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Applying Dog Psychology





woundedhealer
This topic was prompted by another - "how to train a dog?"

Dog psychology is totally different to human psychology, and as most people humanise their dog, going as far as seeing them as a child, calling them their baby, the dog is likely to be pretty mixed up. Dogs see us and any other pets we have as pack members and in every pack there has to be a leader and followers. When we apply dog psychology, we emulate the alpha male/female of a dog pack.
When we are the pack leader our dogs do not go through a door before us, they walk either beside us or behind us when we're out. They don't sit on our furniture or claim our bed. They don't bark for their food or eat it before we have given permission and they definately don't go peeing around the house. It's not difficult to have well behaved dogs through applying dog psychology, but it is a full time commitment.
It's my belief that the majority of dogs do not get enough exercise, many get none whatsoever. People are suprised to hear my Pomeranian's main walk of the day is one hour. This comprises of a 20 min walk on lead to the park, 20 mins off-lead in the park and then another 20 min walk home. I vary the walk to make it more interesting. When a dog doesn't doesn't get enough excercise all sorts of problems arise. It can be manic around the house, destructive, noisy, naughty or hard to handle. In the wild dog packs and wolves walk miles a day to find food.
Dog psychology has huge benefits for us as well as our dogs. When you're the leader you can't go slouching around, you need a good, relaxed posture. You can't have a negative attitude. Dogs pick up on body language and emotions and if they aren't positive, a dog will see this as weakness. Alphas are not weak and as there must be an alpha, if we aren't providing that role our dog will take it instead.
When we take the leadership role a look and a sound is all it takes to make a dog behave. Dogs understand certain words but they don't understand sentences and we certainly can't reason with them like we would a child.
This is a huge subject, but I'm sure you get the picture. Any questions or imput?
Idoru
I agree with you that it's clean out stupid not to try to think as your dog. By understanding it's behaviour
you have a great advantage, since our minds are more complex and gives us a huge head-start.
On the other hand, I don't compleatlly agree with some of the behaviours you mention as examples. To sit on our
furniture, sleep in our beds and walk out the door before us can be acchived, still remaining the alpha.
It's more like what you say about food, to give them permission, and not allow certain behavior without it.
Personally I live with both a dog and cats, and the cats may not go outside. It's a bit difficult to have the dog
waiting for me when going out, since it most likley will be short followed by cats. But, making him sit down and
wait for my permission keeps that status going anyhow, right?

Basiclly, I have the same idea, but a bit different methods. After all, we've brought the dog in, and we have our
own patterns of living. He just has to adjust a bit, still beeing a dog.
And not to forget, as you so well put it, a dog is a dog 24/7 - it's a full time job beeing tha boss. Wink
Daisie
When we had our dog, last year, we went to a dog training course with her from "dog naturaly" and they explained everythings to us just like you did.
Basicly a dog is a dog and think like one, not the new baby of the familly.
We do use short command (with visual aid and treats sometime) such as Sit Stay Wait Go No.
She does wait until we are out or in of the house before following us, dont sleep on the bed (got 2 cats on it, that's enought!) nor climb on the furnitures.
She listen well and seem to know her boundaries.
She think i m the top bitch too, what I say goes !

Exept for walks Sad , I tried everything but she pull constantly and wont walk beside me. She is driving me nuts! I have to tell her to stop all the time so I can catch up... I just dont know what to do (short of a strangling collar thingy... but i m not to keen on them...)
woundedhealer
Quote:
On the other hand, I don't compleatlly agree with some of the behaviours you mention as examples. To sit on our furniture, sleep in our beds and walk out the door before us can be acchived, still remaining the alpha. .... Personally I live with both a dog and cats, and the cats may not go outside. It's a bit difficult to have the dog waiting for me when going out, since it most likley will be short followed by cats.

The followers NEVER go in front of the leaders. As for being on the furniture, it depends if it's on our terms or theirs. If it's on their terms, they have claimed it. My dog sometimes sits on my chair when I'm not sitting in it, but always get's off when I approach. As she's small she also sits on my lap, but only with my permission.
I don't see what difference the cats make. You seem to be saying that if the dog followed you out, the cats would follow the dog, so surely you have that problem anyway?
Quote:
After all, we've brought the dog in, and we have our
own patterns of living. He just has to adjust a bit, still beeing a dog.

