How can I connect with my dog’s mind?

How can I connect with my dog’s mind - without losing my own! There are many ways to help your worrisome dog, and we can support you through it all | FREE COURSE! | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Teaching people how to understand their dog. This is my aim!I aim to improve the lot of the dog while employing my particular talents and abilities. I can’t do it all, and there are aspects of dog-help that are quite outside my character. Rescue, for instance. I couldn’t do it. I’d be in a permanent state of meltdown! More power to those who can cover those areas.

So to reach our friend the dog in a meaningful and impactful way, I had to narrow down what I’m good at. And that means teaching people how to get the results they want by showing them a new way to reach their dog’s mind.

Does it work - Yes! 

Do people get good results - OH YES!

 

My course students are rocking it!

Have a look at a few very recent student comments. Some are from emails to me, but a lot of these come from the vibrant communities set up for the courses. These are a source of continual help and support (and fun!) for the students, who no longer feel isolated or insufficient!

“I think the biggest change is in myself as I feel so much calmer and more confident.” Growly Course

“Me and George always had a special bond but it has just got stronger since starting this course, thankyou thankyou.” Growly Course

“I used to dread taking him and now I can enjoy it! Thanks Beverley, your training has really made a difference.” Growly Course

“Beverley Courtney, YES, has given us tools to use and I'm forever grateful.” Growly Course

“To be honest, our growly girl is MUCH less growly now!! … my theory is her impulse control is tons better, and also her focusing (on me) when we are out, plus we are BOTH much more relaxed.” Challenging Dog Course

“Hello all, my dog and I continue our slow and comfortable progress, by far improved is our happiness and relaxation together when out and about, I see a shift in his attention … NO has left our vocabulary.” Growly Course

“Your emails and advice are awesome and our 8 month old Lab has grown so beautifully. Your course has taught us so much and training our puppy has been one of the best experiences of my life.”  Free email course

“Thank goodness I found this course and this group. I cannot thank you enough Beverley, I've got lots to learn. It's almost as if my dog already knows it, he has just been waiting for me to catch on hahaha.” Growly Course

Is your dog ready to learn? And do you know how best to teach him, in a dog-friendly way? Find out in this post! | FREE COURSE! | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

“Your focus on self-improvement for the human and choices for the dog chimes very much with me. Your approach and content has helped me a lot as I was feeling a little low and worried that I couldn’t help Dougie overcome his fears. In 5 days I have seen some big improvements for us both …”  Free Growly Workshop

“I cannot believe, in such a short space of time, how well my Working Cocker Spaniel has responded to lead training. I thought calming this little lady would be impossible to achieve. She's 4 years of age and walking out is completely new to her, hence my doubting I could cope. Now I know I CAN cope!! This new confident feeling propels me to want to do more and more to help her. She's so responsive to your methods - no stress, no hard work, 'simplicity in action'. Thank you!”  Growly Course

“I am really enjoying the 5 day course and have loved the enjoyable time with my young dog with no tricky walks, and more understanding. I have learned a lot and realise how much tension I must have unwittingly passed on to my dog. Thank you for everything so far. You’ve given us a new start.” Free Growly Workshop

“I wanted you all to know how much your support has helped my relationship with my beautifully amazing puppy. Xxx” Wild Puppy Course

“Thank you for sending me such useful materials. You are a breath of fresh air!” free email course

Looking forward to your classes - that non-professionals can understand!” Growly Course

“Think you are a great teacher and loving everything so far” Free Dog/Puppy Workshop

“I love your methods of teaching us humans and our dogs.” Email course

“Thank you so much. Hunter and I have both really enjoyed the training. I really can’t believe what a difference it has made in such a short time and I really feel like I have a connection with him now.Free Dog/Puppy Workshop

“I've really enjoyed the five days of videos, it’s given me so much to work with. I'm seeing results already and I can see what you teach makes so much sense.” Free Dog/Puppy Workshop

 

We can’t do it all alone. We need help - we need guidance and we need people who will help us along the path.

◦   When we’re down we need scooping up and setting going again.

◦   When we’re delighted we need someone to share our joy.

