workshops

NEW! Canine Body Language Workshop

This is the course your Dog wants you to take!!

Taunton        25/01/20     10:00-2:30               £55

Happy L longrun

Would you like to know what it is your dog is saying?   Canine Communication is intricate and fascinating.

This 5*  4.5 hour workshop in conjunction with the Dog Training College is coming to Taunton the only venue in the Somerset, Avon, North Devon area.

Workshop Overview

Learning how to read and interpret subtle body language and facial expression will allow us to understand what a dog is really trying to tell us.

Being able to read a dog will allow you to understand and even predict canine behaviour.

This fascinating subject will open up a whole new way of communicating with your dog that you may not even have realised was possible. You will truly begin to speak dog.

Does a dog lying on its back really want a belly rub?

Is a wagging tail a sign of a happy dog?

Can dogs feel guilt?

This course will begin to answer some of the most misunderstood canine behaviours and as a result will change the way you interact with dogs forever.

Discounts available for Pet Professionals and Rescues.

Also available at special rates for rescues and groups to host.

 

 

Upcoming Events Autumn 2019

Autumn Workshops – Fireworks

flyer 01firework flyer

Autumn Workshops

Following on from the hugely successful Anxious But Awesome and the great feedback from the presenetaions of Canine Body Language and Reative Rascals for the Dog Training College, for whom I am an approved instructor and an approved and licenced  trainer I have devloped a suite of workshops for the Autumn on a range of topics.

They are all suitable for both Pet Guardians and Pet Professionals, everyone is welcome. The sessions are interactive and based upon up to date research and information. They integrate a wide range of holistic training, behaviour and therapeutic approaches from dfferent angles.

All workshops are based in Trull Church Community Centre Taunton Somerset just 10mins from J26 of M5 (Wellington). There is ample parking nearby. Lunch is not provided but Drinks  and snacks will be available.

To find out more please contact me at

Peacefulpawstherapy@gmail.com

The Firework session is Monday 16th September and will look at how to support the dog to feel safer with novel noise (so is suitable for a range of issues around noise). This will include the use of a training plan to work with feeling safer with noise and also a set of activities, exercises and games for settling and calming around the expected noisy times. This wil be supported by information on a range of therapeutic approaches.

For the further Workshops more details will follow.

 

 

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Help! My dog is a Fearful Fido, Anxious Annie, Grumpy Genghis.

Actually my boy IS Grumpy Genghis! He is also a fearful Fido and Anxious Annie, all these apply to him at different times. He has been called REACTIVE or I label him with the term “Having reactive behaviours”. This is not really very useful, everyone has a different vision of what reactive means, looks like, why it occurs, what should be done to “stop it” .

His behaviour is actually an expression of an emotional state. An emotion in that moment, or linked to past emotional responses which build and have become anxiety and stress.

The why is less important than the how can we help him. It is however useful to know, as it can explain the nuances of his specific responses. His very strong fear of black dogs, of Labradors. This is likely to be the type of dog which he had a one off encounter with and which began his journey from happy friendly young dog, to a dog who is fearful of the world.

So how can we help dogs like Genghis who have struggled to come to terms with an event which made him fearful and anxious ? Who look from the outside aggressive, angry, dangerous.

Getting some professional help is key. As is finding like minded skilled and knowledgeable friends. Supporting a fearful dog  is isolating and emotionally draining. It is embarrassing being at the other end of a lead to a snarling, shouting, lunging dog or one who is cowering , too scared to move, or barking and backing away, as people TUT and suggest you muzzle or don’t go to places nice dogs go, who suggest you take control and show him who is boss. None of this is supportive or helpful, but luckily many of those comments are borne of the ignorance of what is actually happening, I was once that person.

What  does the term “Reactive Behaviour mean? It is simply a response to something that is out of proportion to the level of threat or excitement. This can include lunging barking growling snapping biting, it can include freezing or rolling over, it can include super excitement or frustration.

