Wednesday, 27 January 2016

DOES YOUR DOG LOVE YOU?

At the start of each of my training courses I frequently tell my clients that their dogs dont love them and that all they are doing is satisfying their basic needs. The need for companionship, food, water, exercise and play. I tell them that if someone else was to come along and offer their dogs these things then their dogs wold go with them. I then usually make an example of this by calling one of their dogs over to me with the promise of a nice piece of cocktail sausage. It always works, what dog can refuse a nice piece of cocktail sausage. So I was intrigued to come across an article which suggested that dogs can indeed declare their love for their humans by displaying certain actions. This is a summary of the article and the points highlighted.

So I thought I would share an article I read recently that was extracted from an interview by “60 minutes” Anderson Cooper and Brian Hare supposedly a well know Dog expert. In the interview they were discussing how dogs express love.

According to Hare;

  1. According to Hare when a dog looks you in the eye he is “hugging you with his eyes”. He explains further that when a dog looks at you whilst the two of you are playing with one another, oxytocin is released. Its the same hormone that helps new  mothers bond with their babies. 
  2. A study found that when humans echo another yawn, its because their empathetic, like sympathy pains.Its impossible to measure if dogs are empathetic, but its possible that a dog yawning the same time as a human happens because the dog has bonded with the human.
  3. Sometimes a dog will lean on a human because he is anxious, wants you to do something, or take him somewhere. But leaning is also a symbol of affection. 
  4. Most dog lovers know that pups are motivated by food. But according to Berns, once a dog eats all its food, his next action can signify whats most important to him besides eating. If after a meal he snuggles up to you there is definitely some puppy love going on.
  5. When you leave your dog to go out it will sometimes panic. this is usually down to separation anxiety. But according to Bern if your dog goes into his crate or is accepting of you leaving i.e, they are clam when you leave, it means your dog loves and trusts you and is confident you will come back to him.
  6. If a dog wants to sleep in your bed its a definite sign your dog loves you according to Hare. This is a sign he does not want to be separated from the pack.
  7. If your dog brings you his favourite toy it doesn’t just mean your dog wants to play. It also means he thinks of you as his pack leader. He wants to please you as the pack leader by offering you his most prized possession. 

There are a couple of other examples but you get the idea.
I would like to offer an alternative reason for these actions above.

  1. When a dog looks into your eyes its because he is waiting to see whats happening next. Are you going to satisfy his basic needs. Food, Water, exercise, play or let me out to do my business. Its not love its because your dog wants something.
  2. dogs are great at mimicking and learn all sorts of things from living with humans. We teach them to give a paw, roll over, wash their faces, all sorts of neat tricks. Yawning is just another trick to them. Something they copy and wait for a reward. There is no scientific evidence to support yawning is empathetic in dogs and its just wishful thinking.
  3. My dog Star leans on me when I am at home. she does it because she wants me to get up off the sofa and play with her. She is demanding my attention in the most submissive way. 
  4. After eating their meals my dogs come to me and give me lots of attention. Mostly because they have a routine in that when they’ve eaten they get out to go and do their business.
  5. There are two things a dog will do when you leave them to go out. Resign themselves to some alone time, go to their beds and lie down for a nap. Or they will panic and take it out on the furniture or other personal object that you stupidly left lying out. It has nothing to do with trust or love. Dogs either resign themselves to the fact that you are off to work or they don’t. Its a routine which they follow everyday, like all their other routines.
  6. I love this one where dogs show you how much they love you by wanting to sleep on your bed. Off course they want to sleep on your bed. Its warm because you’ve just left it and its cosy. If I had a choice I would stay in it and not get up and go to work. The dog doesn’t love you it loves your bed.
  7. Again our star brings me her favourite toy every night when I sit down to watch TV. In fact she brings me very toy lying around every night, one after another. She does this because she wants me to throw it for her and interact with her. She has been lying all day whilst I was at work and now she’s full of life and needing attention and play time. she doesn’t care whether its a toy, a shoe or a rag. anything just to get me to move and interact with her.


In my opinion all too often we manifest our own feelings onto our dogs and confuse their actions. We want to imagine that they are showing us how much they love us when in fact what they are really doing is showing us how much they have adapted their basic wolf like skills over thousands of years to communicate with their human pack leaders of what it is they want or need at that moment. And it mostly boils down to satisfying basic needs. I love my dogs and whilst I satisfy their needs and show them love and attention they choose to stay and live with me, that is all. If someone else was to come along and offer them the same thing only better they would be off in a flash.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

RISK TAKERS

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's, or even maybe the early 70's probably shouldn't have survived.
Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.)
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.  Horrors!
We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.  We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.  After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on.  No one was able to reach us all day.  No cell phones.  Unthinkable!
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms.  We had friends!  We went outside and found them.  We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt.
We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.  They were accidents.  No one was to blame but us.  Remember accidents?
We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.  Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.
Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.  Horrors!  Tests were not adjusted for any reason.
Our actions were our own.  Consequences were expected.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of.  They actually sided with the law.  Imagine that!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever.  The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.  We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.  And you're one of them!
Congratulations!
Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives for our own good....
Doesn't it kind of make you want to run through the house with scissors?

Sunday, 3 January 2016

DOMESTICATION OF THE WOLF

By the stoneage some 14'000 years ago, man had developed close social interactions with dogs. Some of the benefits that dogs provided were recognised and exploited by those early hunter gatherers. In order to get these dogs to assist in guarding, hunting and killing prey, some form of training involving  an 'agreement' or 'pact' between man and dog would have to have been made. This pact would take the form that says if you do this you will be rewarded by that. To think this is probably when positive reinforcement training first started out. Dogs as a species have been by mans side side for more than 14'000 years. It is not beyond reasoning to think that it was the dog who helped man conquer earth and make it into the world we have today. No other species has evolved quite in this way. Although the earliest archaeological records indicated the earliest remains of dogs at 14'000 years. Molecular genetical analyses has been carried out in the United States of America to suggest that the effort to domesticate dogs as a species from wolves could date back more than 100'000 years. Three wolf species have been identified as possible relatives to the domestic dog. The Indian wolf, The Chinese wolf and the Asiatic wolf.

HOW EARLY CAN I START TRAINING?

The ‘Socialisation period’ lasts from week 3 of your puppy's life to week 12. At no other time in the dogs life is he more receptive to training based on affection and reward. Early behavioural training can ‘inoculate’ dogs against many adult dog behaviour problems such as hyperactivity, excessive fearfulness, aggression, separation anxiety and general disobedience.
Its never to early to start your puppy in training or taking training classes.