Jumping is something many guardians struggle with. Old age tales tell you to turn your back.
Turning your back is dangerous. From someone who worked in a kennel with all sorts of breeds, excited and exuberant and so happy to see you, turning your back is going to cause an injury.
Long hair? Hair pulled. Baggy clothes? Such a great toy! Wafty skirts? So much fun to chase.
It's really important to be mindful that to your dog or a dog of a home you are visiting, you are exciting. You are a trigger to entering into hyper/ hypoarousal. Which you can read more about in depth here - https://www.facebook.com/100057373879884/posts/858281969427591/
When you enter the home, garden, driveway of a resident dog, they are excited and happy to see you in most cases, not all especially if you are a stranger but generally if you are a regular visitor and have a good relationship with the dog(s).
Jumping up can and often does result in arousal and you maybe experience nipping, attempts to grab at hair, your face, clothes, hold your arm, continue jumping up and getting worked up.
It is up to us to set dogs up to succeed. It isn't just the responsibility of the guardian but also you if you feel jumping up is problematic, for example you may have a grandparent or parent with a bouncy and excitable pup.
Utilising a Doggy Enrichment Land - which you can read more about here - https://www.facebook.com/share/1ELEpNJMNc1zParj/?mibextid=WC7FNe
Waiting for the person to enter the home and be seated wherever you want them to be seated and giving your dog time to enjoy a chew in their enrichment area or wait.
If your dog is showing signs of distress and becoming over threshold, having someone treat the dog, reassure them and communicate with them, can aid in preventing the rehearsal of the behaviour by teaching an alternative behaviour and changing the emotional state of the dog.
You can then bring the dog in calmly when they are less excitable and ask the visitor to use treat bombs - tutorial here - which you can adapt for yourself when you come home and also your visitor already seated - https://youtu.be/moORgVWv40k?si=ndsEKXbE_Yt0Ne34
Attempting to punish a dog for a naturally occurring behaviour or trying to manage them in the moment is only going to leave you worked up and frustrated. Managing the situation first sets you both up for success!
Image description: A Wheelchair user about to be pounced on by a Wolfdog and a small Spaniel. The background is grey and there is one window. The title reads: Jumping up - muttsnmischief.com
The background within the window is black, green, pink and purple neon with yellow stars to demonstrate a dizzying image. The little white text box on the left hand corner reads - jumping up, doesn't have to make you see stars.
A spiky speech box reads: understand the behaviour, for example they are excited to see you.
The dogs speech bubble reads: Your home!!! I missed you so much. The wheelchair user speech bubble says: Oh oh!
The second image has a grey is grey and there is one window. The title reads: Jumping up - muttsnmischief.com
The image within the window is much calmer: neon pink, purple and green. The wheelchair user is relaxed with a treat pouch on their lap with cubes of cheese. The Wolfdog is to the left and the Spaniel is to the right of the wheelchair. There is a treat bomb filled with treats. The white text box on the left reads: Utilise treat bombs, make a plan to set your dog up for success.
A spiky text box at the bottom reads: treat bombs can be placed all over the home and even by the front door. The wheelchair user has a speech bubble which says: communication is key!
Yesterday I took Django to the vets as he has been itchy and chewing himself. I was really worried as to what could be wrong. Fully prepared for the possibility of an allergy test, pharma medications, imaging…
Our vet team is absolutely brilliant and they are so helpful and make us feel safe. This was Django's first time at the new vets surgery yesterday and he was made to feel welcome and safe which is really important.
The vet took his time with Django allowing Django to acclimatise, he watched his movements and asked lots of questions. Then listened to my worries and gave a diagnosis and possible treatment options.
The vet was quick, gentle, assisted by a team member and allowed us to comfort Django and support him as he needed.
The vet explained how the next 48 hours will be and then to observe for the next three weeks and a follow up option too.
He then explained that Django will need to come in regularly for checks to monitor him for the future now that his anal glands have been expressed.
They also give information as to why they do what they do, for example antibiotics and how the antibiotics work.
Good vets really have patient care at the centre of their work and make the patient feel safe and secure despite uncomfortable treatments.
6 month regular checks are really helpful for your vet to get to know your dog and create a baseline of what is normal behaviours for your dog, their diet, environment and routine. So that when the day comes when something could be wrong, just like your own doctor your vet knows your dog too as well as you!
Image description: A pale blue background of an infographic. The title reads: The importance of veterinary checks in white. There is an orange paw in the background.
The subtitle reads: what to seek in a veterinary check.