How can we help ? Help our own fearful anxious and grumpy, over responsive  dogs , but also help those who encounter us to understand the everyday struggles we have?

The Yellow Dog Scheme can get the message out, dogs wearing yellow ribbons or leads indicate a give me space. Space is the most important every dogs space need is different, so when asked to STOP or you see someone gently but quickly moving their dog away, please keep your dog away so we can keep ours emotionally safe.

For those of us supporting a grumpy  fearful, anxious dog  or their people, there are a huge range of ways to help.

  • Behaviour support from a knowledgeable skilled positive focused trainer or behaviour consultant. to assess your partnership and tweak some handling skills, offer ideas for helping the emotional response, offer you some emotional support too.
  • Learning about the biology of the emotional and physical responses. the neurology of reactive behaviours
  • Understanding THIS dog, Be your dogs GEEK.
  • Understand the nuances of Canine Communication and Body Language so you can hear rhe dogs messages but also, most importantly, read the communication of other dogs you encounter, to make that decision to move away fast or to ask for the owners support.
  • Advocate for the dog.
  • Offer masses of chances to have calmness (see the blog Calm Dogs are Happy Dogs) . Did you know it can take 72 hours for a dog to recover from an event? Us too!
  • Learn some games and activities at home , in a safe place, to play in tricky situations.
  • Offer alternatives to walks regularly, have fun at home, play games, do some fitness fun, have some forage and snuffle time, learn some scenting techniques, learn some more cues or tricks. 15 mins fun or sniffing or foraging is as tiring as an hours walk, add in some fitness activities and you will have a less worried and fit dog, without adding to their anxiety bucket.
  • Find your local Secure Field for safe off lead fun.
  • Find out and use some of the many holistic therapies and practices that can ease anxiety and tension, such as TTouch, K9 Massage, Herbal Support, Bach Flower remedies, Botanical Self Selection.

If you would like to know more and are local or can travel to Somerset I will be offering a whole day workshop to help you understand more about all I have summarised. This will be especially helpful for professionals in all dog services to learn more about Scaredy dogs so they can help them and their families to be safe.

Please contact me for more information.

If you would like specialist , experienced 1-1 support or just a chat  with someone who understands, about your dog or one you work with, then I offer face to face meetings or a skype or electronic session then have a look at the Services. I am happy to have an initial chat and offer some general help too.

puppy nipping

Puppy nipping

 

I read so many pleas for help in the Breed Groups and other local dog forums  I belong to. They are responded to with well-meaning but often outdated, amateur advice, which often could be emotionally harmful for the puppy but particularly dangerous if there are children involved, which there often are. I will not discuss those methods as the positive ones below will ensure there is no need to scare or be unkind to your puppy.

Puppy nipping is a normal part of puppy development and all puppies go through this stage, some more so than others. It is a way of communicating, albeit in an unsophisticated way. We find it hard to read what they are telling us subtly and so they ramp up to a full on message giving.

I fostered (I failed, she stayed ) my Lola as a result of being a particularly bad Pirhana puppy, I know exactly how it feels to have your fun, much loved, adorable puppy become some manic horrible growly being.

baby genghis
It is horrible, isn’t it?

But the thing to remember is that 99% teething pain… puppy biting is pain relief … it is us that makes it a game for them by squealing and jumping around and the fun makes them feel better, takes their mind off the pain or provides a limb to bite down on for pain relief, so they play more. (Like us with toothache, we feel better when we have something to occupy us, to detract from the pain, especially when the alternative is something that makes us happy or excited, releasing emotionally,  the “happy hormones”. However, for pups it is just them dealing with pain, releasing that feel good emotion. So address the pain first and the need to bite, to relieve it

How do we provide pain relief? Some great ideas are : supervised frozen carrots or other dog appropriate veg or fruit  , frozen rope toys, frozen kongs or ice lollies. Try getting a sock wet it and freeze it, or use a tea towel or flannel… all these things can be swapped for what they find easily available …YOU!

Pups need CALM

LOTS of calm; a chance to chill out.

