Tag Archives: pet dog

Christmas through a Dog’s eyes

7 Jan

Christmas through the eyes of Sam’s friend GrizzGrizz Ready for Christmas

How exciting, Grizz jumped out of the truck and raced up the path, he was at his friend Toyer’s house.

Hey something looked different here, what were all those trees doing in the house?   Not one Christmas tree but eight Christmas trees, now what do dogs usually do on trees?

Aunty Sue would not like that, so Grizz raced on.

He and Toyer raced around the pool and wished each other a Happy Christmas.

Then it was “present time”.

Grandad Graeme was handing out coloured stockings to all the grandchildren.  Now last year Grizz knew that he got a stocking with GRIZZ on the top, and it was full of goodies to eat and play with, so he lined up too.

When he was handed his stocking, Grizz picked it up in his teeth and raced over to his Pack Leader Dean.

Grizz' Christmas StockingWow, all the goodies that dropped out of it, he even shared a pig’s ear with Toyer, what a party they had out on the deck.

Grizz knew he should stay outside, but with all these little people at the table, and lots of bits of meat being dropped for him, he had a very yummy Christmas dinner.

He lay down later feeling very full and satisfied “BOY THIS IS JUST THE IDEAL DOG’S CHRISTMAS” he thought, as he dropped off to sleep dreaming about ham bones and Christmas stockings.  And perhaps next year he can share some presents with Sam.

Sam, Annie and Plato have been busy shifting house!

19 Nov

Sam’s finally shifted house with Annie and Plato.

The shift went really well because Annie made sure that the whole process was calm and relaxed. She was lucky because she had weeks to pack and get it all done in a nice leisurely manner so all we really noticed was the house getting smaller and smaller.   We did get a bit concerned in the last week, when Annie’s bed was gone, with everything else and all that was left was the couch and a bit of kitchen stuff.  For the last week we all slept in the lounge (Annie was on the couch), it was like camping out.  We all knew something was up with these actions.

Annie tried to keep everything as normal as possible, we still went for our walks, we went to work, I had my meals at my usual time.  I was put out at night at my usual time so I felt safe with the familiarity of it all, and so did Plato.

When we got to our new address, both Plato and I settled in like we had always lived there.  Annie did get a Feliway from the Vets.  This is a PLUG IN put straight into the power point and it releases pheromones that cats love.  This made Plato feel at home straight away.

Mandy and Mark, where we are staying are good Pack Leaders, but Plato is Mandy’s and Mark’s Pack Leader.  Every time he goes into the kitchen he chats away and Mandy feeds him, bits of bacon, bits of chicken, bits of beef.  He thinks he’s in cat heaven, because Annie is a vegetarian and we don’t get treats like that.

I will let you know when we find our new permanent home and in the meantime we love living here!

You have decided to get a dog, now what?

31 Oct

You have sat down as a family and decided why you want a dog and what type of energy your dog should have in order to suit your family.

The next step is to sit down as a family and decide on the rules, boundaries and limitations that you will have for the new dog. This is something you must all agree on, otherwise you will cause the new addition to your family to become confused.

Family Dog

Family Dog (Photo credit: Richard Elzey – Flickr)

But sometimes things don’t go according to plan. One situation that can occur, is that one family member will come home one day with a dog. Whether by choice, or because it had been abandoned and they felt sorry for it. The problem with this is that more often than not it ends up becoming Mum’s responsibility. I am sure you would’ve heard stories like this before.

But what happens if Mum did not want a dog?

This could be disastrous for not only the family but for the dog as well.  Mum will take care of it, as you know she will. But if this isn’t a pleasure for her, the dog will feel it and he will never feel safe with her. Mum’s energy could be resentful, angry, or just plain resignation.  none of these energies are pack leader energy and your dog will recognise this.  The dog will never willingly follow her instructions, and this will be a point of contention not only for the prime care giver, but for the whole family. In this situation, establishing rules and boundaries becomes even more important.

What to do if you bring a dog home out of the blue

If you do bring home a dog out of the blue, the smart move is to engage the whole family to take responsibility for the dog, there is a saying,  “If Mum’s happy, the family’s happy”.

This means that you need to decide on rules and boundaries for your dog regardless of whether you planned to get him, or it occurred out of the blue.

First of all, you need to decide what is appropriate for your family

  • Do you allow the dog to sleep on the beds?
  • If the dog isn’t allowed to sleep in the beds where will he sleep?
  • Do you all share responsibility for walking the dog?
  • Does the whole family take turns in feeding your dog? Or would you prefer to have one person be responsible for this?
  • Maybe you have a small dog and want him to sit on your knee. But don’t want him to think he ‘owns’ the couch? You need to make sure your dog understands that it isn’t his right to be on the couch, and that he can only come up when invited.
  • When your dog is new to the family who will take responsibility for toilet training?

These are just some examples of the rules you will need to consider when introducing a new dog to your family.

In addition to deciding on the rules, you need to consistently enforce them. There will of course be times when these rules boundaries and limitations will not be enforced for whatever reasons. The key to this, once again is your energy.  As long as you are able to maintain Pack Leader energy your dog will not question the change in plan, nor will it try take advantage of it. When the whole family relates to your dog from this energy perspective your dog will always trust and respect you.

When the whole family become your dog’s Pack Leader your dog will show you a more calm respectful, trusting energy. In addition to this, from working as a team the family will find a new way to connect with each other.

And these are only some of the rewards that can come as a result of having a dog in your family.

Sam’s August Newsletter

6 Aug

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

Written by: Marj Mulholland

Sam says, “I  told you in July that on Wednesday 20 June I went into DOGGY HOSPITAL and had a really big Lymphoma (that means a fatty lump) removed from my side.  You won’t believe it, but Annie made me wear “human” t-shirts every day, so that I would not lick my wound.   I looked like a crazy dog, you would have laughed at me.     I have had seven weeks of just lying around and I got so bored, hardly any visitors and no children to pat me.   But now I am going on long walks again with Annie, it is so exciting to smell different things and meet other dogs and people on my walks.   Next week I am going to Torbay Kindergarten and am so looking forward to listening to Annie telling the children how to be safe around dogs, and when we go to Green Bay Primary I get to go over the Harbour Bridge, I can’t wait, it’s so high up and such a great view.  I would like to walk over the HarbourBridge but Annie says “dogs have to go in cars or trucks – I wonder if I can talk to the Mayor about that?  See you soon when I come to your school”. 

!WOOF!

ANNIE SAYS

This term we are going to Green Bay Primary School, which is over by Titirangi, and also we are going to see all the lovely kids and teachers at Torbay Kindergarten.   Sam is really looking forward to getting out meeting all the kids again, he was getting really bored sitting at home.   As well as the visits we have lined up, a new post is underway which should give all dog owners out there a few more tools to help keep their pack happy and healthy.

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

This section of my newsletter usually has lots of names of schools and children that I have visited – but with having my operation, I have lain on my bed and in the sun and very gradually started going on walks again with Annie.    BOOOOORRRRRRING   !!!!!!!     This week has been getting better though as I’ve been getting some extra walks with my beagle friends from next door.   We do lots of sniffing.  They sniff A LOT!     I have been so bored laying on my bed that I wrote you all a poem:

When I was ill,

Annie made me lie still

Annie even gave me a pill…..Yuk!!!!!

But now I am better

I can write this newsletter

I’m coming to see you, don’t you forgetter!

Thanks for the doggy get well cards.

If you want me to come to your school contact Annie my Pack Leader.

See you next month….    

Write to me or send me questions at sam@samsdogrules.com

WOOF!

Sam's Dog Rules

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.

%d bloggers like this: