In today’s modern world of digital technology, fast food and convenient travel our pace of life has sped up beyond all recognition of the days gone by and it seems it will continue to do so. Our four legged friends the dog, has evolved to be by our side and values our human companionship is also being whipped along in this frenzied life we are now leading. We rush to work, to the school drop, to the gym, to eat and to go out again and somewhere we fit our dogs in between. There is just not enough hours in the day so we pass on our hurried timetable on to a species that run on a monolog time table.
Dogs are a naturally patient species, they can wait unreservedly for family members to return and can wait hours even days for the next meal and live very much in the moment. From a young age learning to be patient is part of a dogs psychology, neural pathways are formed to control impulses and to promote calmness.
As a dog behaviourist I see just how this manic lifestyle is reflecting in the behaviours of the dogs that I get called out to. From an early age they are swepted up in the fast pace of life we live in. We speedily answer the door, hurriedly put on coats and shoes, grab the lead, shoot out the door and whiz around the block or to the park for twenty ball launches and back home again. Instant complete bagged food is shoved in the dog bowl and down it goes, job done and the dog sorted for the day.
So how is this affecting our dogs behaviours? their needs are being meant efficiently so what’s the issue? I receive many calls along the lines of, my dog will not listen to me, my dog jumps up, my dog is excitable, my dog is unruly outside, pulls on the lead, barks at other dogs, is like a big puppy and I just do not know what will happen if I let my dog off the lead!
These dogs more often than not are in complete overdrive, they have forgotten or have never known what it is like to be true to their species and be calm. Why? because our actions are instant when tendering to our dogs needs as we ourselves are rushed for time.
Take a moment to consider, how long does your dog wait for things it receives? How long does he wait for his lead to be put on? for a stroke? for the door to be opened? for a treat? for a walk? to get in the car? for a toy? or for food? do they come instantly within a second? Does the dog demand it as quickly as possible with barking, whines or physical demands of jumping up or pawing? Do you ask your dog to sit and wait patiently and portray calm behaviours before receiving a valued reward of food, attention, toys or a walk?
Well, we will get to a little science behind it, the brain is an ever changing and developing part of the anatomy the more we work the brain with learning, the more neural pathways are sparked and developed, and then new neurons are produced. Regular exercise and a well balanced diet are contributory to the efficiency of this process also.
By teaching our dogs to follow basic commands with positive reward training will activate their brains, they will develop new associations, think for themselves, become more focussed and less anxious and excitable.
So slow down with your pooch ‘stop and smell the roses’ take a moment, let your inner “zen” transfer to your dog. Help them to reconnect with their natural state, relax and have eye contact with you and you can be in the moment with them. They are amazing creatures and will thank you for it with improved behaviours and greater connectivity.
If you need help re-balancing your dog’s behaviours with improving focus and patience contact me at Yes! Good Dog