3 elemental parenting techniques from the mother and father dog!

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If you want to be just another moron that “works” their dog and molds their relationship into one of employer and employee these 3 incredible, primal and instinctual techniques are not for you. You should probably just busy yourself with endless motivation, however fleeting, and with consistent reinforcement however immature and unnatural. For the rest of you readers though, for you the curious and open-minded, for you the creative, for you the students of nature’s ways and the way of the dog, I will now reveal to you what EVERY normally-functioning parent dog on the face of the earth uses to properly raise their puppies into mature adulthood.

Maturity, my friends, is key. It is also incredibly rare among domestic dogs because masses of dog owners don’t even know what maturity in a dog looks like. How many of you have ever gone to pet and scratch a dog and the dog sees it coming and then skyrockets its energy? This is so common it has become the standard greeting from dog to mankind. I say this energy-raising is pathetic and unnatural. I say unnatural because all older dogs on the earth teach younger ones that their high energy is, in most cases, unwanted and wasteful. Amongst wild canids a waster of energy will die if they continue to waste their energy. Domestication has given our dogs food, shelter, and water (basically meeting all their needs and so many of them no longer are skilled at decision making or at any sort of self control or energy control. Many dogs are just immature fools that many owners bribe or scold in exchange for frivolous tricks. To be frank the whole thing is stupid when viewed through the eyes of nature and natural parenting.

The 3 elemental parenting techniques come to us direct from the mother and father dog. The sire and the dam. My lucubrations and keen observations over almost two decades have lead me to this simplification of proper dog parenting. These 3 parenting techniques will be featured in another upcoming book (my fourth book) after completion of my third book because the Garrett Stevens Method utilizes these 3 techniques with every dog we work with! That is how important I believe them to be. They are elemental. They are instinctual among all dogs. They can be consistently observed among all canines. And they sure help when trying to teach a dog or puppy to calm down and make better choices behaviorally-speaking!

  1. IGNORE – Ignoring is something all balanced, older dogs master. Ignoring speaks of trust within a relationship between mama dog and her pups because mama dog only has so much energy and attention to give to her many, rapidly growing puppies. Playing hard to get is an instinctual move that females of many species have employed for millennia. Ignoring gives puppies freedom to explore and make mistakes. It also can communicate how uninterested the older dog is in the pup’s wayward (too high) energy levels. Ignoring leads a wayward dog into calmness and proper energy. Compare and contrast this elemental ignoring technique from the parent dogs with how almost every dog-lover on the planet does the exact opposite and showers foolish dogs with constant eye-contact and attention (this then leads to a host of horrible behavior problems).
  2. ADDRESS – Addressing is something all balanced, older dogs master. Addressing speaks of respect within a relationship between mama dog and her pups because mama dog only has so much energy and attention to give to her many, rapidly growing puppies. Addressing is when older dogs take on the mantel of referee and blow the whistle on improper energy amongst the group of puppies. Addressing, as an elemental and instinctual behavior among canines, is needed for a pup’s development and for any new rescue dog entering the home. So many dogs and pups out there are asking for proper addressing of their poor behavior – they’re asking for boundaries so they can feel secure navigating the world. They’re asking for leadership from their owners. Dogs cannot initially lower their energy on their own so the pack is there to ignore or address the situation and, in this way, pups eventual learn self-soothing and self control. But initially the pressure of proper addressing must be put on the immature animal from a caring, older pack member. Addressing (when done properly) leads a wayward dog into calmness and proper energy. Compare and contrast this elemental addressing technique from the parent dogs with how many a pro training or behavioral company instruct their clients to never disagree with their dogs.
  3. PLAY – Playing is something all balanced, older dogs master. Playing speaks of new learning and discovery. It also speaks of release of energy just like the other two elemental techniques do! A clever observer can spot skilled dogs releasing and dispersing energy all the time. Play also affords a young dog many an opportunity to make mistakes and correct their mistakes by way of touch, space, and movement as they romp around with another dog or person. All predatory mammals play before they learn to hunt and kill. Killing (even for the tiger or the orca) is NOT instinctual. Play is. The smarter the dog or person the more playful they are – don’t blame me if you’re boring and non-playful – all the science in the world says play leads to further intelligence and discovery. Playing (when done properly) renews social bonds, builds muscles, builds language skills, and preps dogs to hunt and fight and, if needed to kill. The beginning of play is excitement – the end of play is calmness.

These 3 elemental parenting techniques will greatly aid anyone looking to raise a new pup or behaviorally rehab an aggressive monster dog with a horrific past. These surpass the need for any form of training. If you master these 3 things there’ll never be a need for “sit” for “down” for almost anything one even considers training because the dog will then be mature and capable of making its own wise decisions as it navigates the world with you!

(Stay tuned for my third upcoming book on the 5 Senses of a dog and the 4 Pillars of Dog Language! If you enjoyed these 3 Pillars you will love these next two books!)