It depends what you mean by adjust. I don't think there would be any need to adjust If a dog is at the bottom of the pecking order. If he's come from another family with different rules then yes, he'd have to adjust to yours, but if you are using dog psychology then he would be going back to his natural ways. And he would have to get used to people being away at different times.

Quote:
I tried everything but she pull constantly and wont walk beside me. She is driving me nuts! I have to tell her to stop all the time so I can catch up... I just dont know what to do (short of a strangling collar thingy... but i m not to keen on them...)

By pulling in front of you, she is showing you disrespect.
I know of two ways to overcome this.

1. keep her on a very short lead so she has no option to walk at your side. You need to be very focused on her so when she shows signs of pulling, give the lead a quick sideways tug, accompanied with "no" or whatever sound you make to let her know the behaviour is wrong. If you check her every time she does it, she should eventually stop pulling.

2. As soon as she starts to pull, quickly change direction. Keep doing this even if it takes 1/2 hr or more before she gets the message.
Whichever method you use, once started you must persevere because if you give up, she will have won which will raise her status.

Is she a high-energy dog? Mine has higher energy than you would expect for her breed. I use a mobility scooter when I take her for a walk. I keep to quiet paths where I can go fast to give her a good run. You could try using a bicycle, blades or skateboard to give you dog a good run. If your dog is high energy you can also put a backpack on her. If I remember rightly, you can put up to 10% of her body weight in it. This gives her a workout.
My next dog is probably going to be a higher-energy one than I have now, so I will most likely get a treadmill to give her extra excercise.
Daisie
She does have a lots of runs during the day. We are fortunate enought to have a good size ground behind the house for the dogs to run (we often meet others dogs there and it's a big play time) and she does the school run with me too. She is young too, only a year, so she sure is full of it!

Quote:
1. keep her on a very short lead so she has no option to walk at your side. You need to be very focused on her so when she shows signs of pulling, give the lead a quick sideways tug, accompanied with "no" or whatever sound you make to let her know the behaviour is wrong. If you check her every time she does it, she should eventually stop pulling.


I did start doing this method but I gave up because I was going no where (will start again and stick to it this time) I think the problem come from my husband, when he walks her, she goes left right and center and he dont mind so when she is with me she probably think that it's fine to do the same. I ll have to traine hubby to train the dog Confused . Thank for your imput Smile
woundedhealer
Quote:
think the problem come from my husband, when he walks her, she goes left right and center and he dont mind so when she is with me she probably think that it's fine to do the same. I ll have to traine hubby to train the dog


Dogs don't need training, it's the people who do! Seriously, dogs know what's expected of them, if they have a strong leader. I can sympathize with you because my husband has no idea how to be a leader. He thinks that because she's small and cute she can be spoiled. My reply is always the same to anyone who thinks she should be spoiled/carried/dressed up SHE'S A DOG!!!

When I walk Shelly, the 20 min walk to and from the park is just that, a walk, or run, with no sniffing and no stopping unless she needs to pee. I love to turn round and watch her because the only thing going through her mind is putting one foot in front of the other. She's in a totally relaxed state, what I call "the zone". This is how dogs should be.
Some dogs are so energetic it's really hard to drain them of energy, I've only managed it with Shelly once. Good luck, if you keep at it and stay positive you'll get there in the end.
Idoru
woundedhealer wrote:

The followers NEVER go in front of the leaders.

Hm, it seems to be quite an undisputible stand. Well, I bow to your opinion there, since I'm not well trained
in the subject. Follow it is another mather, though. Wink
But, truthfully, I most often do it that way, and mabye will see the point in always doing it with more knowledge.

woundedhealer wrote:

I don't see what difference the cats make. You seem to be saying that if the dog followed you out, the cats would follow the dog, so surely you have that problem anyway?

