Better communication with owners = better communication with other dogs.

Often my clients feel some resistance when it comes to crates.
 
We make a deal, while we work together lets lean on them and see how it goes,
 
If at the end you still don’t like them you can pack them up and sell them off.
 
They agree, and what happens every time?
 
They leave them up and their dogs often take themselves into their crates when they are tired,
 
Overwhelmed by too many people and need a break, or just some where they enjoy being.
 
It’s lovely to see them find comfort in something outside of their owner where they can feel safe and secure everyone needs and deserve that kind of space in their lives.
 
But what I really wanted to talk about with this photo and conversation between myself and my client is this.
 
Both dogs have never really been this close to another, in fac both of them really like their own space, but here we see them by choice cramping themselves into the same crate, leaving for a bit of a bird chase then back to the same crate again.
 
One of these dogs was often escaping his yard to simply go sleep in the neighbours cars.. yep, not a joke he wasn’t up for a wonder as much as he wanted some time out and some peace and quiet, we debated whether or not it was because the dog he lived with at the time was a lot more boisterous then he was.
 
However when you compare these two Lupin (chocolate lab) is more extroverted than Gus and used to over shadow Gus a lot and he would be unconsciously pushed into the background just because he couldn’t be bothered to try and compete and seemed content with things
 
But really there was a lot of underlying tension going on with these guys, not just towards each other but life in general, the communication within the whole family was a bit all over the place.
 
When I first start working with people, the first thing we have to do is start untangling the web of what each dog and person is really trying to say and do, break it down, simplify things a little more, help owners see and understand where the communication break downs are happening, help them read their dogs better, and understand what they are trying to “say” ask for, or show what they need.
 
Owners quickly start to realise that their dogs really do want to do the right things by their family, they just don’t know how, I love the moment where owners can really see when their dogs just simply don’t understand what’s being asked of them.
 
And as communication grows and develops between people and dogs, naturally dogs become a lot better at communicating and bonding with one another, they are carrying less tension, more confident to express themselves in healthier ways, feel through their emotions without their emotions getting “too big” and over riding their abilities, moving from instincts into thinking takes time and skill building for us as well as dogs, and their owners are better equipped to guide them through situations they may still not quite know or understand how to navigate.
 
I have worked with a lot of dogs who haven’t even been able to be around other dogs, and then they can, because I work on the communication with the people and dogs FIRST because if you can’t give your dog feedback and have him listen in situations where his emotions may have elevated, how on earth are you going to help him move through a social situation with another dog.
 
These guys have never hated each other or struggled with one another to where being around one another was dangerous or unhealthy, but they have never been this close before until now, as their relationships with their humans grow and improve so does their relationships with one another and I gotta say it’s one of the sweetest updates I have been given yet.
 
They have had a couple of hiccups recently with a recent move of house, exciting times but can also unsettle dogs, their owners reached out and said heres whats happening, and not what should we do but and heres how we dealt with it.
 
They were equipped and able to find the answers imedietely and they were just double checking that they were going about it the right way, and they couldn’t have handled the moving hiccups any better than they did.
 
And they did that ALL by themselves.
 
So when I ask what is life going to look like for the next 14 years with your dog, I don’t just mean day to day stuff, I’m also talking about when things change, moves, vacations, births and deaths.
 
Our lives never stay the same and I’m glad one of the biggest things I can help my clients with is knowing and confidentially dealing with and moving through those times of being unsettled, and they know it’s not a step backward or a sign everything is falling apart, it becomes a test to see just how far they have come.
 
And with this recent move and the dogs having some unsettled feels about it they are able to take comfort in one another which previously would not have been a thing.
 
Its so flipping beautiful to see.

Dog Body Language

Learning dog body language.
 
Can be an absolute waste of time.
 
Often people suggest to me I should teach more about dog body language to make things easier for them and others.
 
Their theory is if they can read dogs body language then they will have a better understanding of what the problem is and have an easier time identify when its happening and fixing it.
 
