Relaxation Techniques

October 6, 2018

I often hear dog owners say "I know that this is all my fault". And I always reply, "well, maybe not, don't be so hard on yourself". 

Behavior is always a combination of genetics and environment. You (or other humans, dogs, events) may be responsible for the environmental portion of influence in a dog's behaviors. However, there are many people who do everything well from 8 weeks of age, and still struggle with their dog's behavior. I also know many people who do nothing at all and their dog is incredibly easy and well-behaved. How lucky, right!

A lot of undesired behavior stems from a dog who is anxious, insecure, irritable, uncomfortable, easily-aroused, over-stimulated, or uncertain. And, there is a lot that we can do to help a dog who is struggling, regardless if it's due to genetics or environment. 
Thinking of your dog as behaving badly disposes you to think of punishment. Thinking of your dog as struggling to handle something difficult encourages you to help him through his distress.

If your dog is distressed, easily aroused, over-stimulated, uncomfortable, etc, we'd incorporate the relaxation triad into our training. We need to prioritize our dog's relaxation and the ability to release unproductive energy. By addressing high energy, arousal, muscular tension, emotional tension, and anxiety, we'll be more successful with any other training goal, such as loose leash walking, greeting guests, seeing dogs walk past the house, or the off-leash recall. Anxiety, distress, fear, arousal, irritability, and reactivity are all counterproductive to other training goals. Therefore, we cannot ignore the dog's emotional state, and furthermore, the dog's emotional state should become our first training priority.

If you already know about the relaxation triad approaches (BD, CR, and DRR), feel free to send me an email if you have any questions. If you'd like to know how to incorporate these approaches, 1-on-1 training is the quickest way that I can help. If you are interested in any training program, including training programs where the dog lives with me, more information can be found here:

Thanks for reading.  All for now!



P.S. A huge shoutout to my mentor Mark McCabe!

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