Being over tired and over stimulated is the other reason for what seems like total “manic” behaviour. Like young children without proper sleep and a calm environment for rest time puppy brains become overloaded and they get “cranky”.

Puppies need around 18-20 hours a day of sleep and calmness. This is imperative to empty out the build up of hormones from the excitement of having fun,  and exploring their world, but also to digest their food, and process their learning. Without the rest time, learning can be inhibited and a puppy can seem to be “hard to train” or “wilful”, but mostly they are overtired and need some time to rest.

In a busy or noisy household this is difficult for them to achieve, they need us to guide them. There is a great blog on achieving calm here https://peacefulpawstherapy.com/blog . Following these guidelines will significantly impact on the intensity of the biting phase.

lola resting on a table

Learning and training support
This is a really good time to learn the best way to manage a dog who is pestering or has bad manners or seems aggressive (puppies are NOT being aggressive, wilful  or dominant!) a good trainer with up to date puppy knowledge is really helpful as a specialist puppy classes.

Attention seeking

All attention is good for puppies, good or bad repercussions, they have achieved being noticed!  They want to be noticed and entertained. Unfortunately their idea of entertainment is not in line with human expectations!

If you have children or people who find the jumping and nipping challenging or who don’t understand how to consistently prevent the attention giving,  then the kids bite prevention programes are easy and fun to learn and they remove attention until the puppy offers the behaviour we find acceptable. The Doggone Safe “be a tree” programme is great .  https://doggonesafe.com/Be-A-Tree

Any attention is good attention for a dog, touch, eye contact and especially verbal responses, they have no idea what we are saying so they tune in to work it out (more attention giving!) Being still, silent and no eye contact is boring for them, removing the attention removes the response. NOTE they will get worse before it improves , testing to get the attention before they get fed up and  leave to do something else or are distracted for another wanted behaviour. So ANY noise “ouch” , “squeals” , “shouting” , “shaking limbs” is all attention and worse raises the  excitement and sense of fun, and ultimately is a positive thing for them, turning their misery into great  fun, remember that fun raises happy hormones and makes them feel great!

So be still and silent, wait for the pup to give up and begin a behaviour you DO want: a  toy, some  low energy play or a legal chew or just sitting wondering what next, THEN give attention. Another person could offer a distraction with a “legal” toy or quiet and still game or calm chew.
If you have a really, really persistent pup, like I did with Lola, and when she is in pain she returns to this behaviour, and if small children, who are difficult to get to be still and silent, or be consistent cant keep to the no attention (this is what happened with Lola)   then the following  is my “go to” last resort .
Get a “houseline” from a pet shop or amazon , it is a thin long line. Only ever use this supervised and it must be very careful managed (and obviously with children, the puppy and children are never together unsupervised).
– Attach the line to the collar.
– When the puppy begins the biting behaviour just pick up the line gently,  with no words or attention and walk out of the room.

– Lead pup to the quiet safe place that is theirs and they are not disturbed by kids easily … not necessarily their bed.

– Give a pain reliever … and praise them calm and very quietly for engaging with it, they may only be there nanoseconds. It takes a while and commitment and patience to teach this self calming behaviour.
– When they choose to get out of the safe place  and return to the family time that is fine , we lead them there but they choose when they are ready to be back with us.

THIS IS NOT A PUNISHMENT ! it should be a pleasurable alternative to choose, done with patience and kindness, B+NEVER use a safe place as a punishment.

Every time the behaviour begins again, lead back and offer a legal chew, supervised if possible but no engagement . It may take 5 or 10 repetitions at the worst times this is usually when everyone is home and running around or playing or chatting and again in the evening.
But being consistent can have a pup calmer faster.