Just for explaining - the cats have had kittens, and they have not learned that they can't go outside. The best
and easiest way of teaching them is physical, and walking out before the dog makes it difficult to grab the
fast little cuties before they've crossed the limit. But, it's a passing situation and we are trying to find a different
sollution.

woundedhealer wrote:

Dogs don't need training, it's the people who do!

Oh, I seriouslly agree!!! Actually, I've noticed that concerning myself with help from our trainer. He stops by once
a week to help us, and the first time I saw him with our dog I didn't belive it was the same dog. Everything worked
much better and it was a joy seeing what I can accomplish if I learn to do it right.
It's all about understanding your dog and learning how to read him/her. By beeing one step ahead it's almost
frigthening how easy the training can become. Very Happy
One thing he said during training was how well it worked for me and the dog when I was lead by the trainer and the dog
by me. Laughing

Anyhow, as you understand we're training, me and the dog, learning by doing and trying to find a way to make
life good and easy for all of us. Interesting discussing with you, I must say, since you seem to know what your
talking about and I agree with the main-point in the philosophy you present. The important thing for me to add is
the individual. Our dog for example didn't grow up under optimal circumstances, and we brought him home when
he was four month's of age. Untill then he hadn't come in contact with many of the things in everyday-life,
so there are unusual obstacles to overcome by enviromental training. We are making progress, but time, patience,
love and knowlege is much needed.
woundedhealer
thealpha wrote:
very interesting topic,
i agree to the author of this post

Thanks, it's something I'm pasionate about. The advantage of applying dog psychology is that you can stop problems before they escalate into something serious. Another advantage is that as well as being able to read your own dog, you can read others also and aviod trouble.

I take my dog to the park most days and a quick look at the other dogs tells me if they are calm, excitable or agressive. Shelly is fine with calm dogs but nervous of excitable ones so try and get her to meet the calm ones. If the excitable dog is focusing on playing ball I know it's not lightly to bother
Shelly so I do walk her fairly near these. There's always going to be the odd agressive dog at the park, so by recognising this potential you can avoid problems.
Tumbleweed
I have a GSP , and I find that repetative interaction works with all training aspects, and twice as fast if you have biscuits Razz , we did ( and still do on occasion ) have problems with the dog pulling on the lead, with our dog it was plain excitement with the prospect of going out walking, as soon as you picked up the lead the dogs attitude changed, we solved the pulling problem by using a choke chain (we did try without the choke chain but found that we were more likely to damage ourselves or the dog as hes a reasonably strong by not using one ) the word "No" and not letting the dog off the lead during walking untill he no longer was pulling.
driftingfe3s
For the original poster, you sound a lot like Cesar Millan. He is a very good and famous dog behavior specialist and has his own show on the National Geographic channel and applies dog psychology. His show is awesome because you can see him help almost every dog he encounters. For those of you who don't think dog psychology works, you should take a look at that show and be amazed.
woundedhealer
driftingfe3s wrote:
For the original poster, you sound a lot like Cesar Millan. He is a very good and famous dog behavior specialist and has his own show on the National Geographic channel and applies dog psychology. His show is awesome because you can see him help almost every dog he encounters. For those of you who don't think dog psychology works, you should take a look at that show and be amazed.


I'll take that as a complement. You've seen for yourself that dog psychology is more effective than actual dog training. I'm in the UK, so I don't get the National Geographic channel. We do get some TV programs about dog training but none are about dog psychology. It's interesting that you use the expression "help almost every dog" because that is exactly what it's all about, helping the dog be what he should be, a well balanced animal, whereas a trainer conditions a dog to react in a certain way to a given command, two entirely different things.

Tumbleweed wrote:
I have a GSP , and I find that repetative interaction works with all training aspects, and twice as fast if you have biscuits , we did ( and still do on occasion ) have problems with the dog pulling on the lead, with our dog it was plain excitement with the prospect of going out walking, as soon as you picked up the lead the dogs attitude changed, we solved the pulling problem by using a choke chain (we did try without the choke chain but found that we were more likely to damage ourselves or the dog as hes a reasonably strong by not using one ) the word "No" and not letting the dog off the lead during walking untill he no longer was pulling.