◦   And when we doubt ourselves, we need someone we trust to guide us.

 

I want to change the world - one dog at a time!

 

Will you join me?

 

Resources

Growly Dog Course

Challenging Dog Course

Wild Puppy Course

Free Growly Dog Workshop

Free email course? Right here:

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

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Should we treat our dogs as people?

Should we treat our dogs as people? “If a training technique won’t work for a toddler, then it likely won’t work for a dog.”  | FREE EMAIL COURSE! | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

I had an interesting email recently:

“I’ve read your book on puppies and loved it. I try to do all positive reward based training and it’s a lot easier now I understand a bit more. Funny how you were always told not to anthropomorphise and yet that is the very basis of modern training.”  Chris

My reply included these words: “You make an interesting point about anthropomorphosis. Dogs are NOT people. But the baby got thrown out with the bathwater ... they're very like small children.“

For me, it’s all about teaching dog-owners empathy with their pet.

And I thought this was a subject which deserved deeper study.

For years people have been exhorted to treat the dog in their home with suspicion. Mistrust. Seeing it as a foreign species that needed to be shouted at, possibly beaten, and at best cajoled into doing what they wanted their dog to do.

So people still turn up at class thinking that’s what they ought to be doing. That the reason their dog is not complying with their every wish is because they’re too soft on them, babying them, anthropomorphising them.

This leads to them doing and saying things which really run counter to their intuition. If you have a creature in your home, whether child or animal, you want to cosset it, cherish it, look after it, get a friendly response from it. This is especially the case for women, traditionally and emotionally the nurturers.

So they’re already conflicted when they come to me for help! They’re trying to live up to this false model that they have to be the leader, show the dog who’s boss, put themselves in a higher position than the dog, all fostered by misguided (ok - just plain wrong) tv programs.

The relief they show when told that they don’t have to do any of those things, that they can be natural around their companion dog, and they can indulge their feelings of warmth towards this creature, is palpable! And it’s often accompanied by huge sighs of relief and visible physical relaxation. They thought they were going to be castigated for not being hard enough, tough enough, for allowing the dog on the furniture and so on and so on. They transform when they are “given permission” to act as they naturally want to.

I use stories from family life all the time to illustrate my points

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for really getting to understand your dog!

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I use a lot of analogies and stories - usually about people and their children or their colleagues or friends - to demonstrate how the dog feels, and how he thinks. I’m always giving people examples which they will readily understand and can translate to their relationship with their dog. This is one of the reasons my books have developed such a following.

Yes, the dog is not a human being. But don’t you think he knows that? With no opposable thumbs he relies on us for so much in his life - from preparing his dinner to opening the door, lighting the fire, driving the car … He doesn’t need to be “kept in his place”! He’s only too aware of his place already.

There are, of course, areas where the dog is not at all like us. People sometimes worry about dogs being jealous if the same treatment is not offered to all the family pets. You will give a different type of attention to a toddler, a 10-year-old, and a teen or adult. As long as they’re getting what they need, they don’t carp over what the other child is getting.

In the same way, one child may be delighted with his Christmas present that cost only a few pounds, while his brother was given something appropriate for him that cost many more (there you are - I’m doing it again!). Your dog has no knowledge of comparative monetary value. But he does understand attention! And as long as you’re giving your different dogs attention, they’re happy.

A simple example could be walking your puppy without your other dogs because he needs to learn about the world with you, while your older dogs may just want to run around sniffing and playing - too exciting for the pup - and your oldest dog will be happier lying in front of the fire and going on only occasional walks. We don’t have a problem with this kind of individualised care!

Are you treating your dog as a baby? Dressing dogs is fine if it’s for their comfort - but not for our own amusement! | FREE EMAIL COURSE! | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Another area - where anthropomorphism could go wrong - is in “dressing” your dog. Two of mine have thin coats and feel the cold. So when the weather is bad they wear a jumper or waterproof which makes them more comfortable and saves me dog-drying time.

