Teddy Roosevelt can improve your dog’s behavior!

Standard

Teddy Roosevelt was The Most Interesting Man in the World long before the Dos Equis guy from the commercials was around!

Before people even knew how to speed-read TR would devour at least one book during his very busy day and many times up to three books a day. He also possessed a photographic memory or close to it and could recite passages years later and discuss topics from the books at length. Here he is reading with his dog. I love this picture.

Ornithologist, Taxidermist, Aristocrat, Explorer, Speed-Reader, Naturalist, Pugilist, Harvard Grad, Biologist, World Traveler, Historian, Martial Artist, Author (35 books), Husband, Cowboy, Big game Hunter, Father, Conservationist, Assemblyman, Police Commissioner, Naval Secretary, Soldier, Colonel, Governor, Nobel Peace Prize and Medal of Honor winner, Vice President, and President; TR was a super-energetic, charismatic, learned, and dynamic personality.

Anyone can learn a lot from studying and emulating Teddy.  I don’t really have the time to go into so many of the lessons that could be gleaned from the man’s life but I will just list a few and, of course, keep them dog specific (as in, our excellent blog will always help you concerning the topic of dog behavior).

Be a life-long learner

TR was an avid learner and obviously, as you read from his list of accomplishments above, his learning far surpassed the average individual  He was a voracious reader and could speed-read before people even knew that was a thing.  He also had a photographic memory.  This allowed him to discuss with confidence a broad range of topics and mix in with almost any individual person or crowd.  Roosevelt also learned physically from experiencing the earth and travelling, hunting, fishing, exploring, hiking, boxing, judo, camping, and ranch work.  He was a dandy man about town but also could easily fit in with the simple ranch-hand, cowpoke, or backwoods hunter.

The main point is to keep learning and discovering.  Teddy wasn’t just book smart he was physically smart as well.  When he took up the challenge from his father of transforming his sickly body as an asthmatic youth he persisted until he literally became a “bull moose” of a man!  His brain and body then could function as one well-oiled machine, bursting with personality and passionate energy.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.”   -TR

Keep learning from your dog and not just jumping to conclusions or listening to the status quo about how to train.  Don’t just take whatever your vet or trainer says as gospel truth.  Learn from mother nature and remember to lead your dog with energy and physical vigor (like Teddy would).  Be open to experience the natural world.  Get outside and into the woods.  Slow down at certain times.  Speed up other times.  Your dog will find it irresistible.  Be the sort of leader your dog can follow.  Physically take the lead and be energetic about it when needed.

Develop toughness

TR had mental toughness.  TR had physical toughness.

Did you know in Teddy’s personal daily journals that he hardly ever recorded a negative thought?  He could have easily written down the wrongs someone may have done him while he was serving to clean up a very corrupt New York government as their Police Commissioner but he didn’t.  He could have written so much about the tragedy of losing his first love and wife (Alice) just after the birth of their first child.  His mother also died on the same day as his wife!  What a horrific tragedy!  TR kept everything under wraps if it had any discouragement or downside.  He had mental toughness.  He wrote his journals as if he was sure others would read them one day!  Of course he was crushed mentally and emotionally at the loss of his young, beautiful wife and his caring mother on the same day but I love the fact that he would prefer to focus his writing and his life on what could be done for the good of his family, his city, his state, and his country.  How mentally tough are you?

TR was also renowned for his physical toughness.  As he matured more he kept developing his body into a real vehicle for all his energies and passions.  His stamina is legendary.  Although he was a New York aristocrat he could physically keep up (and usually surpass) many rough and tumble athletic woodsmen, frontiersmen, ranchers, cowboys, soldiers, hunters, sportsmen, and martial artists.

As President TR lost the vision in his left eye when boxing with a military aid in the White House!  The punch had detached the retina, caused severe hemorrhaging, and eventual blindness.  Roosevelt was 50 years old at the time!

Roosevelt also was a skilled judo practitioner.  During his years in the White House he lined the basement with training mats and used to throw around anyone who was willing!  He became America’s first brown belt!

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”         -TR

Are you going at your dog’s behavioral issues like TR would?  Are you staying positive mentally?  Are you physically imposing in your presence if the dog is trying to dominant the space or do you just let the dog have his way?  Are you up for the challenge?  Do you look at the dog’s issues as an opportunity to teach your dog and to better understand your dog or are you just beaten down with the behavioral problem?