-G

-G

Raising a powerful breed puppy into calm, social maturity PART 1

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We have a new addition to our team at the Dog Language Center – it’s a bouncing Rottie pup! In this series I will delve into some rare yet wonderful puppy-raising hacks for all our rabid fans out there ūüėČ This post is lengthy but so worth it. Brace yourselves…its real talk from a genuine dog whisperer again.

If I could recommend one thing above all else it would be socializing the pup. In fact if I could only pick one thing to give to my new powerful breed puppy (or any pup for that matter) it would be ultra-socialization. What does this mean? It means that even above dog training or behavior modification and above visits to the vet or grooming shop, getting a puppy socialized makes all the difference in preparing the animal for success or failure, behaviorally speaking, for the rest of its life within our modern world. This ultra socialization means the gradual desensitization of our pup’s super senses each day/week/month that passes during the entire first year of life. The five senses of Touch, Smell, Taste, and Vision and Hearing develop quickly within young dogs and must be guided and influenced if one ever hopes to have a calm dog. The best way to help a dog truly mature and become calm is to get as many varied experiences and people and animals into the pup’s life as soon as possible. Many breeders do puppies and future dog owners a horrible disservice due to fixating on FEAR of parvo or other zoonosis as they fail the rapidly growing pups by coddling and keeping them away from normal life around the neighborhood. Friends, the health risk of socialization is so, so worth the behavioral reward. The law of the universe says we will most assuredly reap what we sow. No risk = No reward.

Let me point out now that authentic socialization is so much more than just attending a puppy group class somewhere or tossing your growing pup into high excitement environment dog daycare. While the puppy group class consists of one type of socializing please be aware that this “socialization” is usually nowhere near enough for most puppies to achieve social normalcy and it is certainly not enough for many powerful breed pups that tend to naturally guard and become more protective as they age. Also, there are many cons to be aware of in light of our desire to raise a puppy CALMLY and without the need for food treats and excessive shallow external reinforcement! When or if you do decide to place your pup in an excitable group class setting I’d ask you to reconsider. Believe it or not I DON’T typically recommend group classes filled with pups because older, balanced, calm, example dogs are usually absent and not on scene to help set the proper tone! Right off the bat this goes directly against nature’s ways and the way of all canines. So the group class is unnaturally wild with energy and overexcitement. The hapless dog trainer then often employees more excitement usually by way of a treat in attempts at competing with the already excitable pups that they are trying to make perform frivolous sits or downs. Rather than intelligently adding calmness, the professional trainer competes with the already highly excitable environment! Competing by raising more energy with an environment filled with foolish young pups is unwise and wasteful. As the trainer on hand encourages people to utilize high-pitched praise and “high value” treats in exchange for one second of the pup’s attention it often becomes a disgusting display of mismanaged energy and a total lack of natural leadership. It’s a bad scene and a noisy one to boot. Is it any wonder that most puppy “group” classes soon dwindle as the weeks pass to just one or two stalwart owners trying for perfect attendance as they drag their pups to the local Petsmart for the last couple weeks? I encourage any puppy owner to look deeper instead of just doing what’s typically done.

A similar conditioning of over-excitment and high energy can sadly yet easily develop in any pup that is at dog daycare all the time. Typically the workers in a dog daycare love dogs but many may not know much about real dog language or how or when to take action or adjust the pack’s energy. So day after day the rapidly growing and rapidly learning puppy is learning that whenever he lays eyes on his own species it’s supposedly instant play time and he (if he is a already a normally-functioning puppy) most certainly will raise his energy to heightened play levels…even if you’re just trying to smoothly walk down the street and past another dog and dog owner. You can see the problem with conditioning your puppy to be hyper from a young age.

When we compare and contrast the levels of energy found within a normal group class setting or dog daycare versus say of the energy while taking a wonderful hike through the mountains there are stark differences. That, Dear Reader, is not good. Excitement + Excitement = Calmness is a false equation, fuzzy math, that cannot work out mathematically and or scientifically within the animal no matter how badly many large pet training conglomerates might want it too. These conglomerates want to sell “high value” treats to dog owners in order to bribe their way into a pup’s life during an excitable round of obedience! A much more real world, beneficial equation that helps a puppy calm down and learn about real life around it would look like this… Excitement (the pup has this energy normally without being encouraged) + Calmness expressed through proper dog language (this is provided by the loving dog owner) = Calmness and steadily growing Maturity! Now that is a winning equation. Sadly, most dogs never achieve maturity because most dog owners have inadvertently downgraded their relationship to one of employer and employee (by “training” the dog according to typical dog training within the industry) even though the dog lives in the home and, in many cases is even babied and coddled at unnatural and often outrageous levels. Balance is nowhere to be found!