First thing, even when you are able to recognize the issue and pin point when it’s happening if you don’t have the correct foundation and tools to fix the problem then all you have is knowing the problem and having the frustration of not knowing how to fix it.
 
How do I know this?
 
Because I myself made this mistake, don’t think I’m planning on sitting here being holy than thou I know better and you all suck, that is not the case, most of what I know about what doesn’t work or isn’t the main thing you should be spending energy on is because I have made the mistake myself and watch many others do the same.
 
Second thing is, every dog is different, every breed has a different way of going about things and feel emotions at different intensities they are driven by different things, within that every dog even when you put the same breed side by side is unique in there own ways.
 
Can knowing body language be useful? Absolutely!
 
but studying it as a whole, just to apply it back to one dog is a huge thing to spend your precious time on, I see you, I know how busy you are.
 
So let me tell you, you don’t need to study it to get better at reading your dog.
 
Imagine if you studied human body language in your culture, and then you went and visited a completely other culture even knowing there language well, some of their mannerisms and the way they interact and show their emotions is going to be different, its not going to be your “normal”
 
All that studying would then be a waste of time yeah?
 
We aren’t about wasting your time, what you need is to be given information that is direct, to the point, helpful and a good use of the time spent with your dog.
 
So instead of thinking about if you knew dog body language more things would be easier.
 
Think of it this way, if you had the skills to better at LISTENING to your dog, to show him he is heard and you are willing and able to respond accordingly and know how to lay things out for him that he can have a much easier time learning, understanding and responding to you, that’s going to bring you closer to the solution than learning about dog body language ever will, understanding your dogs body language better is a result of doing the work, not the reason why the work we get our clients to do works.
 
Being a better communicator with dogs and people as well isn’t about learning to read them better it’s about learning how to be a better listening and how to act accordingly.
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Reactivity – the power of understanding pressure.

It’s hard to believe I picked this big girl up just a week ago and two days prior she had to be sedated the night before AND the morning of to be able to go to the vets without her losing her cool,

At people and dogs.

Callie is our latest Board and Train and a really special one at that,

she currently doesn’t have a home (HINT HINT 😉) and without our help she wouldn’t have had a chance in gaining one given her very serious reactivity issues.

This is her yesterday, in the middle of petstock loving life as she gets thoroughly blow dried.

Hannah and I were almost gagging at the smell of her, I can’t imagine just how uncomfortable she was feeling before the soak and treatment she got for the yeast that been hanging out in those rolls of her.

I was fully prepared not to be able to do this with her and have to walk out before being able to get her into the hydro bath.

I’ve picked my groomer for this very reason, she gets it that some dogs can only handle so much and pushing based that point can have the complete opposite effect.

Even if it just means showing up and standing around for 5 minutes then leaving, that’s better than not going at all, that’s better than causing a bad experience and escalating behaviours.

And it’s exactly why it went so well.

There wasn’t any pressure, any expectation of what Callie HAD to do, it was all based on what she would allow us to do.

On her being willing to follow my lead and trust that I had her back that she didn’t need to hate on everyone and everything around her to protect herself.

Don’t get me wrong, she didn’t sail through the process like this the entire time, she is food mad and she wouldn’t take treats so her stress levels were super clear, she growled and barked at one man but followed me and calmed down super quick, while we were walking her around letting her treatment soak, and a pile of cans in the aisle that she found to be a little scary. She allowed staff to come up and pat her.

Despite how she was feeling she was willing and able to trust Hannah and I, allow us to wash her, soak her, blow dry her AND clip her nails. Really Hannah did all the work, I just made it look like I was working just as hard haha
I’ll remind you again this same dog had to be sedated a week ago for everyone’s safety

and I am all for safety as I said if needed I would have bailed on the grooming session if she couldn’t handle it but she so needed it, and I knew she would feel sooo much better afterwards.

I was so happy with this outcome.

