Tag Archives: dog bite

A happy ending for a little Bichon Frise

27 Nov

A little Bichon Frise got rescued from the Humane Society by a lovely 80 year old gentlemen, his dog had just died.  At the same time, Bob had sold his house and moved in to the Peninsula Club in Whangaparaoa and was allowed to take his little dog with him.

It all got off to a bad start when his little dog flew at another dog and bit him quite badly.

Poor old Bob was horrified and decided that the safest thing to do would be to take the dog back to the Humane Society where he had got him from.

The Humane Society was most reluctant to take him back so Bob decided, the only sensible course of action was to have the dog put down.

One of the nurses at the Village took Bob and the dog to the Vets.  When they walked in there was a gentleman sitting there with his Dachshund.  Bob arranged with the vet nurse to leave his dog and for them to put him down.

Bob was obviously upset so the Nurse from the Village said “come on Bob we will go and have a coffee”.

They drove off and found a café and had been sitting there for ten minutes when the man from the Vets with the Dachshund came over and said “I am so glad we have found you, I would love the little dog you brought in.”  Bob said “Oh no you are too late he has been put down”. The man with the Dachshund said “We are not too late, I asked them to put him on hold until I found you”.

“I really like your little dog and know it would make a great pet for my daughter, could I take him off you?”.

Bob, of course was delighted and said “How did you find me, and what would you have done if you hadn’t found me?”   The gentleman said “I heard you say you were going for a coffee, and I would have gone to every café on the Peninsula until I found you.”

They went back to the Vets, organised the transfer of ownership, and Bob went away a happy man and so did the Bichon Frise.

Sometimes when we have difficult choices to make, we make them and lo and behold they can have the happiest of endings. Talk about serendipity.

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How to have a safe and happy dog

16 Jul

Written by: Annie Aubrey & Amanda Jackson

We recently received a post on our Facebook page which highlighted some common issues we see here in New Zealand.

I tied my dog up outside a shop and saw two women let their very young kids chase around my dog trying to pat her. I said to them three times, please don’t pat her, one of them yelled at me and said they’re not patting her. I said to them my dog is freaking out, can you not see that? They got shitty with me and started yelling they didn’t pat the dog.  Did they not see my dog’s anxious body language? Do I put a sign on my dog saying do not pat me?

We asked our expert, Annie, to put together a response that may help other people avoid this type of stressful situation; we then asked Amanda, our IT person who is a relatively new dog owner, to put the theory into practice and write up how it went.

A calm submissive dog is relaxed and happy

A calm submissive dog is relaxed and happy

As a dog owner, you will at some stage come across people who want to pet your dog when you don’t want them to for whatever reason, so what can you do to:

  • avoid any unpleasantness when you make the request not to touch your dog;
  • ensure your dog will not be aggressive or anxious;
  • ensure your dog is safe and people/other dogs are safe too.

When you understand dog language you know your dog is very intuitive with how you are feeling. Whatever emotion you are in, your dog knows exactly what it is, even if you don’t.

When you are the pack leader your energy is calm assertive, this allows your dog to be in calm-submissive energy.  Calm submissive is the energy your dog is happiest in.

If you are in anything other than calm assertive pack leader energy, your dog will react to it.  If you are feeling anxious your dog may feel anxious, this can escalate into your dog wanting to run away, or into aggression.

When pack leader energy is absent your dog will try to fill the breach. He does not feel safe when the pack leader is absent.  The minute you feel any kind of energy apart from pack leader energy, your dog perceives you to be weak.

When addressing persistent people who want to pet your dog the only thing you have control over is yourself.  Be very aware of your energy and no matter how cross, angry or upset you feel, you must not give in to these feelings, you must pull yourself together; Stop, take a deep breath,  get your breathing under control and feel balance return to your body.

It’s down to you. Your dog expects you to keep him safe.

You do not want your dog to misinterpret your feelings and create a situation that at the least could be unpleasant, and at the worst cause an injury to another person or dog and end with your dog having to be put down.

Be the pack leader!

What is calm assertive (pack-leader) energy and how do you become it?

“This is the energy you project to show your dog you are the calm and assertive pack leader. Note: assertive does not mean angry or aggressive. Calm-assertive means always compassionate, but quietly in control.”
Cesar Milan – http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/basics/glossary-of-terms-from-cesars-way/

It is very important for everybody to be in calm-assertive pack-leader energy around dogs, even children.

When Sam and I go into schools teaching children about dog language, we ask the children who are their heroes and what do they think heroes feel like inside themself? Always, without fail, the answer is: happy, proud, confident and feeling very good within yourself. This is calm-assertive pack-leader energy.

From this space you may not be able to influence unwanted attention to your dog, but you will influence your dog’s behaviour. Your dog will feel safe no matter what is going on when you are the pack leader, your dog can enjoy being in calm-submissive energy.

From pack leader energy comes safety for all,

especially your dog.

Walk your dog on a lead as often as you can, this is where your dog learns to respect and trust you and where you both develop a strong connection with each other.  Your dog will tell you how you are feeling by his behaviour.  Before you start out on your walk, visualise how you want the walk to go, have the thought in your mind of your hero to put you in pack leader energy.  Try it. It’s fun.