Fight for what you want

Teddy loved a good fight it mattered not whether it was a physical opponent, a political foe, or taking on the ultra-capitalists as the “Trust-buster.”  He is well known for never shying from an opponent and he subscribed to what he called the strenuous life.  He toiled on purpose to push his body and mind to greater achievements.  Boxing, polo, hiking, rowing, horseback riding, jujitsu, judo and winter skinny dipping in the Potomac River all against doctor’s orders!

Take the challenge of working with your dog!  Choose the strenuous life!  Take a moment and read The Man in The Arena.

“Speak softly and carry and big stick; you will go far.”  -TR

 

TR had an amazing wealth of knowledge when it came to animals and the natural world.

 

Control and focus your energy

Roosevelt had boundless energy.  I’m positive he would have scoffed at the Five Hour Energy commercials we see on TV.  Almost all successful folk know how to really direct and focus their energy on the task at hand.  TR was able to do this brilliantly.  It can be seen throughout his entire life’s story.  Teddy’s was a life defined by charismatic energy, a ready mind, toughness, and his fantastic adventures and accomplishments.  To achieve a life like this we must consider concentration, and direct focus and control of our own personal energy and then mix it with ACTION.

“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.”  -TR

Focus and controlling your energy takes practice.  Practice makes perfect.  You want better control over your dog or puppy?  Seek out better control of your own energy.  Concentrated energy applied directly with laser like focus is a powerful thing.  As you learn to control and direct your own energies all the dog stuff will become simple!

Ted and his terriers.  Terriers are known for tenacity, energy, voracity, and a warrior spirit. Many terriers are small but extremely tough. They are bred for hunting, digging, and fighting and killing their quarry even if their prey is much larger than they are!

Need help?  Give us a call or comment on our blog.  Click to follow us!

-G

 

 

Advertisements

Has your child been bitten in the face yet?

Standard

Almost 5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year!  Half or more of those bites are on children.  And many of those bites are on the child’s face!  Dog-bite related injuries are highest in kids who are 5-9 years old.

This article will help to safeguard your own children or any child you welcome into your home and around your dog.  Be sure to teach your children how to act correctly around dogs because each dog is different and each is equipped with serious weaponry.  But first you have to know how to act properly…

If you want to allow your kid to manhandle your own dogs that’s your business but be forewarned… dogs don’t usually like hugs and when we wrap our arms around them and put our face in their face it can be taken as a sign of dominance (like when a dog wraps their arms around another dog to hump them) (or when two dogs get too tense for too long at a face to face meeting).  Hugs and kissing can make a nervous dog totally uncomfortable because there is no escape route in sight…which can quickly escalate from flight to fight!

 

A dog is all about it’s body.  I know you may think you are too (especially you gals who try to line up with whichever new Hollywood buffoon is gracing the cover of the magazines near the checkout lines) but however self conscious or self obsessed you may be about your cankles, love handles, crooked nose, chicken wings, mole or other blemishes it is nothing compared to the amazingly body conscious, furry, companion you’ve got lying next to you.

At this age all the pups are blind and deaf so you can imagine the importance the sense of touch plays as they fumble around and find mom, dad, milk, and their siblings. Touch, taste, and smell are a dog’s first senses.

Dogs do not have a spoken language like we do but that in no way means they do not have an amazingly complex language based in movement and energy.  The movements of their body, their energy levels, and who is touching who and when, where, and how on their body a touch may or may not occur- all of these little details are actually words in dog speak or the canine way of communication.

A dogs intelligence is a masterful blend of ancient instincts mixed with empirical activity and social manipulation.  They form habits after discovering what works for them.  If your dog is out-touching you or over-touching you be it a lick, a mouth, a nip, jumping up, a bump, leaning on, stepping on, nosing you or any other touching I’ll tell you clearly you are being manipulated and dominated!  Your dog thinks it is in charge of the routines and habits that run your life.  And your dog is absolutely right in this thinking.  He/she is dominating you even if it appears friendly or if the dog is desperately “in need” of comfort.  (See our blog posts about Dealing with a Fearful dog and Introducing a Rescue dog)

This article should forever change how we view our dogs because, let me tell you, they can be more manipulative and socially brilliant than most people I see.  A dog, through touch and social spacing, can have a human trained within a few short weeks.  I see it every single day!

