It's All About Education

Contact - Allen Dye



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You think your dogs behavior is strange.
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 There are many skills that one needs to master if you want to really learn about dogs and their individuality. One of the two most important in my opinion, is the skill of observation. Dogs communicate in two way's, Vibe and Body Language. Start practicing to further develop your observation skills. Learn to get past the distractions and hone in on what's important. The messages sent between dogs are subtle and quiet. If you aren't focused in on them at the moment, you will never see it. So many times people tell me it just erupted out of thin air. They were fine and then they were at each others throats. Well that is just how long it takes sometimes, a split second. Anyone ever flip you the finger and boom. Well, dogs obviously aren't giving each other the finger but they have their ways. The only way to learn is to observe and log it in. Their movements, eye contact, ear position, tail position. Every aspect of their appearance is used to communicate. It's theater and you need to learn to interpret what you see.

I used to use fast snap photography to help me freeze the moment and then go back and study the photo's forensically. In this section I am going to display some of those sequences, that I have saved over the years and put a brief explanation or category to them. So many people ask me, "how do I know they are decompressing" "is this healthy play, it looks like they are fighting"?  "Where do I stop the play so it does not get too rough"?  "Are they angry or is this normal"?  "What does it mean when they do this?" "He is running around like he is crazy it's like a pin ball machine." The confusion and misunderstanding is real. Just as if you were being spoken to in a foreign language, and you are. You need to be able to discipline and discourage what is unwanted, as well as encourage what is wanted and to be understanding of their needs, at the same time. The only way to successfully do this, is to really understand the messages they are sending. It allows the dogs more freedom with control from you and gives you peace of mind, that you know what is going on and have control over it. OBSERVATION IS THE KEY!

When you view these photo's, you're not looking at them as if they were someones vacation photos. I am talking about zooming in and forensically dissecting what you see. The finest details that you can sift out. This is how you learn to read them!

 Pooch loved to engage in this behavior. She is disguising her scent by rolling in something stinky. This behavior is still being practiced today by many of our dogs. It comes from the days when their ancestors were hunting every day for food. Think about it, if you were a deer in the woods, what would scare you off? The smell of Squirrel Pee on the wind, or a Wolf!?!

Decompression comes in several stages and is essential to rehabilitating a dog that is out of balance and is acting out behaviorally. It is also a very important component needed to keep your dog happy and fulfilled, both physically and mentally. Like us, your dog needs a chance to be themselves, do what dogs do and enjoy doing it, free of the human constraints they always live under. I know if I don't get a vacation once in a while and decompress, I can get a little cranky and act out myself. Remember that your dog needs to decompress occasionally as well. Like us, the more the better. Below are some key elements that I use often in decompression. Always honor the individual dog you're working with and know what they like.
Unbridled Freedom To Explore
Having the opportunity to just be free and uncensored (if you will), is an amazing experience for most dogs and a key ingredient in the process of decompression. Let them get back to nature with as little human involvement as possible. You will notice that these dogs are alone without other dogs to interact with. This is about unwinding, stress relief, being comfortable and relaxed in their own skin. You will see uncontrolled running and extreme bursts of energy that are involuntary in nature. They are a reaction to burning off the toxic adrenaline-like chemical that they store for emergency energy. This is just part of who they are physically. These bursts are a mechanism of self medication if you will. It burns the chemical off so they can relax and think clearly and calmly. Other dogs may feel threatened by this and react negatively to the energy the dog is putting off. That is why it is best to let them do this alone. This is my first step in Rehabilitation.  
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Herding is natural to all dogs. It is how they control others movements. Give them the challenge without the sheep, cows or other dogs.
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Water and Swimming
Having access to water is a tremendous advantage in the decompression process. It ranges from helping them to gain confidence, to extremely tiring and challenging exercise. Water, being four times denser than air, it provides the opportunity to drain their energy four times faster. If you live in warm climates, it also provides soothing comfort and cooling. The water is something that most dogs don't get every day and they love it. It is natural for all dogs to swim. although we have made it difficult for some breeds in the way we have manipulated their body type, via selective breeding.
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Ever wonder why dogs are uncomfortable around pools but ok if you put them next to a pond or stream? It is all about the visual. This collage illustrates the surprise that the surface is not solid. Observation will tell you the answer!
Socializing their dogs is another huge area of concern and questions from my clients. Their biggest fears are of conflict or confrontation between their dog and another anything, be it human, cat, squirrel or another dog. Dogs need to be around their own kind and form relationships and enjoy being around each other. If your dog is going to live any kind of true, deep fulfillment, start socializing them as soon as they come into your life. For your well being, but most importantly to me, their well being. The sequences in this section show you dogs meeting for the first time and getting to know one another. I always look at the dogs involved before deciding how to proceed, if one has had trouble socializing in the past. I do like to start in close quarters some of the time, but also choose to walk many dogs side by side before going in-doors. This is where observation comes into play. Log in the details of what you have seen and your instincts will begin to tell you who the dog really is and you honor that in your work with them. I have never gone wrong by walking dogs side by side gradually getting closer as we walk, until we are right next to each other. In their wild life as dogs or wolves, they never travel or walk with the enemy. The idea of getting them to walk side by side is to give them a feeling of comfort and kinship with the other dog. Part of the same pack migrating to a common goal. I then like to take the other dogs leash from it's owner and walk them both together. This unites them under a common leader (really same pack now). Dog Psychology! 
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Once your dog is decompressed and socialized to a point of you feeling comfortable with their behavior and your control over it, It's time for them to play. All of the sequences and individual photos shown here are of dogs playing. All healthy fun play. The one thing that you won't get from these photos is sound. Expect that they can growl a little and that it's ok. Important thing to remember here is stop it early, not after a fight. I always listen and watch, if it starts to get too loud or they start opening their mouths and display teeth, that is where I draw the line and calm things down by taking control. Discipline and they will stop and play less rough. Be consistent with where you stop it, as they will learn the boundaries and not go past, like kids indoors on a rainy day.
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Photo Study
In this section I have randomly chosen some photo's to study. By that I mean to expand them and study closely. Look at details in eyes, ears mouth, body, and tail.
This may seem silly but believe me when I tell you that the only way to read them, is to learn to observe closely and be able to recognize what you are seeing. The best way to get this quickly is to start practicing. Study photos like these and all others that you can find. Look at the whole picture and put yourself in the dogs place. Apply what you have learned here. What do you see? What does it tell you? 
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Rehabilitate                        Contact- Allen Dye

Retrain                                Phone - 321-508-7551

Reintroduce                              E-mail - wadye@juno.com



      "You will be so glad you did"