Society no longer requires work from 99% of our dogs. Instead these many dog owners that make up a good portion of our society desire calmness and trustworthiness. This is particularly important for young dogs and pups that will grow to be powerful, natural guardians. “Tapping the breaks” on growing guarding behavior is a must-do as it rears its head. The caring puppy owner must take action at the earliest possible evidences of any unsocial behavior (that is if you want a calm and trustworthy future dog that is fit for your children, your home, your neighborhood, the neighborhood children, and can be trusted in society at large. If you don’t want that then by all means continue “training” and “working” your dog as it is often tragically instructed almost everywhere.) Important Note: these unsocial signs or early signs of misbehavior are often overlooked in group obedience classes and they are overlooked in private sessions with professionals because of their horrible fixation on obedience and work!!! Then, typically at the year or year-and-a-half mark, as the young dog reaches sexual maturity, whatever unaddressed and underlying issues or problems the pup harbored come fully to fruition and suddenly it dawns on the dog owner that they have a serious problem on their hands. Then we get a call. We see this in almost every session we do with clients! What good are tricks and obedience when/if the original professional on hand cannot/did not identify and then take action and instruct you on the proper actions in order to prevent or reverse future issues with your dog? Too many people waste money on early piss-poor training instead of prepping their pups for real world success by way of extreme socialization.

Success Hacks for socializing your powerful puppy:

Because your pup is going to become a hulking beast or a dog that could intimidate some folks it is even more important to get people to TOUCH and pet your powerful puppy as early as possible!

This means week one of bringing the puppy home some visitors must come over and the pup should be starting right away to go out front of your house on mini walks to meet the neighbors. Yes, I know I might be going directly against some vets advice on keeping them “safe” and sound until the pup is damn near a teenage dog but I don’t care! I genuinely want what’s best for you and your pup behaviorally speaking and I’ve handled thousands and thousands and thousands of dogs with serious behavioral issues. Unlike many vets I don’t have the luxury of subscribing drugs and or just suggesting spaying or neutering or putting the dog down – if we’re being honest those are the three main approaches most vets take when dealing with dog aggression or extreme anxiety or other behavioral problems. Back to my point…Denying a young, rapidly growing puppy a couple months of socialization is most definitely Harmful to the dog’s psyche. I love the expression safety third. If life was always safety first no-one would ever do anything, or accomplish anything, or go anywhere. We’d all be paralyzed, unhealthy shut-ins. Socialize for success my friends. Sure, don’t roll your pup in dog crap and don’t bring your puppy to the busy dog park and let it drink from stagnant water while it’s 9 weeks old but other than those two things I would highly suggest the puppy meet as many people and social well behaved dogs as soon as possible in a majority of cases.

Make sure people and other dogs can touch your pup ANYWHERE on their body. This will inform you straightaway if your pup is fearful or dominant or overly hyper and then you’ll be able to devise a plan to help alleviate these issues if present (HINT: they are usually always present and need to be addressed or guided). Discover early on whether the pup refuses to let another dog sniff their rear end…if they’re nervous and they try to avoid being sniffed then you MUST jump in and make the nervous pup get it’s butt sniffed because that’s normal amongst canines. YOU dictate what’s normal to the dog just as older dogs in a large family pack would do. And forcing a nervous pup to get touched everywhere is one of the most important things a caring puppy owner can do for their pups. Yes I said force. You are forcing the pup to get out of your space and to be handled by a friendly person. You are forcing the nervous yet powerful pup to leave your space just like the mother dog weaned and forced her pups away from her body super early on. Hacking into the puppy’s sense of touch early on is INFINITELY More Important than any kind of obedience training!!!!!

Quick Update

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As you’ve probably gathered I haven’t been posting on here quite as often as before but never you fear you rabid fans of all things proper dog language and behavior modification because we (our dynamic, intelligent, and may I even dare say attractive team at Garrett Stevens’ Alpha & Omega Dog Training and Stevens Family Kennels and Dog Language Center) are up to Very BIG Things. I do not have the time to go into all of them with you right now but rest assured these new happens at our Dog Language Center in Puyallup will certainly be of service to you and your pooch in at least one way shape or form. Here’s a bit of what I’m toying with and IF WE GET ENOUGH FEEDBACK FROM YOU ALL ON THIS we will most likely move forward so please Respond after reading this!

We will soon be offering you a CLEANER dog upon pickup! After your dog’s stay with us at Stevens Family Kennels for just a few dollars more we would provide your dog with either a dry shampoo and brush out, or a legit wet bath and brush out depending, of course, on your preference!

We are starting up a StevensFamilyKennels Instagram account so you can follow and share the pics we take of your dog with your loved ones! Another reason to follow would be to see the incredible stories of horrific and heinous hound behavior turned by our custom methods into precious, and polite pup behavior! etc, etc.

And, for our prior training clients only, this is quite exciting, we are going to be offering affordable TUNE UP TRAINING while your dog is kenneling with us! I am NOT talking about our creme-de-la-creme, top of the line behavioral Board and Train, I mean simple but highly effective training (like sit, down, stay, come, take it, drop it, etc). I am working out the details first within this furry, dog-based brain of mine and then I will bat around the specifics with our amazing team but again – very exciting stuff happening here at Stevens Family Kennels!

