The key to preventing unwanted behavior is learning to read your dog at the absolute earliest signs of mental escalation. Once the brain is spinning too fast it becomes more difficult to slow it down. One second your dog is calm and focused on you... Next you see the intensity in the eyes and alertness start to wash over him. This is your moment to immediately correct it and bring him back before he escalates into that hyper reactive state of mind. Remember, every interaction with your dog, whether permissive or controlled, is what plays a major role in whether he feels you “deserve” to be listened to. As you see the escalation develop the best ‘correction’ you can give is something that will distract him and redirect that focus on to something else. Something healthier such as a stuffed Kong. Look for a sound or command that grabs his attention long enough to redirect that energy to something you approve of.
Anticipation is what gives us the ability to stop unwanted reactions before they happen. We go deep within ourselves to discover exactly who we are. Then we use more focus on our surroundings and environment. We start to see problems before they come and have already decided how to either avoid it or what we will do next to minimize the blow. We still face the challenge of blind spots. Things still take us by surprise and cause immense stress. First, we blame the problem. “Why did this have to happen to me?” We start the pity party or get angry and before we know it, we’re escalating into the worst possible state of mind to handle problems. What if we could eliminate most of our blind spots? What if we saw everything coming? We find a way to stay in this clear-headed mindset where nothing could set us off because we see everything.
Obviously not every problem can be avoided or handled seamlessly 100% of the time. If you can find that state of mind where you look down at your dog and they look as if they couldn’t ever have a problem in the world. Nothing to fear. Nothing to overreact to. This is when you start to see the reflection of your own energy in the dog. It’s also when you will get the strongest connection from your dog. Problems are going to come no matter what you do. Wouldn’t it be smarter to work on anticipating the stress triggers and problems with acknowledgement of what you can control? Rather than live life waiting, stressing over everything that comes at you, one disaster after another, do your dog and yourself a favor. When you see people living with the latter, use your mindfulness to tread lightly and not take it personal. Offer the help you can and know when to focus on something else. Dog Tired's team is trained on dog body language, so feel free to ask us any questions you may have.
by Jason Aft