I prefere not to use food rewards for obedience training as I see it as bribary, although I do use them as payment for the work my dog does as my assistance dog.
If you want your dog to always walk at your side or behind you on a walk, you have to get things right before you even leave the house. A dog should be calm before it's lead is put on. The best way to ensure this is to make him sit down and wait until you are ready for him. He's needs to leave the house calmly, going through the door after you.
A GSD is a powerful dog who needs plenty of excersise and strong leadership. He pulls on the lead because the person holding it is not showing the right leadership qualities. It tends to be a viscious circle, you need to be relaxed but firm, but when a dog starts to pull the person holding the lead get's tense, maybe panics a bit, gets angry or frustrated and all that is transmited to the dog. There is equipment that you can buy to stop the dog from pulling, one of them being a haltie, but I prefer to use dog psychology instead.

Most of the dogs I see are pulling on the lead, even very small ones. This tells me the owner has not got the dog under control so I give them a wide berth to prevent them pulling towards my dog and disrupting our walk.

If you're wondering how effective dog psychology is I can give you an instance where my dog is concerned. Like most people, I'm not always wide awake first thing in the morning. My dog needs three meals a day, the first one being breakfast. If my dog starts barking as I get her food ready, I know the problem is with me, not her. I'm slouching instead of standing tall and I'm not holding my head high. As soon as I've corrected my posture I give her a stern look and she immediately sits down quietly and waits while finish preparing her food, put it down and given her permission to eat.
Tumbleweed
woundedhealer wrote:

If you're wondering how effective dog psychology is I can give you an instance where my dog is concerned. Like most people, I'm not always wide awake first thing in the morning. My dog needs three meals a day, the first one being breakfast. If my dog starts barking as I get her food ready, I know the problem is with me, not her. I'm slouching instead of standing tall and I'm not holding my head high. As soon as I've corrected my posture I give her a stern look and she immediately sits down quietly and waits while finish preparing her food, put it down and given her permission to eat.


So where does common sense end and psychology begin ?

Thats a GSP by the way.
woundedhealer
Tumbleweed wrote:
woundedhealer wrote:

If you're wondering how effective dog psychology is I can give you an instance where my dog is concerned. Like most people, I'm not always wide awake first thing in the morning. My dog needs three meals a day, the first one being breakfast. If my dog starts barking as I get her food ready, I know the problem is with me, not her. I'm slouching instead of standing tall and I'm not holding my head high. As soon as I've corrected my posture I give her a stern look and she immediately sits down quietly and waits while finish preparing her food, put it down and given her permission to eat.


So where does common sense end and psychology begin ?

Thats a GSP by the way.


Psychology is mainly common sense. Take one rule I have in my house. When you're eating you do not look at the dog, you do not talk to the dog, that way the dog doesn't beg for food. That's common sense, it's also dog psychology. The problem is, the majority of dog owners do not treat their dogs as dogs, nor do they apply common sense. Many people treat their dogs like children, many have them as a child substitute. But many children are not treated in the way they should be.

I was talking to a lady recently who had a huge, well-behaved Belgium Shepherd. I wasn't surprised when she told me she applyed dog psychology. During the conversation she told me she treated her children the same way as she treated her dogs. I think she's got it the right way round. Our primorial instinct must be very close to that of a dog.

Dogs have got two lots of instincts, that of it's breed, and primordial instinct. When we're working with a problem dog we have to bypass the breed instinct and tap into the primordial instinct. That makes common sense it's also applying the psychology of a wolf or wild dog.

I think the difference is with psychology we're reading body language to anticipate what a dog is about to do, and if it is undesirable, prevent it from happening. What makes common sense to one person, may not seem like it to another. One person may keep their unruly dog on lead when they are out. Another may work with the dog so there is no longer a problem and the dog is safe to be off-lead in public. Both of these are using their common sense, but only the second one is applying psychology to overcome the problem.

I've never heard of GSP before, I thought it was a misprint for GSD, German Shepherd dog, now I've discovered it stands for German Shorthaired Pointer. At least I got the right country of origin! Smile
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