Looking forward to serving you better,

Garrett Markus Aurelius Seth Godwin Immanual Honus Abner Stevens VIII

Smile – it’s good for you!

The best toys for your dog or pup (Garrett’s favorite picks)

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In this exciting installment brought to you from thecaninecalmer I am going to detail a few of my absolute favorite dog toys and provide the links right to them.¬† These excellent items will aid in quality playtime and in what I like to call “play training.”

As we go over these toys please bear in mind that I am not your average neighbor that you may happen upon at the dog park that is equipped with just enough info to potentially make things worse for you.  Instead, I eat, live, and breath dogs and have done so for the past twelve (soon to be thirteen years).  The toys I will mention here will do their jobs admirably and should function well for both the dog body and your human body.

Ergonomics and comfort are important when a human body is interacting with a much shorter, wiry, tough, fast, furred body that is equipped with a much different set of senses and movements – most of which occurring below our center of gravity.¬† Again, as in almost all things we discuss on this fine blog, efficient results are of utmost concern.¬† In this case the goal is good ol’ family fun with occasional working obedience training smoothly slipped into the session.¬† In this way the pup or dog is typically unaware that they are working and obeying you because they are having such a good time exerting themselves as they practice their prey drive at escalated energy levels while simultaneously shadowing your movements and furthering your bond.

(Please note: these toys are my dog’s favorite and mine too.¬† We do NOT leave them down or out where the dogs have free access to them.¬† They are put away after our play sessions and because of this, they are highly prized by the dogs.)

Planet dog’s Orbee ball and rope combo

I love this set up!  This is a quality item.  The Orbee balls are what put the Planet dog company on the map and with good reason.  They are tough, bouncy, and buoyant.  These balls are durable, recyclable, non-toxic, and made in the USofA!  They come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!  These balls are great and I suggest the one with the little continents on it (the ball is designed to look like the planet and the land masses are slightly raised).  Because the continents on the ball are higher than what would be the oceans and seas when the ball bounces off the ground it shoots back up in strange new directions which further excites our dogs!  There is no boring, straight-line fetch going on with this toy.  Instead it keeps the dogs on their paws and ready for more.  (Which, incidentally leads to the draining of their energy in a more efficient time period).

We have two Planet dog Orbee products in our home.¬† One does not have the little rope attached. It is just the ball that looks like the planet.¬† The other has ball and the rope.¬† Everyone in the household prefers the model with the rope attachment.¬† I think even the dogs prefer it.¬† Here are a couple reasons why I highly suggest the rope option…

  1. With the rope on the end of the ball you greatly enhance your throwing distance.  Similar to the propulsion that comes from an atlatl Рthe rope will make your throws look like you have the arm and throwing capacity of the next utility outfielder for the Seattle Mariners.
  2. With the rope you greatly cut down on slobber and slime as you are taking the retrieved ball back from your dog.  The Orbee ball material can be quite slick once wet (maybe this is another reason our dogs love it Рthey chomp and compress the thing all while retrieving it and running back to us.
  3. If you have a multi-dog household like we do (we have two boxers) the ball and rope combo allows for two dogs (maybe even three) to grab on and have fun.  They can retrieve together!  This is usually the case with both of my dogs.  They look like dog coursers (cart, carriage, or sled pull team) as they charge back at me across the lawn, their faces close by each other and their bodies side-by-side in harmony, one mouth squeezing and chewing on the ball, the other clinging and pulling at the rope.
  4. One thing you should notice right away when you receive your Orbee ball and rope combo is that the rope itself is different from many of the other ropes you’ve seen or felt in other dog toys.¬† This little rope is very tightly wound.¬† Because it is wound this way it does not just unravel like we have seen so many other dog and puppy rope toys do.

Here is the link to my favorite Orbee and rope combo.  It is well worth the money to get a quality item than to continuously drain dollars and cents and time replacing a cheaper toy.  Do yourself and your dog a favor.  Order this baby!

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Hyperflite Jawz competition discs (frisbees)

These are the “toughest and best-flying, puncture-resistant competition discs ever made.”¬† That’s what it says on their website and I wholeheartedly agree.¬† Over the years I’ve seen a plethora of shoddily made and terribly flying frisbees and discs for dogs.¬† The Jawz disc from Hyperflite has outdone them all.¬† These discs fly incredibly well.

There are two traps to beware when purchasing a flying toy or disc-type toy for your dog.¬† The first is that the disc is made overly flexible and or soft.¬† These kind simply do not fly well.¬† The inventors, probably in their attempt to avoid a brittleness in the disc and in order to protect the dog’s mouth went way too far the other way.¬† Their flopping discs may stimulate your dog or pup for a time but the human enjoyment fades quickly and this eventually diminishes the dog’s own enjoyment.¬† Throwing a too-floppy disc is not fun.¬† The other thing to beware of is, of course, overly brittle disc.¬† We’ve all seen (and perhaps even purchased) the super cheap and very brittle throwing discs at those discount bins in the major pet supermarkets.¬† And those of us that have brought them home to our dogs and thrown them also watched those brittle things burst and crack into pieces after a throw or three.¬† Dog teeth easily punch into and eventually through these cheap plastic toys.

