'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Friday, 20 May 2011

Jean Donaldson - 'Mine.'

Highlights from Jean Donaldson's excellent book on resource guarding, 'Mine.' (Which everybody should read, especially if their dog has any resource guarding issues whatsoever.)

'Our expectations of dogs are very high, actually. The standard we have set for them is one we would considre absurd for any other species of animal, including ourselves. We want no aggressive behaviour directed at humans, of even the most ritualized sort, at any time, over the entire course of the dog's life. This is exactly like you going a lifetime without ever once losing your temper, swearing at another driver in traffic, being rude to someone in a line-up, writing a hot letter to the editer, defending yourself from what you perceive to be a threat, calling a lawyer or saying something mean to your spouse that you later regret. All species-normal, even highly ritualized aggression is forbidden.' (2)

'Similarly, there is a big difference in ritualized and non-ritualized conflict resolution behaviour in dogs. Hard stares, growling, snarling, snapping and biting without maiming force are the "legal" conflict resolution behaviours in dog society. They are ways for dogs to settle conflicts - to say "back off!" if you will - without the high price to all participants of flat-out uninhibited aggression. Dogs are equipped with maim-force jaws, capable of crushing bone and tearing flesh. They carry these heavy weapons with them at all times, yet have managed to not self-annihilate as a species, in spite of lots of arguing about bones, mates and carcasses.' (3-4)

'...a geriatric, couch-potato dog has a reaction time better than an Olympic athlete. When dogs intend to bite, they bite. When they intend to snap, they snap.' (5)

'Our vision of dogs is filled with images of dogs soliciting patting, and enjoying tummy rubs and ear scratches. And, while we can relate to a dog being nervous or irritable when in pain or when having a scary veterinary procedure done, we are thrown for a loop by dogs who do not relish being touched or handled when our motive is benign or even affectionate. The reality is, however, that we would not expect to easily handle adults of any other species of animal if they had not been systematically and extensively handled and gentled as infants and juveniles.' (12)

'...there are clear learning rate differences between dogs. In many cases these can be traced to a more enriched environment, particularly when a dog has been taught other things and is benefiting from a "learning to learn" effect.' (20)

'First and foremost, ensure that the dog has adequate physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. There is now evidence that aerobic exercise raises serotonin levels, which is good for the cauce. Good choices are jogging, dog play, sustained games of fetch, long hikes, swimming and organized sports like Agility and Flyball. ... Physical exercise is part of the battle. The other part is tiring the dog out mentally.' (85)

[When working on a program to remove resource guarding...] 'Check for and suspend any use of aversives, including hidden aversives, in the dog's life. The concept of "hidden aversives" speaks to the relativity of stimuli. A dog with a high pain threshold may not find a harsh leash jerk to be aversive, whereas a dog with a lower pain threshold may find simply being tugged on a flat collar to be aversive. Even more commonly, a dog who is emotionally sensitive (i.e. a "soft" temperament), may find raised voices or impatient handling to be aversive.' (86-87)

1 comment:

Sara said...

Good stuff!