To safeguard children and yourself from dog bites be sure to truly observe how touch and social spacing are the number one top priority for determining leadership and developing habits of energy control in our dogs.  Think like a dog.  Get out of your distracted, human head and live in the moment for a second or three to see what your dog is doing and how they are talking.   Are they speaking rudely?  Are they dominant?  Are they scared and threatening other people, kids, or dogs?  Are they hyper and taking it out on you and your personal space or your guests?  Are they constantly licking you or on your lap or hiding behind you?  If you answered yes to any of these questions you need help and not just the typically lame sort of help that most behaviorists and trainers suggest because no amount of “sitting, downing, staying, or watch me” is going to help solve real behavioral manipulation and the social one-uping that your dog is exhibiting.

Now ask yourselves if you were so unaware about how important a dog’s sense of feeling and touch is and how important a dog’s physical body is when considering behavioral patterns and sociability how on earth would a child be privy to such information?  Kids are bulls in a dog’s personal China shop because they will get right in a dog’s face.  Kids will pull a dog’s ears.  Kids will often smack a dog with any large item if they see the dog jump back and find that to be humorous.  Kids will attempt to ride a dog or sit on them.  Kids will drag a dog or pup around on leash.  Kids will hug the heck out of a dog whether the dog is their calm and friendly, already desensitized, old, family dog or some new terrified and aggressive rescue dog that the neighbors just brought home…kids will treat almost every dog the same based on their former experiences.

Teach your kids to ask before touching.  Teach your kids simple canine communication.  Teach them silence can be a big warning.  Teach your kids to be gentle and stay out of the dog’s face.  Teach your kids never to corner or trap an animal.

This is an image of what I would call a calm, balanced, and relaxed dog that is not guarding or claiming its backside. Notice the relaxed open mouth. The confident yet calm posture. The dog is not attempting to move away from the touching going on back there or move towards the vet menacingly.  This means some wise dog owner made sure their puppy or dog received ample touching when and where the owner wanted to touch…not just when and where the dog wanted it!

For those adults who believe that dogs just snap one day and go crazy I’ve got news for you.  Unless the dog is rabid nothing is further from the truth.  Dogs never just go wild and give no warnings.  There are always subtle warnings. In fact, usually there are warnings for months!  This does not mean the dog will send you an email, text, or prepare a Power Point presentation to let you know they are feeling uncomfortable and are about to bite.  The dog will not stand up like a human and speak out loud to you.  It means YOU might need to take some time to learn to read and speak your dog’s language better since you were the one who decided to welcome a domesticated predator into your home.

If you currently have a puppy I suggest you start to manhandle and over-touch it how and whenever you want every single day.  Please note, I did not say whenever the pup wanted or wherever they want to be touched on their body.  Half of good, early, dog training is denying them the touch and attention they want when they want it to replace it with a more correct social touch or spacing that teaches calmness but doesn’t let the dog or pup manipulate us.  Social grooming, touching and spacing is everything when communicating with an animal.  This goes far, far beyond treating them for frivolous tricks.  This goes much deeper into a real and social language instead of just “finding what motivates your dog” like the majority of trainers and behaviorists go on and on about.

Handling and touching of your puppy or dog will have several great benefits.  It will prep them for vet and grooming visits.  It will teach them not to claim any part of their body so that in the future they do not guard it.  It will make you look more like the mother or father dog and establish a more real and meaningful relationship as opposed to just having the dog manipulate and use you.  Handling your dog the right way will make the dog much more comfortable socially as it will learn the proper way to receive human attention and touching.  Your learn kids are loud, climb on things, roll on the floor, move fast, and will sometimes get right in their face to give them a hug.  Most importantly the dog will learn there are more options than just fight or flight!  By touching your dog or pup correctly they will learn to access the appropriate social, calming signals.

Protect your kids and desensitize your puppy or dog to touching and you’ll be doing everyone a huge service.  Need help?  Give us a call!

-G

 

Calm your dog’s Energy and behavioral problems disappear!