But this does not extend to dressing an animal up for our own entertainment:

Anthropomorphic sentiment negates empathy, blinding us to the real animal behind the “character.” 1 Michael Vale and Donna McRae

So those “cute” images of dogs clipped to look like a cartoon character, or wearing strange garb to cause amusement without a thought to their feelings and comfort, are completely counter to my aim of building empathy for the animal.

The experts agree with me!

It’s nice to know that I’m in good company with these ideas.

Wikipedia includes this in its article on the subject:

Anthropomorphism may be beneficial to the welfare of animals. A 2012 study by Butterfield et al. found that utilizing anthropomorphic language when describing dogs created a greater willingness to help them in situations of distress. Previous studies have shown that individuals who attribute human characteristics to animals are less willing to eat them and that the degree to which individuals perceive minds in other animals predicts the moral concern afforded to them. It is possible that anthropomorphism leads humans to like non-humans more when they have apparent human qualities, since perceived similarity has been shown to increase prosocial behavior toward other humans. 2

This demonstrates that seeing your dog as a person, with her own thoughts and desires, means you’ll create a stronger bond and ultimately enjoy a better life with her. I’m pleased to see this is actually creeping onto the statute books of many civilised countries - that animals are sentient beings, not chattels.

 Adam Waytz PhD says:

These simple demonstrations provide preliminary support for why anthropomorphism - the tendency to grant minds to nonhuman things - is so influential for our interactions with the world around us. Perceiving minds gives entities moral rights, responsibilities, and the capacity for social surveillance. As scientific advances reveal extraordinary capacities of nonhuman things, and as questions of personhood become increasingly fuzzy, understanding why "seeing human" matters has never been more important. 3

Further to this is the fact that not only do we think our dogs are like us and can therefore understand us, but they actually can understand us!

Stanley Coren has made an intensive study of dogs and their understanding - particularly of words:

My data led to the conclusion that the average dog can learn to recognize about 165 words and gestures. "Super dogs"—those in the top 20 percent of canine intelligence—can learn 250 or more. … What's more, Chaser [with 1000 words] understands some of the basics of grammar involved in simple sentence construction. 4

He goes on to conclude:

Tests of canine language ability offer a new way of looking at dogs' mental skills. If a problem can't be solved by a 2- to 3-year-old child, then it is not likely that a dog can solve it either.

 And if a training technique won't work for a toddler, then it likely won't work for a dog. —Stanley Coren

 

 

 Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for learning to understand your dog!

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a href="https://imgur.com/tk6Pcqf">

Why should I pay for training my dog?

Man teaching puppy.png

Well, this is a question I hear a LOT!

And it’s a bit puzzling to me. I’m sure that many of those who query a cost on dog training are happy to pay their dentist or their doctor, their pharmacist or hairdresser. They buy clothes and food from shops …

Imagine if they stood at the supermarket checkout saying “I can’t afford this at the moment, so either give it to me free or we won’t eat till next month”!

It’s a question of priorities really. You got yourself a dog. And you’re expecting it to train itself. All those things that annoy you about your dog are not figuring in your list of priorities to fix.

But is this a short-term thought?

The sooner you get to grips with your new puppy, or any newly-developed thing your dog is doing that you don’t like - the faster you can fix it. For a puppy and a new rescue you have to invest a lot of time in the early months. And your older resident dog? You’ll have to pick up on any new thing he’s doing and decide straight away what to do about it.

I know there are a lot of expenses with a new puppy. But people happily cough up large sums at the vet, possibly paying for a monthly program. The purchase price of the dog (especially if it’s one of the popular breeds or a “designer” crossbreed) can be very high. They pay loads for insurance, more for kennelling for holidays, they buy expensive beds and toys, get good food … but for some reason I can’t fathom, think that while their puppy won’t vaccinate himself, shop for himself, or pay his own insurance - he can train himself!

The hidden costs of failing to train your dog

Perhaps if people could see what they’re risking by missing out on this, they may move puppy training from “maybe” to “essential and urgent”.

It’s not just a question of having a dog who is a good citizen, doesn’t upset neighbours or other dogs, can be trusted round your food and belongings, and is not under your feet all day annoying you. There are real costs involved in abdicating your responsibility in this.