Hyperflite has somehow managed to cut out the weaknesses that exist in so many other dog disc toys and only build on the strengths!¬† Their disc is incredible!¬† The Jawz disc they’ve come out with is remarkably tough and comes with “anti-glare technology.”

As a boxer owner I fully understand that my dogs are probably not going to beat out any trained Border collie, Aussie shepherd, or Heeler in a pro disc competition.  But we certainly have a lot of fun in our large backyard.  I love throwing my Jawz disc for them (Rambo in particular) and watching them explode into the air at a distance, their own jaws snapping and bringing down the disc.

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Rambo getting some serious air

 

(Special note:¬† If you are interested in getting your dog started on a little frisbee/disc play training I would first recommend that your pup have a strong retrieve.¬† If you don’t have that down you must start with tug of war – there is an entire chapter on the benefits of tug of war and playing backwards in my Hot-Listed book on dog and human behavior, Dog Myths: What you believe about dogs can come back to Bite You!, check it out.¬† If your dog has a good and full retrieve down pat then I would still suggest increasing tug or war and luring the dog in and around your body.¬† See if you can get him/her to come around behind your back and between your legs.¬† One of the easiest ways for a pup to learn to catch the disc is to have them come running around behind you (you do this by passing the disc behind your back like a fancy “behind the back” basketball pass) and then gently tossing it straight ahead and just in front of the pup.¬† Hopefully you’ve already worked him up into snapping for the disc and he runs forward and grabs it before it hits the ground.¬† Have fun!)

Watching your dog explode forward and up into the sky, at sometimes bizarre angles, while going after a quality, flying disc and working together as a team is loads of fun.  Give it a try!

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Well that’s about it for now, folks.¬† We appreciate you spreading the word and sharing this post and while you are on Amazon remember to pick up a copy (or two – you may want to donate one or gift one to a local shelter or family or friend) of our HOT Listed book on dog and human behavior, Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to Bite You, to you cart too along with this great toys!!

Thanks and happy playing,

-G

 

 

Quick QUESTIONS for you

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Quick questions may require long consideration and critical contemplation.  If we ask the right questions we get the right answers.  Here are some questions to really mull over.

 

Do we as the human race really have our dogs best interests at heart?

Do we as human beings value our dogs over and above what or how they should be valued or do we undervalue them?

Did you know we have never attempted to rescue as many dogs in the USA as we are currently?

Did you know dog bites (and dog attacks on people) are on the rise?

Have you ever been bitten?

Are our dogs giving back to us as much as we are giving to them and vice-versa?

Do you take a realistic viewpoint of the dog and their many behaviors do you have an over-simplistic, anthropomorphized viewpoint?

Are treats exciting for our dogs?

Is excitement actually good and beneficial to our dogs?

Do parent dogs exhibit a lot of excitement around their pups and vice-versa?

How does excitement and high energy play a role in most of mother nature?

Is calmness valued by the mother or father dog?

Who is calmer the older dogs or the younger ones?

Are we all applying calmness when interacting with our dogs and pups?

Are professional trainers and behaviorists using calmness or excitement in their training methods?

Does your dog come with a laundry list of rules (don’t poke the bear!)…things you can’t touch on his/her body, things you can’t do around the dog, things guests can’t do?

Is your dog rude or polite?

Do dogs think positively or negatively or not at all like that?

What is your favorite sense (out of the five senses)?

What is our dogs favored sense or senses?

If you were to lose a sense which would you chose and why?

If your dog was to lose a sense which would he/she choose and why?

 

These are just a couple of the quick questions I wanted to share with the masses out there in internet land.  I have several others for another time.

Please feel free to comment or answer some of them in the comments section. ¬†These are not to trick or insult or manipulate you in any way. ¬†I just want to hopefully broaden people’s minds and delve a bit deeper into the fascinating creatures we all have such familiarity with.

Keep an eye out for my coming book! ¬†In it we ask and answer many of the above questions and of course the book will greatly help prevent or reverse behavioral issues you may be facing with your dog or pup. ¬†There are great chapters on Touch, Spacial control, Energy control, Calmness, Heeling and Leash work, Dog manipulations, Myths, and much, much more! ¬†There are illustrations. ¬†There are motivations. ¬†There are challenges. ¬†There is a call to action. ¬†The book should broaden anyone’s mind on the subject of our dogs, their behavior, and our behaviors with them. ¬†It broadens my mind every time I add to or examine it.

-G

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanna be a dog trainer? Do you like getting bit?

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Are you ready to get bit? If not…don’t get into dog training or behavior modification.

