Welcome to the November edition of the Gentle Modern School News!
Amanda, Rodna, David & Ruth Gentle Modern School of Dog Training
Top Tip 1
Do you followGMSDT's Facebook page? We share weekly dog care and training tips and guides. Recently we shared an idea of US trainerMarilyn Mele's that could change the way you think about dog training:Think of the behaviour you want from your dog as a seedling.
Everyone knows a seedling needs nurturing and support, so if four paws on the floor (wanted behaviour) rather than jumping (unwanted behaviour) is the seedling, you would:
Protect it- Avoid the situations where the unwanted behaviour has been happening, e.g. scatter food when you arrive home so your dog's excitement is redirected to the floor, away from you.
Feed it- Encourage the wanted behaviour by paying attention and rewarding (praise, pats, play, a treat, etc - match the reward to what your dog really enjoys) it.
Watch over it- Don't put your dog in situations where jumping is almost inevitable.
Celebrate it- Especially celebrate the moments your dog clearly stops himself from jumping.
Marilyn encourages us to "name your seedling". So in this example, the 'name' might literally be 'four-on-the- floor': "Fido, great 'four on the floor'. Good dog! (with a smile in your tone :-)"
Here's Marilyn's process for planting the seedling. Consider:
> What behaviour will you nurture?
> What does it look like?
> When is it most likely to happen?
> How will you capture it?
> What do the rewards look like?
What seedling do you want to plant?
Top Tip 2
I enjoyed a tour ofThe Happy Dog Hubgrooming and wellness centre recently with Dr Lucie Bland, Play+Train member and the Hub's Remedial/Rehabilitation/Relaxation massage and Reiki specialist. During our discussion on pain and discomfort's influence on behaviour and training response, Lucie highlighted the example of a dog who refuses to get into and/or out of a car and has to be lifted; thatreluctance may have at its root a pain issue. It's always wise to consider potential medical issues when we seek to change behaviour.
Another excellent body language resource this month; Just a Whisper: The Early Signs of Fear in Dog Body Languageby Eileen Anderson
"It’s pretty easy to recognize intense fear in dogs. A tucked tail, crouching, panting, a tight mouth and wrinkled forehead, shrinking away. But [there are] early signs. The whispers . . . that precede the “shouts” that come later if we don’t heed the early warnings. I caught a “whisper” on camera."
Dogs in the news
Pet parenting style influences dog behavior
A study by Oregon State University USA (published in the journal Animal Cognition) has found:
"Dogs with owners who have high expectations and are highly responsive to their dog’s behavior and needs are more social, more secure when away from their owners and more persistent problem solvers . . . 'We found that pet parenting style does predict patterns of dog behavior and cognition,' said Monique Udell, an associate professor at Oregon State and an expert on dog behavior. 'This an important finding because it suggests that dog owners who take the time to understand and meet their dog’s needs are more likely to end up with secure, resilient dogs'.”
Would you believe it's time to think about Christmas gift-giving!?!
Do you have board game enthusiasts who are also dog lovers in your life? (maybe it's you :-) Dog Park, a board game about walking dogs devised by Lottie and Jack Hazell, may be just the gift idea. According to Australian Dog Lover, "In Dog Park, you and your friends will take on the role of dog walkers recruiting, walking, and caring for your dogs over four rounds. In each round, you will journey through the Dog Park with your pups to collect resources, earn reputation, and interact with your fellow walkers."