Hear what Laura had to say:

“As the manager of a busy veterinary practice, I’ve seen countless examples of how training can mean life or death to a dog. The most obvious examples are the dogs hit by cars because they haven’t been taught a reliable recall. It’s always heartbreaking, and especially traumatic for the owners who watch in horror as their beloved pet is hit by a car.”

She lists lots of examples of occasions where simple training could have saved the pet’s life - and saved possibly thousands in vet care.

“I remember Jake, the young Golden Retriever who got out of the yard when one of the kids left the gate open, and was hit by car. We did all we could to try to save him, but his injuries were too severe, and the owner ultimately had to make the decision to end his suffering. We all cried as we put him to sleep.”

“Then there are the euthanasias after a bite. These often involve children, and are gut-wrenching because of how preventable they usually are. In almost every case, the owner says that the bite “came with no warning”, but we know that actually there’s always signs that weren’t recognized. The body language that says clearly, “I don’t like what this child is doing to me,” or the averted gaze that says, “I’m anxious and feel threatened”.  Often the owners tell a story of escalating aggressive behavior that was unrecognized or excused until something tragic happened. Behavior that could have been much more easily handled had it been addressed at the start.”

Want to know how I teach my own puppies?

Here’s a taster course for you!

She is so right!

It can be simple to deal with what people perceive as aggression if we trainers are invited in to help. But we can’t do it by thought transference! We have to show you.

Here’s a great story from Laura that had a happy ending:

“We treated a young Lhasa Apso who growled when his owner tried to get him off the bed, or when anyone came near his food or water bowl. The vet tried to convince the owner that Jack needed training to address these behaviors. The owner would say, ‘Jack is a good boy. He just doesn’t like some things’. Unfortunately the owner’s grandchild tried to lie down on the sofa near him one day, and Jack bit her on the lip. She required sutures, and Jack was brought in to our hospital the next day to be put to sleep for aggression. He was adopted by our lead vet and after a few months of training, he became the favorite “example” dog at the puppy training classes. Unfortunately, they don’t all have happy endings like this one.“

It just shows that a bit of knowledge of how to train a dog can turn even the most serious cases round. But why wait till your child is bitten? Why not teach your dog AND your children how to behave round each other from the start?

Bites cost money

And you should know that if your dog does bite someone, it could end up costing you a massive amount of money in legal fees and fines. In UK law a dog doesn’t even have to bite! It’s enough for them just to frighten someone. Your dog could be taken away from you and killed because you didn’t understand him and his motivation.

This sort of expense far outweighs the costs of some simple training! Not to mention the distress all round.

Accidents in the home

Your puppy is waiting for you to guide him! Avoid dramas and expensive accidents with a bit of training | MINI-COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogimpulsecontrol | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

You don’t even have to venture out to find that a little training could save a lot of upset and sadness for your family and your dog - and even save your dog’s life.

Debbie the animal first aid trainer told me of:

“A Jack Russell who was a window barker - he got caught in the blinds and hanged himself.”

What a thing to come home to …

Then there was the bin-raider Debbie came across who ate a cooked chicken carcase and got a blockage - this is a life-or-death issue, and the vet treatment will be urgent and costly.

What training would have saved all these dogs?

  • Recall is an obvious one. It’s not just a question of yelling the dog’s name and expecting a result - it has to be taught methodically!

•    Correct socialisation with children, management, and education about this new species in your home for the whole family.

  •    Resource Guarding: can easily be made worse by the owner if they plump for a method they saw on the internet that involves challenging the dog and coercion. It’s a simple issue when you know how!

  •    Window-barking can be quickly solved by a bit of in-home management and Impulse Control training for the dog.

•    And stealing, countersurfing, hoovering - all can be fixed with teaching Impulse Control, and the owner learning to read their dog and manage situations safely.

Should I push dog training up my to-do list?

From all this you should be able to see that there is a real material value to training your dog! Not only will she become more amenable in the house and on walks, more fun, more rewarding, more entertaining for the children, but you should avoid the catastrophes listed above.

You don’t hesitate to get schooling for your child. Why should your dog not get the same courtesy and privilege?