 

So many folks now-a-days want to be trainers or behaviorists or dog whisperers yet they are not prepared for real aggression. ¬†I suppose I should thank them because it makes my company stand out as one of the best because “we ain’t afraid of no…dogs” ¬†(Sorry about my lame attempt at a Ghost Busters joke)

Seriously, though, be prepared to get bit, scratched, torn, dirty, and sprayed with anal glands! ¬†If you are in the least bit afraid…….the dogs will sense it!!! ¬†Once that happens forget any and all leadership on your part because you won’t be able to lead from a place of fear or nervousness.

 

I have been bit several times over the years. ¬†Not bad bites, usually, because my skills protect me. ¬†But let me say quite clearly…most people should Not be dog trainers because most people don’t know the language.

Just because you “love” dogs does not mean you should work with them or fix their behavioral issues or that you are cut out to be an entrepreneur! ¬†And the dogs will be the first ones to prove that to you if you aren’t careful! ¬†

It’s great to love dogs but remember, there is no real love if there is not respect and honesty with it. ¬†And I’ve found most humans don’t actually respect dogs. ¬†If we did truly respect them we would take the time to learn and speak their language much more efficiently than we do currently.

-G

PS. ¬†Here are a few other considerations…

Think seriously about entering a field that is already inundated with competition. ¬†Only 2% of people are successful entrepreneurs. ¬†You have to be good with and be able to influence dogs and people (this is rare…many times folks are good with one or the other). ¬†And don’t forget to add a host of other entrepreneurial, people and dog skills you would have to develop over years.

The Legend of “Shoebox” Millie and her 17 children

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My grandmother is legend. ¬†My father is one of¬†seventeen children! ¬†This is not an exaggeration. ¬†And they all came from the same man and woman…

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My grandparents: Mildred and Sherman Stevens

 

I call them Grandpa and Grammy. ¬†I come from what any person, people-group or culture on earth would call a “large” family.

This post will be a more personal look into my Stevens family legacy and (of course) beneficial info about dogs and canine behavior.

Dogs also tend to be from large families. ¬†Some people call them packs. ¬†They live in large social groups. ¬†Whenever a dog is having a problem behaviorally they will manifesting a problem socially. ¬†It can always be traced to how they interact with the owners, the other animals in the home, and, of course, the neighboring animals or people in the environment. ¬†Social behavior is always the key. ¬†Is the dog using “cut-off” or “calming signals?” ¬†Or is the dog presenting more fight/flight behaviors and habits of over-excitement?

Personally speaking, I find it humorous and even bordering on the ridiculous when a mom or a dad freaks out because they are having trouble dealing with their couple of kids. ¬†Many parents jokingly, and often seriously, complain or act as if it is so extremely tough dealing with a couple of playful kids (I’ve fallen into this category too, occasionally- I think we all do from time to time) ¬†But if you can imagine what my grandfather and grandmother had to deal with for a moment and then adjust your whining attitude, shut up and take the time to go play with your kid I’m sure you’d have a much better day and I know for certain you’d be a better parent!

Our children are only young and wanting our attention for a little while. ¬†Then they become teens and, like a common criminal, don’t want any measure of attention drawn to their covert activities excepting the attention it takes for us to read the “KEEP OUT” sign on their door. ¬† I’m sure if more of today’s parents could walk in my grandparents shoes for a week or two they would grow leaps and bounds in the masterful parenting category.

On the subject of parenting, canines are highly respected in the world of science. ¬†The family group is very patient but still firm as many contribute to raise the pups into adulthood. ¬†Sociability and calmness are key. ¬†They are taught the rules of social spacing and body language, how to play, how to calm down if the older canine says to calm down, self control of their energy levels, how to hunt and eat, what is and isn’t theirs to claim, how to touch and be touched -smell and be smelled and, of course, many other things but most importantly how to survive by living together peaceably.

When people talk of “Alpha dogs” they usually misrepresent them and talk of domination. ¬†The true alphas are patient yet firm parents who spend their lives raising pups into balanced adults. ¬†They are fantastic peacemakers.

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A couple of true Alphas in this life – they work for the benefit of others and know how to run a successful team!

 

I have always joked that after having seven or eight children I’m sure it’s just as easy to deal with seventeen because you can just delegate more responsibility to the older ones. ¬†Make them your workers so to speak. A good leader always attempts to multiply himself. ¬†This theory of mine would only work though if you did a good job raising the older ones! So don’t start cranking out the kids just yet.

The average litter of a dog is six pups. ¬†Obviously this¬†varies based on health, age, breed (size) but it averages out to around six. ¬†That’s a family of eight. ¬†Not as big as my dad’s family but still not too shabby, especially when you consider that (in the wild) some of the previous years siblings stay with the parents and become “uncles” and “aunts” for the new pups.

