an excited state. Excited greetings occur because the human has taught the dog that greeting (a human – child or adult, another animal) requires excitement. This is not a dog’s way. It is a human’s way. To teach this type of greeting de-normalizes the experience for a dog. Make the greeting normal and comfortable.
THREE – MAKE SURE YOUR DOG DOES NOT TAKE OVERRemember it is your job to coach and mentor your dog – if you want your dog to give space and not crowd you have to tell it. If your dog is a little to eager / pushy you need to disagree with your dogs’ behaviour. For instance your dog places his paws on the cat with a little too much energy or wants to lick the cat’s face too much. Touch your dog and say ‘no’ and then say ‘gentle’. Touch gets his attention, ‘no’ to indicate the behaviour is not appropriate and ‘gentle’ to provide the right direction. This is coaching / mentoring.
Dogs also claim space by moving into the space – by taking it over. If they crowd the cat too much you need to claim the space back.
Think for a moment about the tools and strategy that your dog uses to take over your space and your cat’s space – your dog uses its body. You need to use the same tool he does – use your body to herd him out of the space while using your calm, confident state of being to support what you do with your body.
While working with your dog on this issue avoid looking, touching and talking as much as possible. You do not want to engage with him – you do not want to argue or debate with him – you want to direct him…there is a vast difference!
Use your body to herd your dog out of the space – back it out of your space by walk into the space it occupies or use your body by just leaning in or toward your dog, or use your hand/arm to point them away.
The technique you choose just depends on what works well for you and your dog and how committed your dog is to taking over the space.
When you are herding and directing move calmly and deliberately – not frantically. Frantic is what your dog is – you have to be the polar opposite. Firm, in-control movement. This is very important.
Persist with patience – also very important. Remember it may take a little effort to get your dogs’ to stop being pushy – you need to have a stronger will than they do – just persistent with calm, confident patience.
Please read this article – it will help as well.
I cannot state enough how important it is to be relaxed, calm, confident and patient – it is everything!
This meeting should be enjoyed, it should be beautiful – and not infused with stress, tension and nightmare scenarios in your mind.