A quick Google search will reveal that the costs of employing a professional force-free dog trainer - whether in group classes, 1-1 consultations, or online courses - is a lot less than you may expect. In most cases it’s much less than what you pay to have your car or your teeth serviced, much less than the purchase price of your dog, and sometimes cheaper than the fancy bed you bought!

So have sense and include dog training in your list of outgoings, before your dog makes your life an emotional and financial misery. And do keep in mind that dog trainers - like plumbers, mechanics, and doctors - need to eat and pay rent, and deserve a decent return for all the training and study they’ve put in.

If you like playing Russian Roulette, carry on saying you can’t afford training

But when you can remove all the petty annoyances so easily - not to mention the major disasters - resulting from lack of training, you’ll all enjoy a much better life with your dog.

New dog? Resident dog creating difficulties? 

Here's your course

 

Helping your young dog understand our world

How do you get your new dog to explore the world with confidence? | FREE ECOURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #dogbehavior, #dogimpulsecontrol | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

I was standing in our local high street with my puppy, just watching the world go by.

We saw people, children, dogs, wheelchairs, cars, vans, and a very interesting pigeon on the pavement a few yards from us. Coco studied this for a while and I gave him plenty of time to look at it, ensuring his lead was slack. Whenever he seemed more than curious, I’d feed him for not reacting. We were taking everything in our stride …

UNTIL this pleasant episode was interrupted by shouting. A woman was walking down the wide pavement, yanking the lead of her dog. She shouted “LEAVE IT!!” and yanked again. As far as I could see the dog was quite surprised by this.

She marched on, towards us and the pigeon. The friendly-looking young dog looked towards my pup - YANK! “LEAVE IT!!”

Then he made the mistake of glancing towards the pigeon YANKYANK SHAKE “LEAVE IT!!!”

By now the poor dog was straining on his lead to get as far away from his owner as possible. She stopped, gave the lead an almighty yank and hoisted the dog off his feet, once more yelling “LEAVE IT!!”

I wonder if that dog had any idea what “Leave it” meant?

Img_Molly.png

What I do know is that a naturally curious young dog was being abused and punished for … what? Showing interest in his surroundings. 

This is exactly what I had brought my young dog out to do!

•  It’s very sad that anyone should treat another creature in this way.

•  It’s more sad that the dog was doing nothing wrong.

•  Sadder still that his owner seems to think this is the way to teach.

•  And saddest of all? He is stuck with this short-tempered, unenlightened owner.

We can’t reach everyone, but by our example we can hope to change attitudes, one dog at a time

 

To get a flying start at this, get our free 8-part email course which gives you “training recipes” for changing things you don’t like, and encouraging the things you do like in your dog

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my puppy Coco was on the sick list

The vet has said your dog needs bed rest? Then you must ensure this happens. But how? Read this post for essential guidelines | FREE BOOK | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogimpulsecontrol | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Poor Cocopup!

I remember it so clearly:  one minute he was having a fantastic game of catch the frisbee and chasing Cricket with her frisbee, the next minute a yawning chasm opened up before him, swallowed his front leg and twisted his shoulder.

The shrieking! Ow ow ow, he cried.

After a visit to the vet for x-rays, diagnosis and anti-inflammatories, he was sentenced to a few weeks’ bed rest.

For a young miniature poodle - poodles have everlasting energy, in case you didn’t know - this

was hard!

And inexplicable.

Easy peasy

But the whole thing was made easy because Coco loves his crate, takes himself there when tired, and knows to settle down as soon as he’s in it.

We also do a lot of matwork, regularly. This translates now to any mat or bed I point him to. He will stay there until released.

He got regular sessions with his very own Canine Massage Therapist to aid a fast recovery, which he absolutely loved.

So while I was working, he was stretched out on his bed beside me. When I couldn’t be paying attention he could go in his crate. I was able to achieve the bed rest prescribed by the vet without any stress on the part of my dog.

Or me.

Stress on top of injury

An injured dog is already stressed enough. Confining a dog who isn’t used to it could add a lot more anxiety and tension.