My father and his many siblings (and my grandparents) were all very athletic. ¬†They all excelled in sports. ¬†This came from natural talent, of course, but I also believe a couple other factors helped to develop the natural athleticism. ¬†One reason was that they had enough brothers and sisters as there are players in most organized sports! ¬†They could literally play a full court game of basketball (5 on 5) and still have subs left on the bench. ¬†Another factor was that there wasn’t a ton of money to go around and sports generally are cheap (especially when the whole team lives together!) ¬†Combine these reasons with a time when kids weren’t morbidly obese, addicted and indoctrinated all day by TV or computers, or had ridiculous phones glued to their faces but instead spent actual time outside and you can see a recipe for making better athletes.

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My dog Rambo leaps for the Frisbee! ¬†How’s this pic for capturing a canine athlete in action?

Dogs are athletic.  Plenty of dogs can run at the average speed of 32 miles per hour!  Some can run faster, Greyhounds can do 45 mph!  Dogs can leap, spin, and dance with the best of them.  If trained properly and the body type or breed of the dog allows many dogs can learn to rock climb, jump and scale over very high walls, wrestle larger creatures/people to the ground, herd much larger numbers of animals successfully, leap off docks at incredible distances, make amazing, flipping and leaping catches of balls, toys and Frisbees, and, if socialized, dogs even handicap their wrestling or play to be able to play at lower energy levels and with much smaller or weaker individuals. They are excellent athletes and the number one (land) endurance athlete on earth!

All my family loves to joke and fool around. ¬†We are quick-witted and can be brutally honest. ¬†Little to nothing is sacred. ¬†A “tough skin” comes with the territory. ¬†There are little to no brats like you may find in a very small family. ¬†The emphasis was not on “That’s my toy!” or other material things but instead on getting along and playing with each other.

A famous and textbook brat, Veruca, wants things her way all the time.  Typical of an imbalanced dog but naturally (out in the wild) very rare and un-canine like.

I recall my dad laughing as he told us a story when he was little………..

At Christmas time the siblings would sometimes wrap up some of their old items and give them as gifts to their brothers and sisters.  Eventually my Grandparents were forced to call a halt to that method of gift-giving after a few jokers started wrapping up their old, used underwear.  I can just hear Bing Crosby or Andy Williams singing a lovely carol about that!

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My dad is the big lad making the goofy face next to the Christmas tree

Anyway, the point I’m making is that play and teamwork was actually necessary. ¬†The sheer large numbers of beings living that closely together calls for cooperation. ¬†And playing, whether some sport or making fun of each other or someone else, can and does function as a sort of stress reliever.

In canines this method is used often. ¬†It is used by the wolf packs Alphas and by the Omega. ¬†The Omega, instead of being a sniveling weakling like the traditionally propagated beliefs, are in reality, more like the class clowns and are experts at relieving tension. ¬†The idea is – “Chase me, chew me, nip me, just don’t seriously fight and injure or kill one another.”

Wolves and dogs should all be specialists at tension relief and have what are called, “cut-off” or ,”calming signals.” ¬†These signals are used constantly in the dog language and are what allow for pack living. ¬†The Alphas are fantastic teachers and peace keepers who use these signals readily. ¬†These are what set the canine apart from many other solitary predators.

Stevens Family Reunion…

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Stevensfest 2011

Just some of the family (many could not make it)

Just some of the tribe (many could not make it)

We had a Stevens Family Reunion a couple years back. ¬†I think there has only been three or four official reunions over the years due to the large numbers it’s hard getting folks all together in one spot at one time. It was so great to spend time with the family. ¬†We played our instruments, played sports, told stories and jokes, explored New Hampshire and reconnected. ¬†My wife, Amalia, commented to me about how marvelously everyone got a long and how there was no drama. ¬†I think that is an interesting point coming from someone who wasn’t born into the family. ¬†She noticed the difference of how to function in a giant family. ¬†Almost a selflessness that each individual shows to or for the benefit of the group.

My Grandparents, Parents, and Siblings and our spouses and kids (2011)

My grandparents, parents, and siblings and our spouses and kids (2011) ¬†I’m the devilishly handsome bloke on the right (near the gorgeous brunettes: my wife and daughter)

The StevensFamJam    I'm on the mandolin.

Impromptu Stevens Jam on the beach 
I’m on the mandolin (near center of pic). ¬†Loved every second of jamming with the pack.

Being part of a team and being playful and athletic is a big part of the Stevens family…possibly even a survival tactic. ¬†Very similar to dogs. ¬†All intelligent animals play and dogs are masters of it (see my post “Slugs Do Not Play. Worms Do Not Play” and check out my Five steps for Perfecting Play in your pooch!) ¬†In order for group play to occur there has to be some level of control. ¬†Human example: If you smack someone in basketball a foul is called. ¬†Canine example: ¬†If a young dog jumps inappropriately on an older dog that older dog will “call a foul” …with a bite if need be.

Living in packs also causes competition and there are few people I’ve met in life more competitive than the members of the Stevens pack. ¬†We want to win. ¬†Dogs also want to win. ¬†Winning means surviving and that was passed down to dogs from their great, great, great, (et cetera), grandparents, the wolves. ¬†This is also one big reason why dogs are master manipulators and it is second nature for many dogs to attempt to one-up their owner to get their own way. ¬†The dog will clearly communicate what it wants and it is up to us to agree with the behavior or to disagree.