It was made possible with the right structure, the right communication, I was able to check in with Callie when she needed it, help her move through things that were hard, and we were able to take pressure off of her by taking our time and doing things she was able to show us she was fairly comfortable with.

Hannah and I are a great team with these types of dogs it’s only because we get that when we put pressure on a dog when they are already feeling pressure from outside sourcing that we can’t control –

Strangers, other dogs and animals, the wind blowing etc
It makes it even harder for the dog to cope with the situation.

Time, structure, guidance and trust building all made this possible and I can’t wait to see where this dogs at in a couple more weeks time.

The best part to all of this?

None of the work is complicated, it’s not something only a dog trainer can do and it’s going to take hours out of your day to train.

I get my clients working no more than 5 minutes per day and I remind them to have a “couple of days off” to step back and refresh themselves from the work.

Board and Trains make the process go just a little faster but

it’s something any owner can do for and with their dog, you just need to know how.

 

Kids and Dogs

There has been a lot of traction and talk and knowledge and training around safety with kids and dogs, bite prevention etc

I haven’t bothered to mention it on here because well, I figure I will probably sound like a broken record.

You know how to teach your kids not to be assholes to dogs, that stuff toys are for squeezing jumping on and pulling ears, tails etc

Living breathing animals need and deserve respect, care and a gentle approach.

So what does it look like when your dog(s) has a really healthy relationship with your kid(s)?

I was thinking about this yesterday as I was hanging out the washing, I wish I had of had my phone on me because it was such a sweet moment I wanted to share.

I have two beautiful kids Mason 5, Eleanor 3, Eleanor came outside with me and sat on the grass to watch me, after trying to “help” me and it just wasn’t working out.

Jax our Staffy came over and sat on her lap, she has just been learning about where dogs love to be scratched the most, so as soon as she sits, he knows he is in for a treat.

They were both calmly enjoying each other’s company when Bundy came to join them laying beside her and placing is head on the other leg Jax hadn’t plonked his big butt on and she started scratching him behind the ears.

No in your face business, no over excitement, no being too rough or worrying that one may upset the other, no over excitement I got to hang out the washing in peace and both dogs and child got to plug in and connect with someone else.

Never underestimate how powerful connecting through touch really is.

My kids also play with the dogs, one of there favourite games is chasey, were they run and Jax plods behind them knowing he could easily catch up to them but is enjoying just being in the moment with them.

Or fetch where the dogs will patiently sit there and wait for the dogs to throw the ball, they have been taught not to taunt or tease the dogs with the toy and to play by the rules both dogs and kids have been taught or they just simply aren’t allowed to play.

Because they can play together well, hang out quietly and calmly well, or sometimes completely ignore one another and go about their business, my kids can freely come in and out of the house, yes I check on them but with 2 kids, 2 dogs and a busy schedule running a biz etc I don’t always have the time to sit and watch every thing they do, if I did have to do that, my kids wouldn’t get to spend as much time outside.

Now I’m not saying any of this to say through your kids outside unsupervised and she’ll be right.

A lot of work went into both kids and dogs to achieve this dynamic and I am so thankful for it.

Running a business takes up a lot of time and I don’t always have the time or energy to exercise the dogs the way I would love to,

In fact you may have noticed I have been pretty quiet recently, and it’s because I have been struggling with chronic pain issues just recently I was stuck in bed for three weeks.

Thank goodness I have incredible clients who were still learning, working and making progress even with me being bed bound you guys are rockstars.

And I’m on the way to recovery.

But I have also been incredibly grateful that the kids can help me out by playing with the dogs and spending time with them, which relieves so much stress from myself and the guilt of “not doing enough”

It was hard work to get the structures and foundation in for both kids and dogs but in the bigger picture of things is has made my life easier.

The best part is the older they get the more that they can do with the dog, wearing them both out so if I’m tired or just wanting to chill I can enjoy them both in their quieter moments.

because sometimes we want to muck around and play with our kids and dogs and sometimes we have had a big day and our body is asking for rest, and every mumma is more than deserving of some down time.

especially you.

