Eye of doG (5 KB)

Last updated: Sun, 24 Aug 2008 18:14:10
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The Foundation is Trust

Kwali's paw lies on my hand; she licks my hand

[c30192-kwalicoop1.jpg] Kwali allows me to lift her paw; I let her lick

Build a foundation of trust

A dog who trusts you can accept small amounts of unexpected pain when most procedures are painless. Dogs innately trust us, their Caretakers; they bond easily with us; it's in their nature. We need to avoid betraying that trust.

It is never, ever, necessary to punish a dog

It took me years of study to learn this simple fact. There is always something else we can do instead of punishing our dogs. We can prevent the dog from getting into danger; we can prevent the dog from putting others in danger. We can offer the dog alternatives to whatever the dog has gotten into. We can trade-up if the dog got the chicken-bones; just offer a very tasty treat, and teach the dog to exchange the treasure for the treat.

Giving injections and testing blood glucose

Giving injections and testing blood glucose levels can be painful, but we can study and learn how to deliver painless injections of insulin and learn where to prick for blood samples, and how to do it so it doesn't cause pain. It takes some practice. We work harder than the dogs do! But that's the point. We can walk-through the procedures first, studying, practicing, without the dog. Once we are familiar with the routines, then we can help the dog learn the routines.

When we are comfortable with the equipment and the procedures, the dogs can then learn to become comfortable with them.

Treats help!

A reasonably relaxed dog can take small treats, and enjoy them. We do have to be careful with treats for diabetics. But if we work at thinking in dog-terms instead of human-terms, we can probably find safe treats our dogs like. My dogs love broccoli and low-fat cottage cheese.

Kwali always wants to lick

Kwali was the runt of her litter. She is somewhat of a compulsive licker. I allow her to lick for reasonable periods; then I withdraw my hand, and, having been allowed to lick some, Kwali settles.

Licking is how Kwali makes connections. When you connect with your dog, do so in whatever way comes naturally to you and the dog.

Have the dog sideways to you

This way, you avoid the innately threatening gesture of looming over the dog. Avoid staring the dog head-on in the face.

Lifting the paw

First, I place my hand behind the foreleg, then push very gently, with a very slight cupping of my palm to support the paw; then I lift gently, not high, just a little.If the dog retracts the paw, I just start over again. This picture was taken after Kwali had once retracted her paw. When I repeated, she allowed her paw to stay lying on my hand..

Here, we are just practicing physical-handling; this has nothing to do with giving injections nor with pricking for blood samples. It's contact-play and petting, connecting.

Tune into yourself and the dog

Before you touch the dog, take a few seconds to tune into yourself. Become conscious of your hands, of how and what they are feeling. Make sure you are breathing evenly and easily. Dogs notice when we hold our breaths, and it makes them very tense, because they know we are tense.

Once you're well-aware of sensation in your hands, touch your dog; lay your palm on the dog; notice the sensaton of the dog in or under your hands. If the dog moves, let your hand go with that motion. If the dog retracts, let the paw go, or allow the dog to move away. You can touch again moments later,

Talk softly to the dog; sing, croon, chant, giggle lightly. Or say nothing at all, Use some of each - talk, singing, silence!

Be watching your dog, and respond to what your dog does. Doing so will help build a really deep foundation of trust.

Slow and steady does the job.

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Animal Stars
FOUNDATIONS. Work at the dog's pace; don't push the dog; do ask the dog to cooperate. If the dog moves away, let the dog go. Invite the dog back. If it doesn't come, let it be, and try again later. Both practice and real sessions should be short; no more than a few minutes each. If you don't succeed in three tries, wait at least hours before the next try.
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