My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

Use the tabs above for quick navigation. I have imbedded links for as much as possible so that you can find the resources easily from this blog. The links in the side bar are for websites that have been helpful to me. I hope that you find them useful for you and your canine "family member"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Working on "calm"

Since reading Suzanne Clothier's book on teaching your dog "Self Control" I've really been working on reinforcing a "calm" state with the dogs. I was about to say especially - Shelby, but realized that was not fair. In being more observant lately I have noticed that although Nutmeg does not whine or show her general state so obviously she is often just as wound or agitated. She'll play the submissive card overly easy, or she'll sit perfectly still but her muscles will be twitching hard from her shoulders to her back legs. Although more subtle this still represents a more "reactive" state.

To redirect them or help to calm them I have been using "the ignore" a lot. This morning though it didn't seem to help so I sent them outside and played fetch with them. We then came inside and tried again.

I suppose I should mention what we were trying to do in the first place. It was breakfast time, as always they had run to their bed in the kitchen and dropped into "down stays" waiting for me to serve up their food and "release" them to eat. Now some of you may be thinking - well of course they're excited and anxious, it's time to eat. My thought was this. If I want to foster "calm" than rewarding their over reactive state, with something as huge as breakfast, would not have been ideal.

My efforts payed off! It was dog class today and the ride over had far less whining to suffer through. There class went much better than last week. Shelby was completely focused on my husband and Nutmeg was completely keyed into my commands as well.

It's amazing how perceptive dogs are!! I've also become more aware of subtle changes in them and this has proved invaluable. To those of you with "reactive dogs" my challenge to you - that I challenge myself with every day - is to see them more as "highly perceptive dogs" and realize that they are only mirroring you!!

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