If you have kids especially of primary school age but you aren’t taking advantage of how much they can actually help you out with your dog(s) we should definitely have a chat x

 

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Dog training not just for the Albury Wodonga area

Location, location, location.

Is not everything.

We often get asked where we are located which I am always more than happy to share, we are located on the border of NSW and VIC residing on the Albury side.

HOWEVER

We have clients spread all over this beautiful country.

Funny story one of my clients regularly dropped her dog off two houses up from mine, we worked through all hers and her dogs issues and met for the first time at our first retreat 5 hours away in Phillip Island.

ahhh I love our retreats, take me back…

anyway!

We have clients who live hours away that were struggling with anxiety issues, reactivity issues even issues between dogs living together and without ever meeting them we have helped heal and solve these issues as well as move onto greater more exciting work and adventures with these wonderful people.

How does it work and whats the catch?

The catch is you have to be willing to put in the work, dog training has never been about the dog, what we can hands on teach your dog is irrelevant and what has always been the most important piece of owners success is how well they learn, and what skills they learn to build a better understanding of their dog, how they can create stronger communications and bonds with there dog so they can have clear communication with each other no matter where they are or what is happening around them.

unfortunately the educational system for humans up until now hasn’t been well designed having people rely on their trainer being there in person to help move them through the sticking points.

The cons of that? You have to wait a week, 2 weeks between consults and with some trainers and behaviourist 3 months until you see them again.

Who has time to wait around hoping they are getting the work right and what if it’s not quite suited to you and your dog?

What if it does need to be changed a little?

No dog or person is the same and while things are similar, everyone’s household set up is different. How do you ensure the work is correctly fitting into your life.

How do you know when or how to shift that work into other areas of your life?

Fade out food?

Not have to rely on certain management techniques you have built in to avoid triggers or sliding backwards.

You deserve to have all that catered to.

Don’t get me wrong I love working hands on with the dogs and the people, selfishly I had a really hard time moving into this formula of teaching, I would love to spend in person time all the time with my clients and their dogs, I absolutely adore them but I wouldn’t have the chance to serve the people I am so blessed to serve that are spread all over the place and I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time working with them as “hands on” as I do now.

I get to know my clients on a deeper level than ever before, I almost feel like I get to step into their home on a regular basis throughout the week, offer more solid and sturdy support through any difficulties the dogs have in transitioning to better behaviours.

Get a deeper insight into what is and isn’t working and are able to coach them through any sticking points faster and more efficiently than ever before, the best part about that? Is because of that my clients get to learn more from me in the time we spend working together.

How we educate dog owners is changing and we are at the forefront of that change, I’m a results based and driven person, I want the easiest, communication and connection driven, sustainable training methods that I can find for my clients and I have searched high and low and hired the best of the best to formulate good, strong educational systems for them to set them up the best I possible can for success.

and well, when I look at my clients and the progress they make, a pang of jealousy does make itself known, because they are doing things in weeks that took me thousands of dollars, working with several trainers, and a butt tonne of hands on experience in training and 6 years of dedicated work to achieve for my own personal goals with my dog whiiiiich finally after a long ass journey it came together and they do it in a matter of flipping weeks BUT not only do I get that *little* pang of jealousy.

it also makes me dam proud that they took a chance on me, that they trusted me and the educational platform that I had constructed for them.

Jumping on almost a decades worth of behavioural work, mistakes experiences learning what does and doesn’t work within a HOME environment, with a busy schedule a business to run kids to raise and high energy dogs to deal with when you so aren’t a jogger but you do love a nice stroll in nature, to be doing things they didn’t believe were possible, having results spring up where they weren’t expecting or focusing on.

It’s bloody brilliant to see.

and they all agree on the same thing, they ALL wish they had of done it sooner.

Want to know more?

Hit me up for a free phone consultation so we can have a chat, assess what your needs are and IF we are the right fit for what you need xx

 

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