CALM, CALM and more CALM!
Persistent “mad” pups are usually not getting enough sleep and general rest. Pups need at least 20 hours each day until around 8months  – 1  year old  as they are growing so fast .  If your pup is not getting this, then you need to provide  more nap, or rest times, we often need to proactively manage this . Teaching a dog calm behaviours in a place that is theirs is one of the most important things we can teach them. This blog explains in detail how to achieve calm and why it is vital. https://peacefulpawstherapy.com/blog .

tilly crate rest

Boredom

Sometimes pups become over excited and bitey because they are understimulated. Or over stimulated in a way that is too exciting. In recent years there has been a blossoming of ways to enrich, engage and also promote learning as well as tire out all dogs.

Enrichment activities

The FB group Canine Enrichment has endless ideas, I really recommend a visit! https://www.facebook.com/groups/canineenrichment

Snuffle mats are popular with our crew, easily made with a fluffy bath mat with a scattering or yummy crumbly food like tuna cake or crushed doggy treats or grated cheese.

We also love to recycle recycling !! Save those amazon boxes, packaging paper and bubble wrap  milk bottles, little boxes, and put them all together, throw in a handful of kibble from their dinner or a little bit of roast chicken or sausage , get a cuppa and leave them to it !

Scent games such as hiding bits of food around are much loved. There are lots of focussed scent games around on the internet now.

A Kong with different textures and tastes each time  is a great resource as well as the tasting plates many new training methods include, a chance to have bite sized pieces of new foods.

Training

A great training school is a fabulous resource, especially one which is  modern games based with enrichment and confidence building focus, alongside the usual manners learning.

Some trainers now offer a pre vaccination visit to prepare for puppy classes meeting the specific needs of your family.

Some time spent learning fun games and tricks (remember the happy hormones?) and practicing manners such as recall and walk manners can be worth a good hour of physical time and is deeply relaxing and tiring.

Play

Offer a range of interactive play time at both high energy and low energy is important, and needs careful planning. Limit too many toys and use special ones for focus special toy time

FINALLY ! Routines

A routine for play, rest, food , toilet and  sleep is really important , this will help all the little niggles with settling a puppy!

MOSTLY – HAVE FUN !

For further support please visit the Peaceful Paws FB page https://www.facebook.com/peacefulpawstherapy

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Firework and Seasonal Celebration Support


fireworks

My dog is scared of fireworks (and other noises) and help for other seasonal events

Why do some dogs feel firework fear?

  • For some the noise and also the concussivness of modern fireworks is scary, initiating a biological fear response.
  • This can happen any time with any dog, even if they have been ok before.
  • The “ noise” can physically cause discomfort as the dog is sensitive to the air waves, the ground conclusiveness as well as the sound . Dogs hear 4x the distance we do. They pick up higher frequencies than us and the pitch can be excruciating.
  • They are erratic and unpredictable, both within a specific display and between displays ( which now happen from October to January . They seem to stop and then start up .. often louder or a different sound . it is the unpredictability which is so scary.
  • Dogs who are easily sound spooked are more likely to become firework fearful.
  • Managed Exposure and a programme can help young dogs and puppies manage the range of novel sound better.
  • NEVER “flood” by forcing them to watch
  • The more confident the dog is in the first exposure or in subsequent ones the more “bombroof” they will be. This is true of subsequent events, the happier the dog is the easier they will cope.
  • Dogs who are generally anxious or fearful will cope less well with novel sounds.
  • Dogs with any pain or who are unwell will cope less well .
  • The emotional state in the household around this time also impacts, try to be calm and jolly, if others are responding to the noise fearfully or if there has been stress and anxiety generally could add to the anxiety.
  • What does fear look like ?
    A dogs trust survey found 72% of dogs were adversely affected with 10 % seriously impacted.

What does canine fear and anxiety ( stress) look like?

  •  Lip licking, yawning
  • Panting when no exercise or not over heated
  • Refusing food
  • Being “naughty” or “stubborn” (refusing to listen or obey)
  • Very flighty or over excited, easily goes “over the top”
  • Trembling , shaking or drooling
  • Barking whining howling
  • Clingy, or wanting to hide away
  • Seeking touch when usually not keen to be handled or refusing touch when usually snugly
  • Cowering
  • Being destructive
  • Urinating defecating or vomiting for no obvious cause

Learn to read what is usual for your dog. What is their normal behaviour or response to the environment, what is their default like? Learn to read body language .

