Technology is allowing us to remotely reinforce training behaviors. This is exciting news to me and for thousands of urban dogs living alone in condos. We want to reinforce the "right" behaviors as much as possible. We know Dogs are social and cooperative individuals, the reason why we live together, but unfortunately not all guardians can work from home. Canine Science tells us dogs don't do well in isolation for long periods of time, that they are not den animals, and need limited exposure to a group of dogs without structured interactions. We also know practicing too much stimulation without structure and adequate supervision can teach unwanted behavior problems. So what's a guardian living in the city to do?
Technology is part of the answer! New products are allowing us to positively reinforce alone time, physical activity and mental engagement. This all of course still requires your planning and being creative while always taking the animals perspective into account. We know the best option and general rule is to provide both physical and mental stimulation in a safe environment daily.Technology now gives us the opportunity to extend our reach and train at home.
There are a few remote training products I like and listed below with video. I use these in my behavior modification training to reinforce behaviors. These are not intended to take the place of a training plan or babysit your dog for hours on end. Technology allows you to now call our dogs to check in talk to them and even give them a treat remotely or, we can use technology to reward a behavior. You can now engage remotely in between social interactions and dog walks filling up that down time if needed. This may help with reducing any possibility of depression or learned helplessness.
I use these when desensitizing to absences (Separation Anxiety) and counter conditioning behavior (reduce barking). Confinement combined with low stimulation may result in depression (or a condition called learned helplessness). Keeping pup engaged is important and having a mix of things to do is fantastic! We want to both physically and mentally stimulating those brain cells and pathways to keep growing and sticking between limbic area of the brain and the cognitive parts of the brain. Your pup will grow up to be one who will pause to make decisions rather than be reactive. Continue with scheduling multiple walks and asking your walker to give a prepared food/dispensing toy/stuffed kong after the walk. And consider the products below as an addition to your routine especially if you are reinforcing behaviors (or if you just want to check in to say hello). These products are even more salient when used in conjunction with a behavior mod training plan. If you have questions or you're interested in a demonstration please call me. Dog Blessings! Vivian
This exercise is about creating a "Zen Zone" for yourself and your dog. Originally introduced by DVM Behaviorist Dr. Voith this particular protocol was designed Dr. Karen Overall also a DVM Behaviorist. Used in Behavior Modification Training Plans it is a wonderful way to reduce your dog (and your) stress. If I'm working with an especially stressed dog I will prepare the bedding by spraying one of my three handcrafted calming blends, and maybe even light a candle and play soundscape music. Ancillary calming tools are helpful in providing a calm environment. This way I start to relax and dissipate out only calming hormones which help relax my dog to start the process.
As you may know without knowing we condition behavior unwanted or otherwise all of the time ( i.e. jumping on us models jumping on other people, barking at us for attention models barking at all people this way). In some cases just seeing their person elicits a state of high arousal for some dogs. A dogs guardian may for example rough play with their dog all the time without using a toy to interact. They may rough play without working impulse control exercises in between for breaks (sit, wait). So the dog becomes conditioned - see guardian = play and excitement shoots up quickly ...OH BOY MY PERSONs HOME! and off they go.
How we feel has a direct affected on our dogs. As some of you may know all mammals have the ability to take in large molecules ( i.e. cortisol, the stress hormone or oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone) through the Vermonasal Organ (just under the palette of the mouth located between mouth and nose). This organ allows for mammals to take in and identify the hormone thereby understanding how another individual is feeling at any given moment. You can imagine if you don't have the ability to speak the same language but need to know if another animal was friend or foe how useful being able to smell their feelings would be.
Every day life is packed full of pressure and I'm sure we are all in agreement reducing our stress levels every now and again is good practice. So why not practice with our dogs? Plan a date with your dog or include a relaxation session as an exercise instead of or after exercise. This relaxation protocol is so useful for stressed dogs, those experiencing separation anxiety, isolation distress or ones who have come home from a rambunctious day at daycare. You can do this in the comfort of your home any time. Its probably best to practice in the evening between 7-9M when your dogs cortisol level is lowest and they are at their most relaxed state naturally. But of course you can practice anytime!
The beauty of this is you can practice anytime. Start with your dog seated. If s/he offers you a down instead of sitting, this is fine. If s/he starts in a sit and shifts to a down this is a sign of relaxation! Walk through the protocol, calmly and methodically. You can go through each Day consecutively or stay at any given Day for as long as you like.
Warm Up (use to practice a solid sit)
Day 1: Dog's Task
Day 2: Dog's Task
Day 3: Dog's Task
Day 4: Dog's Task
Day 7: Dog's Task
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Disclaimer: Our service and products sold are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. There is no guarantee of behavior change. If a sudden behavior or behavior persists, please first contact a qualified Veterinarian, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, DVM Behaviorist . The information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a veterinary health care provider, and should not be construed as individual medical or veterinary advice. The testimonials on this website are from individuals and do not guarantee or imply the same results.
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