The main body of text reads: Your vet will see your dog promptly
The vet will ask questions to make an assessment
the vet will listen to your answers
They will allow your dog to acclimatise to them and the clinic before touching your dog
They will allow the use of collaborative care
They will discuss possible diagnosis and the treatments
They will give a choice to you in the treatment routes
Vet will observe your dog's movement and also ask or be interested in any videos of the behaviour as it occurs naturally as to your concerns
They will ask about diet, environment, any changes, current treatments, for example worming and flea treatment
The second main body of text to the right reads: a Vet check is more than a booster appointment
a Vet check should be routinely done every 6 months or sooner if your dog has a problem
A Vet will be keen to discuss with you the Helsinki pain scale, a possibility of a pain trial if needed
A follow up consultation following the treatment
To the bottom left is a Wolfdog with his mouth open next to a treat bag. The background has been removed.
YouTube audio link: 5 minutes 45 seconds duration. https://youtu.be/yo2MTKJevwU?si=Kh2thabD4VmEaSWb
“We are all geniuses but if you judge a fish to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”
Prey drive is a fundamental behaviour for many breeds of dogs, prey drive is a simple behavioural pattern of chasing and capturing prey. Humans have selected bred dogs to still be able to hunt with the human and for the human needs but breeding out of the prey drive behaviours. (1)
There are many herding and hunting breeds who share a couch with you. Do you know and understand the heritability and genetic traits of your dog? In other words, do you know what your dog was originally bred for? Historically. Not the line from the breeder but the original reason? It's surprising how many people aren't aware.
I want to raise awareness that the dog we share our couch with is in fact a predator, a skilled hunter and has phenomenal scent detection skills. Understanding and nodding to our dogs history and the original reason for their breeding is a sign of respect and understanding of their biological needs.
Do we need to correct a behaviour or make the dog cut it out or curb the behaviour? (Shudder). No, absolutely not. We need to say: “Hey, I share my home with a predator. I may also share my home with a cat (another predator), a hedgehog (another predator), a reptile (another predator), a rabbit (prey), a mouse (prey)...
It's really important that we understand the species of the animal we share our home with. We need to understand and appreciate their behaviour. Humans get away with lots of behaviours others may find annoying, irritating, anxiety inducing or just plain unpleasant.
People are not biologically programmed to be unkind or hurtful yet many are. We cannot compare an animal to a human and apply human ideologies and expectations onto a dog or any animal we share our home with.
This very much brings Albert Einstein’s quote to mind: “We are all geniuses but if you judge a fish to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”
Ergo if we deny our dogs their species and biological needs, you're going to have one very frustrated and possibly ill dog (as illness in dogs can and is caused by stress) and one strung out and frustrated human.
Think of it this way. As much as we try to, we as professionals just cannot convince the general public dogs are not related to wolves. The scientist who said this even back tracked himself, very publicly.
Our dogs however are still predators in their own right, look at the toys we are offered. Squeaky toy. (Prey). Tug. (Prey). Giggly balls. (Prey). Kongs, Kong wobbles, giros… All prey. Soda pup, again prey. Because even enrichment meets a sequence of the prey drive sequence of the dissect and consume process.
We buy toys to meet our dogs needs, even if you do dog sports you are still illociting the behaviour for the reward at the end in many cases is a ball, a tug, something to grab and bite and depending on your style, dissect and kill. In normal food reward based training, the dog does a behaviour and possibly a behaviour sequence and is rewarded with food!
There are so many ways to work with prey drive without any aversive or compulsion based tools or unkind methods.
When your dog chases birds, rabbits, squirrels this causes them to have a dopamine rush and it doesn't matter what you say that high is euphoric and causes extreme enjoyment. Just as humans also experience. You wouldn't want to be interrupted during a high and euphoric moment either.
If your dog has no recall or you worry they will chase, use a long line, you have the freedom of the radius of the long line but ultimately your dog is safe and you are both going home without vet bills, a dog warden visit or worse.
We have lots of games and tutorials on our YouTube channel https://youtu.be/En1SGEfcmuw?si=2WGH58TJdciFYV53 you can use these resources to learn from and to train your dog. They have text to speech to help viewers and you can visit them as many times as you like.
Siniscalchi M, Bertino D, d'Ingeo S, Quaranta A. Relationship between motor laterality and aggressive behavior in sheepdogs. Symmetry. (2019) 11:233. doi: 10.3390/sym11020233
Image description: A three window comic panel which is grey. The title reads: prey drive and livestock force and fear free solutions.
The first window is of a Wolfdog chasing sheep on a country hillside. With a blue and yellow sky. The text box reads: You don't need an e collar to stop this behaviour, but a little bit of common sense and a responsibility.
The second window is of a wolfdog running in a secure dog field. With a blue sky background. There is a fence and tufts of grass growing by the fence.
The text box reads: utilise enclosed dog fields, long lines and check fields for livestock. Avoid fields with livestock.
The third bottom window is of a Wheelchair user with blonde, pink, purple ombre hair sat in a Wheelchair with a Wolfdog either side engaging with a backdrop of a sheep herd on fields with a blue sky in the distance. The text box reads: working on predation substitute training and work on stimuli which triggers a prey chase behaviour.
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