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    the command 'settle'

    What do we do when our dog is barking up a tree (metaphorically speaking)?

    I was having a chat with someone at my store recently and I asked this person what her goals were for training her pup.  Among them were 'sit', 'stay', 'come', 'down', and 'settle'.

    This got me thinking a whole lot about 'settle'.  The moment we need to use this command we're reacting to the environment, instead of managing our environment.  Further, our dog will undoubtedly be exhibiting some type of undesired behaviour... he'll be in a frenzied state of excitement/anxiousness/nervousness, etc.

    In this scenario we need to act swiftly and calmly to take control of the situation... but we need to do this from our dog's perspective.  Remember this - words do not make sense to your dog!

    This type of scenario happens often for dog owners, but I don't necessarily think that using a verbal command (alone) is the wisest method of dealing with it.  When our dogs are excited they rarely listen to our words, giving them little to no power to control the situation.  Moreover, our words can often exacerbate their excitement, rippling even more undesired behaviour.

    The root of my dog parenting strategy is to keep dogs in a state of calmness.  It’s much easier to manage nature when it’s calm.  If our dogs are always calm, then we never need to use the command 'settle'.  When our dogs know that we're the leaders, and that we have control of the environment they’ll feel much safer and trusting.

    If we put in the effort to discipline our dog's mind, then a simple 'No', followed by 'sit' or 'down' and ‘stay’ will almost always do the trick.

    However, in instances where our dogs are extremely excited our words have even less power.  In these scenarios I believe that actions speak much louder than words.  This is true in the human world, but it's also true in the animal kingdom.   Therefore, my solution becomes a little more hands on.

    Language in the animal kingdom is non-verbal.

    When our bodies are in between the object that’s exciting our dog and our dog, then our dog innately understands that we are trying to tell him ‘I’m in charge’.   The success of our actions depend on what we do next, our sate of mind and our skill.  Please make sure your safety is always a priority.

    The language of the animal kingdom depends largely on: a) our bodies, their energy, and their position in space, b) the relationship of where our bodies are relative to the other subjects and objects in the environment, c) and what we’re doing  (saying) with our bodies.

    Expect to see more blog entries how we can apply the language of the animal kingdom to communicate with our dogs, and why it’s so much more effective than words.


    Our role as dog parents

    Every day I reflect on the role that humans play in the animal kingdom.

    From our dog's perspective, they see us a species that controls nearly every aspect of their lives.  We tell them what to eat, when to eat, where to sleep, where to live, who their new family is, etc.  I often wonder how mindful we are of this.

    We take them from their true family at a young age and raise them in our mysterious world...a world that makes sense to humans but is very confusing to other animals.

    They can see that we speak a sophisticated verbal language to our own kind, yet we have a very unsophisticated way of communicating with them.  From this point of view, it's easy to see that the world we bring them into is chaotic, stressful, and filled with anxiety.  And we wonder why so many dogs are anxious...

    Our role is to parent them.  To bridge the gap for them... to enlighten them about the nuances of our world and ensure them that they're safe in it.  Our role is to nurture them to be calm, respectful, joyful, and fulfilled.  These are things that require selfless parenting, tough love, and putting our pet's needs above ours.



    I don't speak anything that humans speak!

    I sometimes think I understand a word or two my dad says... but in general, i think i just get really lucky and that's why he gives me treats and praise.

    I speak the universal language.  You know... the one that involves eye-contact, lack of eye-contact, body position and energy.  It's so much simpler and every other creature on the planet seems to understand it.

    Sometimes I think humans are a little silly.  They definitely have lots of silly emotions.

    My dad says he's going to make a few posts on this language... but he's having a busy day at work so hopefully he gets around to it soon.