Focus on Sending the Correct Signals
In our PetMassage for Dogs Foundation Workshop we place great emphasis on being conscious of our body language.
- Every movement you make is interpreted by your dogs.
- To know what your dog is reacting to, you need to be conscious of what signals you are broadcasting.
- You need to be clear about what you are asking them to do.
Pulled from Tree to Shining Tree
As I was walking our two dogs recently, I found myself in the usual and disconcerting pattern of being yanked from tree to shining tree. Calling cards left by other dogs were splashed on every aromatic tree trunk. Their lurching was making their collars dig into their necks and my hands and shoulders were getting strained. I needed to redirect their attention back to me and us, as a safely moving group.
I focused on sending the correct signals. I decided to apply steady resistance to their pulls. I paused and waited. Eventually, they stopped pulling and turned to look at me. I complimented them. “Good girls.” I released the tension on the leashes, lifted my foot to take a step, and off they charged, again. Resistance.
They stopped, turned and watched for me to give them a clue to what I was going to do next. Would I step forward, back, or stay where I was? I stepped and stopped, stepped and stopped; aware of my thoughts, my rate of movement, my tension on the leash.
Ilaria and Camille respected my intentional walking. They soon began to stay within their 6-foot loose leash comfort range. The dogs, comfortable with this arrangement, entertained themselves investigating the bounty of scents calling out to them.
They were happy. I was happy. We were all happy. Our needs were met. We felt heard, understood, and harmonious.