How can we help?

You cannot reinforce fear by offering appropriate support, If your dog seeks comfort give it, if they seek solitude enable it with your support .

  • Make sure all health conditions are under control, both physical and emotional , pain can impact fear thresholds . Get a vet check , especially ears.
  • Make a Plan
  • Get the whole family and any friends and neighbours involved. Share the plan so everyone knows .
  • Check up on local displays and note the times and days. Local FB groups can be helpful here. If you know local neighbours always have a party or use them on other winter occasions visit and explain if possible and ask for some warning so you can put your plan into action.
  • Change your walk plan if you usually walk in the evening in the winter. Go during the daylight hours (before 16:00 ) or early morning. If this is not possible then miss walks for a few days around this time – don’t be caught out it could have a detrimental impact.
  • If you have to go out use a double lead on collar and harness in case dogs slips out in their fear and flight. Do not let off lead at all.
  • If you have low gates and fences make sure you go into the garden on a lead … try and get the after dinner poo and pee done early, feed early (or use in games … see below)
  • Try not to leave your dog home alone, if this is not possible then make sure your plan includes how you will enable them to be safe without your support. Or arrange for a sitter who knows the plan
  • Plan for being engaged with your dog on the main display days (this is usually between 17:00 and 23:00 )

What to include in your plan

calm games snuffle box

 

Some music –

Consider a therapeutic option – remember there will be a range of what your dogs may respond to, what works for one will not for another, this is because their emotion is different in each case.

I RECOMMEND A  CHECK WITH A VET: ESPECIALLY  IF YOUR DOG HAS OTHER MEDICATIONS OR CONDITIONS

 

  • Bach rescue remedy – very effective for most animals (including us) it is not necessary to have the more extensive dog version. It works with fear of both known and unknown origin and shock.
    Botanical selections, specifically oils.
  • BE CAREFUL – do not vaporise, do not add to the dog, or its bedding (use a separate cloth the dog can choose to engage with
  • make sure there is an exit.
  • Do not use with children under 3 or pups under 6 months.

G self selection powders

 

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Other options

  • consult a vet for clinical support
  • zyclene is often recommended by vets as is nutricalm. ask your vet for information.
  • Tranquil Blend by Hedgerow hounds can help if given a loading  dose usually several weeks
  • skullcap and valerian and st johns wort from Dorwest can also be useful, needing a loading  time of several weeks.

For any further help please contact me:
peacefulpawstherapy@gmail.com @peacefulpawstherapy (FB)
https://peacefulpawstherapy.com

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Virtual Consultations

NEW SERVICE

After a many requests and a good deal of successful voluntary electronic support across the UK and indeed globe I have decided to offer a virtual service.

The Electronic Consultation  can cover Training, Therapy or Integrated  Training and Bach/Distance Reiki and Healing).

Following  an in depth written consultation from the Guardian, there will be a discussion around the issues raised. This can be done in a format chosen by the Client, including: email, Skype, Personal Message, WhatsApp or phone.

The initial Consultation will take around and hour for planning and up to an hour discussion at an agreed time. Following this we will put a plan together to initiate the Training and or Therapy.

There will be an open contact via email or PM throughout the following week where the client can share success and further challenge, including video and photos.

There will be 3 following formal  weekly checki-ns; at each the progress will be assessed and the plan modified as needed.

There will be an option for booking further ongoing support.

In some cases (within 1 hour drive of Taunton) it may be useful for a meet up in person. Travel expenses will be charged .

PLEASE NOTE:

  • This service is not suitable for deep behaviour issues and any that seem outside the remit of this service will be referred to a Behaviourist.
  • Common training issues can be covered.
  • Without the personal input , in line with the agreed plan,  progress will be limited.
  • Some needs can not be supported electronically in some cases,.

 

llw focus meme