Written by myself and NK9 Dog Training & Behaviour Specialist
\nPhoto credit from The Sad Ghost Club
\nWorking with a few dogs this week that all share a breed and all share the same issues.
\nThey all need space and they all say within their body language and communication skill set they aren't OK.
\nWhen humans share to Social media that they aren't OK floods of support come in.
\nWhen a Dog does it they are aggressive.
\nThey shouldn't be out in Public.
\nYou shouldn't own that Dog.
\nThat Dogs dangerous.
\nYou can't handle that Dog.
\nSomething which has shocked every single person I've spoken to is when I've said "Let the dog back in the house their bucket is full."
\nHuh? What? But we're having a consult.
\nYep but the dog has clearly shown they are over threshold, uncomfortable and not OK and a few also pulled to the door.
\nFor those of us Trained this is easy to see. For those of us not this is not easy to see.
\nSo within Social Distancing and having to work in Gardens. All the Dogs have been restricted in one form or another. In their gardens to begin with which is normally their sanctuary or on a lead and a restrictive harness.
\nA few Dogs shouted and lunged to begin with and then when they realised I wasn't going to touch them or invade their space or apply any pressure to them they all calmed down. They watched tentatively but they all calmed down and after so long indicated they were done.
\nBy done I mean relaxed body language but I'm still uncomfortable and I'm tired and I want to go back in the house now.
\nThis is when the emotional bucket is explained. For those who don't know we say that the Dog has an emotional bucket. The bucket is never truly empty. The bucket can begin to be filled by...
\nThe harness and lead going on. 💧
\nThe idea of going for a walk. 💧
\nLeaving the house. 💦
\nGetting in the car. 💦
\nSeeing another Dog. 💦
\nSeeing a person. 💦
\nSeeing another Dog and another person. 💦💦💦
\nReaching the destination. 💦💦💦💦
\nAnticipation of what will happen. ☔☔☔☔☔
\nMore Dogs and more people. 🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️
\nBeing told off for shouting. 🌩️🌩️
\nFeeling pressure in the lead. ⛈️⛈️⛈️
\nGoing home to do it all again tommorow...
\nSo if the bucket is already full and we add in all the extra pressure the new next day... 🧨🧨🧨
\nThe poor Dog doesn't stand a chance.
\nSo what we should do is allow the Dog to calm for 72 hours minimum before considering another walk.
\nSounds mad doesn't it however. When a Dog is stressed their Cortisol levels raise. Their serotonin levels drop. Think person now with depression when the Doctors give them anti depressants the anti depressants suppress the Cortisol and raise the Serotonin.
\nFor Dogs in most cases and especially Behaviour modification we have to do this in the most natural ways possible. We swop out walks for Snuffle Mats, Licki Mats, indoor training, play and sleep. Lots of sleep.
\nIn order to set a Dog up for success when they can't cope we have a duty of care to help them. They don't have Social Media to vent or ask for help they rely on us to advocate for them.
\nSome Dogs do and can have medicine to help them however to help them fully we have to take an Holistic approach to care for them and meet their needs.
\nSo remember a stressed Dog doesn't need a walk everyday if they have had a stressful walk let them rest and have mental stimulation until they are ready to try again 🐾