Of course Coco got out for garden visits, lap visits, and some trick training, aka therapy for the injured leg (“Take a Bow” gave him an excellent shoulder-stretch). But preventing him racing and playing with the other dogs was the hard part.

Soon we were able to graduate to short road walks.

It was a while before young Mr.Coco was joyfully chasing his frisbee again.

But at least the time passed calmly.

Could your dog do this?

You never know when you may need to keep your dog quiet for a period. Want to know how to get your dog to this calm, accepting state?

Go to Calm Down and get your free copy.

Now you can work through the steps and teach your dog how to relax - any time, any place, any how. It is an enjoyable method, gets super results, and makes life easier for all of us.

What’s not to love?!

 But why listen to me when you can see what readers think!

I love your books! Your simple, fun, and loving training methods are helping me make tremendous progress with my brilliant puppies. 

Mary Anne and her two Springer Spaniels, USA

 

AMAZON 5* review

This book is excellent and so clearly written my 7 year old is enjoying working through the stages with us. After two short training sessions our 9 week old pup is already lying on his mat as soon as I put it out. The author is clearly very knowledgable and when I emailed her a question I received a very informative personal reply. I have read books 2 and 3 in the series also and can honestly say they make training my pup an absolute pleasure for both of us.

Dianne and Ted, UK

 

Three dog trainers, two behaviour specialist vets, three vets ... and a six month old  terrier who thinks he’s a tiny pup, a fierce crocodile, and a bucking bronco. Went to purchase your book Calm Down! but got it for zero payment on Amazon. Read it, started training - immediate success. The difference has been amazing, pup is now snoozing near me, with a constant eye on me but definitely better! I want to send you a big, heartfelt thank you.

Ute and Gilbert, Germany

 

AMAZON 5* review

I bought Calm Down! before the arrival of my 8 week old puppy. In under 5 days I had him leaping onto the mat and lying down waiting for his treats. It was just amazing!

Reni and Rupert, Australia

 

I can honestly say your books have changed the lives of me and Bo. He loves nothing more than learning new things and playing games, he loved every single part of the process.

Cara and Bo

 

Your "Calm Down" book saved me. Literally! It's only been a week and she is a different dog, relaxed lying at my feet on her mat. I don't hate her any more and have allowed myself to bond with her. I really didn’t think this would ever happen as she was making my home life so stressed out.  Thank You!  

Peggy

 

A surprisingly easy and fun skill to teach!

So go get your book and get started!

My dog is busybusy all day long and never stops!

Help! My dog is busybusy all day long. How can I get him to calm down? | FREE BOOK! | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogsleep, #overexciteddog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

You may enjoy your dog keeping you company all day - but if your lifestyle is very active and busy you’re actually not helping him! Like toddlers, dogs need to have naps and calm periods built into their day. They are crepuscular beasties - which means they are most alert at twilight, their ancestral hunting time.

And just like toddlers, not getting these vital rest periods will result in disturbed behaviour. For your dog this means that he’s much shorter-tempered, easily agitated, hard to reason with.

This is making your life much harder than necessary! And if you are blessed with a Growly Dog who is already disposed to reactivity, fear, anxiety, or aggression, you can 10x that!

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for calming down your life with your dog!

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And as we know that stress is the silent killer for humans, so it can be for dogs, predisposing them to ailments that they are unable to resist.

I wrote about sleep and puppy-biting a while ago. And I’m revisiting this subject because it is SOOOO important, and so seldom understood!

So how can you curb your frantic dog’s activity and improve life for both of you?

Bedtimes

The first thing to do is establish sleeping areas in the home where your dog can sleep without being disturbed. So rather than letting your puppy crash where he runs out of steam, always transfer him to his crate or bed. Build these sleep-places into your day from the start.

Protected sleep times are also important to build in from Day 1. My dogs are all adult, and as I write they are all in or on various beds near me. They sleep while I work (lucky them!). This pattern of “when nothing’s happening you need to sleep” is carefully baked in from the day the puppy arrives with me.

A puppy who’s been awake for more than an hour or so needs to go to bed!

But you can still teach an older dog this way of life, even if there are established patterns of lunacy!