Standard

One of the main issues I see that is tremendously lacking in thousands of homes, as I behaviorally rehab dogs and instruct their owners, is the simple understanding that dogs communicate constantly through their energy and body language.  Dogs are almost always talking!  Are we accurately reading them and honestly listening?  Dogs are constantly telling us what they need or want and this, in turn, tells us how to help them.  And the amazing thing about that is that dogs don’t lie.  They don’t deceive or fall prey to mankind’s greatest weaknesses, such as inflated ego, criticism, materialism, consumerism, or attempting to live a life that flows against Mother Nature.  When we can take our eyes off ourselves for a moment we can truly see, appreciate, and then help a dog or pup in need.

If you begin to think of a dog as furry energy, you will start to see how you can help calm that animal’s brain in that moment in time.  This is the answer to any dog behavioral issueProblems arise when most typical dog trainers, dog behaviorists, vets, vet techs, dog rescue groups, groomers and other dog professionals do not use enough natural calming techniques.  Many dog professionals seldom consider how dogs need to be calmed down in order to be social, and instead just forge ahead with the same typical training techniques no matter what the dog is communicating with its energy and body.

Typical training uses way too much excitement.  Please re-read that last sentence.  We have been sold the concept that an excited dog is a happy dog.  In many circumstances nothing could be further from the truth.  When we realize that the canine uses differing levels of excitement/energy like a human uses words to communicate, we start to understand that being excited does not always mean the dog is happy.  In fact, many dogs are overexcitement junkies.  They are stuck in horrible habits of overexcitement because they have not been shown how to stop the addiction, or shown they have crossed a social boundary in the household.  Remember, not all excitement is good.  Playing ball or wrestling with your dog is good excitement.  Pulling nonstop on leash or freaking out at another dog or person is not good.  As humans, we get excited to go on vacation and that’s great but we also become excited when in a warzone or if we were running from a dangerous murderer.  Not all excitement means we are happy.

Out of control much?

Most training also seldom considers what the animal may actually need and instead goes right into manipulating the dog, usually using something exciting (treats, toys, praise), into a sit, down or stay.  Behaviorist and trainers alike focus on the External motivation of the animal instead of the more natural and much more beneficial Internal motivation.  They focus too heavily on obedience as the end-all-be-all instead of relationship!

We as a society are hyper fixated for some very odd reason with making our dogs sit.  I see countless people every day making their dogs sit and sit and sit some more.  I ask you this simple question…Why?  Has it solved the dog’s behavioral issue? Has it made them calm their energy enough to change the undesirable behavior into something much better. or do they just end up, literally, placing their bottom on the ground for a moment and only to pop back up into whatever behavior they want?  Or, if the “sit, stay or wait,” works and is fairly strong and the person has practiced that with the dog and done prior training, the dog will then remain in the “sit, stay, wait” yet all the while building more energy and over-excitement.  Then, when the owner releases the dog, the dog ends up still exploding forward into the undesired behavior!  What has the sit (stay, wait) done for you?  What was gained?  In many cases the dogs use it to manipulate and raise their energy which is the OPPOSITE of what the owner wants and what the dog wants deep down inside.

Instinctually, no dog wants to be hyper or out of control.  They are just locked into a habit of raising their energy.  Many dogs I see yearn for more natural rules and boundaries so they can learn how to calm themselves down and exist more comfortably with their families at a more sociable level.  This leads to more pleasant outings and a larger social group.  And, as we know, instinctually for a pack predator (with amazing instincts right from the wolf) getting along in a large social group and operating like a well-oiled-machine is what being a healthy dog is all about.  Being social is the key.  But you have to be calm enough to get along socially!

Consider your dog’s energy levels while patiently existing in the moment with them, read their body language more effectively and then you will have an amazing foundation to prevent or cure any behavioral issue.  Think and then act to intercept rising energy and place your dog or pup into more patient postures.

“The more tranquil a man becomes the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good.  Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”  -James Allen

Hope you all enjoyed this article.

Check out my website at www.gstevensdogtrainer.com Stay tuned for other excellent dogformation from yours truly, thecaninecalmer.  Look for little dogortunities to work with your dogs or pups throughout the day.  Keep a sharp eye out for my up coming book!  And above all, stay persistent yet calm.

-Garrett Stevens

Alpha and Omega Dog Training

Any Breed, Any Age, Any Problem

www.gstevensdogtrainer.com