If your dog starts pulling on the lead, come back to yourself first and check your energy, if that is all good then check to see if your dog has become distracted and make the correction on your lead to distract him from his focus.   The point of the walk is to have your dog be focused on you, not on other dogs, smells etc…

Sam knows he is working when he is on the lead.  You are aiming for Exercise, Discipline, Affection – in that order.  I will explain more about these three points in another blog post, for the moment just make sure we are all on the same page where discipline in the sense of the walk means giving your dog a job that is not over until the walk is over.  This is healthy for your dog as he gets to exercise his brain at the same time as his body.

How Amanda discovered calm-assertive energy

This task wasn’t as easy to figure out as I first thought, but it was fun figuring it out.

Having to stop and think about what calm-assertive energy is, and how to achieve this state, has made me question the various interactions with my dogs in order to figure out when I naturally achieve this state and how best to always obtain and project this energy when around the doggy duo.

To start with I needed to understand how my energy affects my dogs.

I’ve noticed within our pack of three that the pack energy constantly changes.  Both my boys are very aware of the energy I present to them, so even when I think I’m being calm assertive and in control, if it’s just a show I’m putting on, a mask of sorts, then my dogs are not fooled.  They don’t look at what I’m doing, they don’t understand the words I’m saying, but they do sense what I’m feeling and the energy that goes with it.

For me, calm-assertive is the frame of mind where nothing is bothering me, I’m completely relaxed, totally confident, and proactive instead of reactive in my behaviour and actions.

The best way to explain proactive and reactive would be a driving analogy, say you are driving along and you watch the car in front and you panic break to avoid hitting them when they stop suddenly, that is a reactive behaviour, however, if you are driving along watching the road ahead of the car in front and you see a child run across the road so you slow down before the car in front even reacts, then you are proactively ready for the situation, you have plenty of time to stop and have absolutely no stress and no panic braking.

I noticed that some days a walk with my boys was the easiest thing in the world, they’re completely under control, well behaved and it’s a nice, pleasant walk, then on other days when stressed from work or not feeling very well, even though I pretended to be in control by using a strong voice, the dogs could sense that all was not well and they played up, pulled on the lead, and generally made life difficult, which made me more stressed and them more naughty in an ever increasing vicious circle of naughtiness and bad mood.  I also noticed when in this frame of mind that one of my boys became aggressive on the lead, when normally both my boys are the friendliest dogs on the planet, this is how I realised that I was no longer in charge and that it is my job to protect my boys.

I converted the idea of proactive and reactive behaviour into a method to use when walking the dogs, so even if I’m stressed I can still manage a nice, calm walk by proactively preparing before we even set off out the door.  By always watching ahead to get an idea of what may be coming up, or by knowing that at a certain spot my beagles always behave a certain way,  I can pre-empt and prevent issues from occurring. For example, by spotting a piece of food on the ground that someone has thrown away, I can give the discarded food plenty of space to avoid a food possessed beagle lunge and potentially dislocated shoulder, or sometimes I distract them with a fun command to complete whilst walking past the food, such as walking to heel whilst touching my fingers with their nose.   By being proactive this helps me retain a calm, stress free frame of mind, which in turn ensures I project a calm assertive pack leader energy to my boys.

Our dogs sense when we’re not in control of our emotions and are not fooled.

You can be upset, you can be stressed, however do not relate to your dog when you feel anything other than emotionally balanced.

Only humans will follow unstable pack leaders,
dogs and other pack animals will not.

Further Reading
http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-information/cesar-millan-dog-whisperer/article_energy.aspx
http://timrosanelli.blogspot.co.nz/2008/05/lessons-about-life-from-dog-whisper.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_5058593_calm-dog-doesnt-come-naturally.html
http://eadarian.com/tag/calm-assertive-energy/
http://www.naturaldogblog.com/blog/2007/07/dog-training-calm-assertive-relaxed-be-the-moose/
http://urban-k9.com/?page_id=68

Coming soon… Exercise, Discipline, Affection – three things your dog needs, and needs in that order.

11,708 reported dog attacks on New Zealanders last year!*

17 Jun
Annie, Sam and Kids - Sam's Dog Rules - No Look, No Talk, No Touch

Sam holding court

*NZ ACC – NZ Herald – 25 January 2012

With a New Zealand average of more than 30 dog bites per day, Annie and Marj, founders of Sam’s Dog Rules, passionately believe there is an urgent need for Sam’s Dog Rules education to be made available to all New Zealand children and families.

A lack of knowledge of the language that dogs understand and respond to has led to significant levels of trauma in the lives of children in New Zealand, and brought about the unnecessary destruction of thousands of dogs, that could otherwise have been avoided.

Sam’s Dog Rules will make a difference!

Sam's Dog Rules - No Look, No Talk, No Touch

Practising No Look! means Sam feels safe to check you out.

Sam's Dog Rules - No Look, No Talk, No Touch

Practising No Look, No Talk, No Touch rules

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