10 Essential Rules of
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act but a habit"
We realized there are some very basic, easy habits that make a world of difference to know and practice when sharing life with dogs! Mostly all are second nature to us who spend every day all day with dogs .. maybe some are already familiar to you but we like reminders to keep us on track! Side benefit ..dogs are always very impressed and grateful when humans get the rules!! Bonds deepen, bummers lessen and fun abounds!!!
1) ALWAYS Invite dog to join you, permit dog to come, explore and show you what he wants to share. Chasing a dog not a good practice!
2) ALWAYS leave open space around and between you and the dog. Chin up, shoulders back create an inviting space for the dog to freely move in and out at they feel they need too without feeling trapped and hovered over. Make sure dog has a way to increase distance if she chooses to.
3) Be calm and welcoming & not at all intrusive to dogs space. Dogs find common human movements like staring, hugging, leaning over, reaching out, petting atop the head threatening. Avoid reaching out to dog, hovering over dog, staring at dog.
4) 3 Second Pet Rule. If things are going well offer a scratch under her chin or on the side of her neck. STOP petting after 3 seconds to allow the dog to assess their own comfort level. Does she seek your hand? Continue punctuating the affection with little pauses. If dog moves off she's showing you that's all she cares for at the moment. Let her go.. she'll seek affection when she is comfortable to do so.
5) TRADE don't TAKE. If you wish to play fetch but dog doesn't want to drop the ball...or maybe you need to get a forbidden food out of your dogs mouth. Offer something better! Trade up and when dog drops the ball say good drop and reward with another ball toss or a delicious treat. You can also "change the channel" by grabbing to dogs leash and asking if they want to go for a walk!
6) ALWAYS Avoid startling a sleeping dog. Not all dogs can be easily awakened. Some get stuck in a unconscious state and might not be awake enough to realize its you. He might reflexively growl, snap or bite! Keep some distance softly use a calm voice to wake your dog allow him to get up.. stretch, shake and fully wake up. Let him come to you!
8) During any type of conflict ALWAYS Keep calm, voice happy and invitational. If you find yourself in a situation where tensions are rising, distract dog and dilute tension with your voice, some wonderful or startling yet neutral sound (shake a bag of treats, clap hands, drop a pot..) Think of increasing distance between dog and source of negative excitement.
7) ALWAYS Allow dog to reliably have her space, her dinner, her bone in peace. Do not and keep your kids from going inside her crate, moving in on her while she's eating or enjoying a chew. Respect and teach respect to your kids.
9) Be thoughtful about what you ask your dog to tolerate. Don't expect your dog to like or even tolerate everything you do. A houseful of guests might not feel like a safe fun environment! Children hugging dog looks cute but feels threatening to dog.
10)Never punish a growl! Its a very important and necessary communication that simply means "give me space". A bite or a snap might likely follow an unheeded growl. Its dogs desperate plea for distance between him and whatever he's freaked out about. Please pay attention and listen to the growl!
THESE TWO ARE GOOD FRIENDS. They choose to lie together with lots of contact though they have a large bed to stretch out on! They enjoy connection. Both are calm an d observing something that interests them.
Same friends enjoying warm contact. Third dog GIDDY behind them is near but only seeks physical connection with white dog OSCAR when he isn't near Lana. She's a bosses Giddy!
Notice dog below Gabel has some body language happening that could easily and understandably be misread Some might think he is smiling and happy. He isn't.. he is petrified! He's panting with fear, his eye shows "whale eye" which indicates stress and worry.His ears are tightly drawn back and his whole body is moving away from person taking photo and attempting to become a part of the tree!! He has taken up as much distance as the leash allowed!