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“Shoebox Millie” Stevens in her old seat at the church they used run (my Grandpa Sherm was the pastor) in an extremely small town in New Hampshire.

Anyway…I hope this post gave some of you my clients and followers a look into my family/personal life and sort of answered the commonly asked question of how or why I’m so good at dog behavioral rehab and training…maybe…I just come from a family who are more like dogs? ¬†And coming from me… that’s a high compliment.

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One of my grandmother’s autographed pics from when she used to sing on the radio

 

–This post was dedicated to the passing of a Legend. ¬†My sweet Grammy “Shoebox” Millie, born only 2 pounds, the doctors thought she wouldn’t survive, did she prove them wrong! ¬†When Millie was an infant her mother had to keep her warm in a shoe box in the stove! ¬†She went on to have 17 children and many, many grand-kids and great-grand-kids. ¬†A mother of many, a world traveler and missionary, talented (she used to sing and play on the radio) humorous, and kind, a selfless woman who left an amazing legacy.

My legendary Grandmother “Shoebox Millie” weighed only 2lbs at birth. Her mother kept her warm by placing her inside a shoe box and in their stove! ¬†She went on to live an amazing life and had 17 children (and many, many more grandchildren and great grandchildren!

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

 

Grammy, you left this earth with a legacy of love and humor and now heaven is much richer.  I love you.

And love to all my many Stevens relatives out there and to the best Parents and Grandparents a guy could ever wish for.

Stevens Strong

“With Smiles,”

Garrett

(If you liked this article and are interested in more on dog behavior and human behavior order my HOT Listed book, Dog Myths!  It will open your mind to an entirely new and unique world that most trainers and behaviorists miss!)

Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You! by Garrett Stevens

But what did he know…?

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Would you say that Albert Einstein was a fairly smart guy? ¬†I know people tend to really hold him up there as a real brainiac. ¬†“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”

I think Einstein said the quote about nature…I’m not sure about the quote on the above image though…

What to do if your dog is afraid of loud noises

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The fourth of July is right around the corner and I have been talking with many of my clients everyday concerning how to handle their dogs that suffer from ligyrophobia (fear of loud noises). ¬†Most vets will suggest drugs (of course!… this is a growing problem in our medical community, in my opinion, whether it be human or canine the “quick fix” of drugging is seldom effective and typically an unhealthy habit. ¬†But because it is a money maker why would the medical world ever stop it?)

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I will make this short so you can enjoy your holiday with family, friends, fireworks and stuffing your face with a spicy Italian sausage…

1.  EXERCISE the hell out of the dog.

2.  Start to desensitize the animal to more and more sounds and socialization.

3.  Be sure to NEVER CODDLE or touch or comfort the fearful dog (please see my post about Dealing with a fearful dog- it can change your life and save your dog from a life of misery!  You would be shocked to see how many dogs suffer with preventable fear and ridiculous phobias because of an enabling owner)

4. Intercept any start to the fearful behavior – meaning: as soon as the dog starts to whine, pace, freeze, bark, circle, run away…etc, etc you need to intercept or interrupt this behavior ASAP. ¬†You only have two seconds to do this! ¬†And be sure to interrupt the behavior with a clear countenance and energy that disagrees with what the dog is doing. ¬†Be firm. ¬†Stop excess movement if the dog tries to run or circle. ¬†Stop whining by instantly standing up quickly, “get big” and head toward the dog as a warning (remember you have to match the dog’s energy in order to even break through to their attention level and then, if you do get the attention, Calm the dog! Be firm until you get eye contact. ¬†Do not let the dog use you as a comfort blankey and constantly touch you. ¬†Do Not say and this is a human classic….”It’s Ok.” ¬†Fear is never “Ok.”

5. Remain calm and relaxed and actually enjoy the fireworks or whatever other loud noises are going on. ¬†The dog should look to you for feedback on how to act not steal all the attention with doggie drama and insanity…remember always ask yourself what would the calm, social, unfearful older dog do? ¬†Chances are the calm dog would simply ignore the fearful one.

6. ¬†You can play some calming classical music if you want but don’t rely on unnatural solutions like this. ¬†You can also try a “thundershirt” they can work for some dogs. ¬†You can also try to actually bring them outside during the fireworks and let them see and understand what they are. ¬†DO NOT CODDLE.

7. And possibly the most important thing to do…order my book (Dog Myths) on dog and human behavior!¬† Here is the link.¬† This book is outrageously different and will be amazingly beneficial for you and your dog!

Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You! by Garrett Stevens

Stay relaxed as you read, Dog Myths, after exercise, of course, and have a Happy Independence Day and a less fearful dog.

don’t forget to follow this blog and go to http://www.gstevensdogtrainer.com ¬†for more info on Garrett

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