Teaching an older dog to rest

How much sleep should a healthy dog have? You may be surprised to find that it’s A LOT! This post will explain it to you, and how to achieve the right level for your dog | FREE BOOK! | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogsleep, #overexciteddog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Here’s an extract from my book series Essential Skills for your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog which you can find here. I’m repeating it here because it illustrates so well how quickly you can influence some of your dog’s behaviours when you approach it the right way.

“I was visiting a very caring couple who had brought their young rescue collie Tim to classes when they first got him. I was glad they’d got in touch again, because the young dog was very fearful and couldn’t cope well with life. We arranged a visit.

While there, it became clear that this hyperactive dog was wearing himself out. For the first twenty minutes of my visit he never stopped. He raced in and out of the room, jumped up my front, my back, chewed my hair, poked the other dog, ran off again, paced … never rested.

So I quickly amended my training plan to include some relaxation work. After some active games to get Tim to engage with me, I started teaching him to slow down and relax. After just five minutes of this, his owner expressed amazement at seeing her frantic dog actually lying down still for more than ten seconds at a time!

When I finished the short session and released him, what did he do? Do you think he went straight back into busybusy mode, panting and racing?

Nope. He just slid onto the floor beside us, and as he lay there his head started to loll, his eyelids drooped, and he was … asleep!

To the total astonishment of his owner, who had never seen him sleep in the day!

So how much sleep should Tim be having?

Did you know that dogs need to have an average seventeen hours of sleep a day to work at their optimum level with the least amount of stress?

Seventeen hours.

I can hear you all saying, “My dog never sleeps that much.”

Well, it’s seventeen hours for adult dogs - obviously more for puppies. And some dogs need to be helped to achieve this total.

Tim had had a poor start in life before his present owners took him in and gave him a secure and loving home. So he’d developed habits of nervous and stressy behaviour which had stuck with him. Showing him how to relax transformed him in just a few short minutes and allowed him to get some much-needed rest.

His owners are carrying on this work with him, and it will make all the other things we have to teach him so much easier.”

Calm

Want to know what I did to relax this hyper dog? To get the exact program, work through the first book in the Essential Skills for a Brilliant Family Dog series: Calm Down! Step-by-Step to a Calm, Relaxed, and Brilliant Family Dog It’s free at all e-book stores, and also available in paperback online and you can order it from any good bookshop. Quite apart from the usefulness of this skill for any dog, anywhere, if you have a reactive dog it will hugely benefit him.

Be aware that teaching calm and relaxation is not teaching a stay exercise with the traditional stern shouting and finger-waving! (Although, curiously, you will get a solid stay as a result.)

The object is quite different - to change your dog’s mental state, not to anchor his physical position.

Learning how to switch off can also help with Separation Anxiety. If this is an area of distress for your dog, you could do with going through a whole protocol to make positive changes. This book by Patricia McConnell has a step-by-step program. It’s not an overnight fix, and few people in my experience can be bothered to resolve this issue for their poor dog - unless he’s destroying the house and defecating all over the carpet. But think how much happier you’ll all be if instead of agitated pacing when you’re out, you just get peaceful snoozing.

I’ll also mention the Relaxation Protocol. (These audios have been generously provided by Roxanne Hawn and are free to download.) This is a program which takes incremental steps from frantic non-resting dog to chilled-out dog with a lower heart-rate and dreamy feelings of comfort and relaxation.

It’s a simple program: you don’t have to do Day 1 only on Day 1 - repeat each “Day” till you have it right, then move on to the next “Day”. I choose to have the dog lying down for this - more conducive to dozing. It takes time, yes, but it’s time well spent helping your dog destress. You’ll feel as if you’ve had a relaxation session yourself when it’s over!

It’s worth getting started on it to help your dog access the calm side of his mind, which he may have lost sight of in his anxiety. Again, few people in my experience follow through on this and complete the cycle in several different places. But those who do get MASSIVE improvement! It’s especially useful for the never-resting dog, the hyper dog, the anxious or fearful dog, your Growly Dog.

For plenty more tips on getting the best out of your relationship with your dog, get this free 8-part email course

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