The Human Connection

Jan 29, 2015

As technology gains have vastly increased over the last couple of years, we have also seen its effect revolutionise how we look after our furry friends.

As technology gains have vastly increased over the last couple of years, we have also seen its effect revolutionise how we look after our furry friends.

But just as technology aids us in our everyday life, it can provide negative effects. One only needs to go to a local café to see the lack of social interactions between people. You will notice how few are actually interacting with each other and how many are on their phone or tablet.

Most of the technological upgrades within the pet industry have been designed to keep your pet entertained while you are away from your home. Such items as the automatic ball launcher provide endless hours of fun for your pet. But are we inadvertently conditioning the dog that human interaction is of lower value than these automated machines?

If our furry friends are continually exposed to these new gadgets, why would they need to engage with us when they can self-satisfy through the use of technology? Put simply the dog does not have to provide a specific task for us before receiving its reward, there is no requirement to obey commands and it can achieve the same satisfaction without any conflict. One of the biggest issues is the dog’s ability to dictate when they choose to start and stop, providing further independence from the owner.

When we look at the owners, these technological advancements may help them not to feel guilty about not taking the dog out for a run or giving the owners the sense that their furry friend has been provided with enough mental stimulus through playing all day by himself. There is no further requirement to engage with the dog, giving them more time to do what they want. What then happens to our relationship if left unchecked? Are we teaching our pets that they don’t need us? What are the potential issues? Are we going to see a rise in behavioural problems such environmental and sociability issues?

We may think that this issue only affects our dogs, but what are the effects on us. Our dogs are a great way of reliving stress from our everyday life, whether it be through a game of fetch, long walks or a run and sometimes it can be as simple as a hug.

How do we then rectify a behavioural issue with a dog, who we have inadvertently taught there is little to no satisfaction in pleasing us? Is the simplest solution for a pet owner with little to no experience to simply surrender the dog at a shelter?

While there has been a massive advancement in the methodology of training dogs, technology has followed suit by making it easier, but has it really made it better? Have we sold out the ability to train dogs? By failing to apply our knowledge on how our dogs learn and putting those principles into action with a proper training schedule we are taking the easy road and simply pressing a button on a remote to produce factory style training for the owner.

Time and time again I have seen dogs punished by owners and trainers who have skipped so many steps in training by fast tracking and relying solely on technology rather than building the proper foundation work and developing their relationship through proper training. Resulting in an animal that is just confused and in some cases frustrated. This practice can easily ruin the relationship between us and our furry friends.

Dog Walking Robot 

While I am not against advancement in how we are able to interact with our pets, my concern is for the pet owners ability to manage it correctly and not become dependent on it. Our dogs are a reflection of us, and as such we need to maintain our connection with our furry friends and continue to engage through whatever sport or activity we do.

While some may say, "how can something so rewarding potentially lead to behavioural problems?" The answer is simple, it may make looking after our furry friends a lot simpler but it has the reverse effect of making us as the owners, lazier. As one trainer once said to me “Laziness is the easiest disease to catch and the hardest to get rid off.”

We may start off providing these gadgets with the best intentions, but there have been many occasions where the best intentions have led to disaster. Don’t let your pet become the young child in room addicted to his game console and both of you missing out on life.

Maintain the human connection by using technology in moderation. 


 

Why I Love Training Dogs

Jan 22, 2015

When I began learning how to train dogs, I quickly hit a few walls. There was just so much information available and so much of it conflicted.

When I began learning how to train dogs, I quickly hit a few walls. There was just so much information available and so much of it conflicted.

I read extensively about positive only training.

I learned about using compulsion.

I studied the Alpha Dog method.

I was taught the benefits of a reward based training approach.

I’m the sort of person that is never satisfied with my own knowledge and always wants to know more, so if someone had written a book, made a video, or posted on a blog, I read it!

When I started attending dog training clubs and seminars, it got worse. So many opinions on what methods are right and what are wrong. The over whelming theme usually seemed to be a focus on what the other guys are doing and why they shouldn’t be doing it. I really didn’t enjoy all the tension and how people were looking out at others rather than in at themselves.

For pet dog owners the goal is a happy, healthy and social pet. Sadly all around the world, the leading cause of death in pet dogs is unsocial behaviour. And it’s not their fault! Usually the dogs are just acting the way they have been encouraged to behave right from the day they were brought into the home! Misinformation has a lot to answer for here. People ignoring their dog’s problems and letting them escalate, poor timing when delivering a correction and even poor breed selection for their lifestyle.

So why do I love all this? I’ve always found that a dog and its behaviour is a reflection of its owner. That’s not to say that a submissive dog has a submissive owner, or an aggressive dog has an aggressive owner. What I mean is that when your dog behaves well in a social situation, comes back when called or even just isn’t jumping all over strangers to steal their food, it is a reflection of the time, effort and care you have put into their upbringing.

I have the greatest feeling of pride as I walk my dog off leash through a high distraction environment. When I call my dog and he runs back to me like its his job, I know that that isn’t just luck, that’s something we spent time and energy working on together. But best of all I enjoy watching his tail wag as we do it all. He is happy, he is healthy and he is social.

My dogs can do lots of tricks, lots of tricks that impress lots of people but that’s not why I teach them. I spend time teaching my dogs tricks because I enjoy the bond it creates. Dogs, especially young dogs relish the time spent learning things from their owners. Mental stimulation is critical to any dogs development and time spent with their owners learning new things will be the highlight of any dogs day.

So I love training dogs because dogs love to be trained. I love training dogs because of the bond that it creates between me and the dog but mostly I love training dogs because of the feeling of accomplishment I get knowing that my dogs are happy, healthy and social.

Love Of Training Dogs 

 


 

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Buying/Adopting a Dog

Dec 16, 2014

Here are 3 great reasons why buying or adopting a dog can be an excellent decision.

Choosing to buy a dog is a big decision, and not one that should be taken lightly. Dogs, on average, live for 12 years, and can cost between $13,000 - $25,000 over the course of their lifetime. If you've carefully considered the time, commitment, and financial factors of dog ownership but you're still unsure if bringing a dog into your home is right for you, here are 3 great reasons why buying or adopting a dog can be an excellent decision!

1) PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR BELONGINGS

In the typical Hollywood movies, spies and burglars often sneak past watch dogs by tossing a steak at them, or by shooting them with tranquillizer darts. In real life, unless your home is full of national defence secrets, a burglar will more likely just head down the street to the next home if he sees evidence of a dog. If you live in an area prone to break-ins, you will be able to sleep more soundly with a dog in your home, knowing there will be a lot less chance of anyone trying to break-in as well as being alerted to any attempted break-ins by your dogs' barking. Similarly, if you're out jogging with a dog, particularly a larger breed, then the chances that anyone will bother you are significantly less.


2) REINVIGORATE YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR LIFESTYLE

It has been scientifically proven that early risers are happier, healthier and more productive than night-owls, yet many people struggle with getting out of bed early in the morning (especially during the winter months!). If you're a late riser who wants to accomplish more each day but has trouble making the first move out from under those cosy covers, then a dog may be the perfect solution for you. A dog won't let you sleep in, and they'll wake you up early every morning wanting breakfast, a walk, or simply a little bit of attention. Closely linked in with this is the fact that every time you exercise your dog, you exercise yourself! Walking is one of the best forms of exercise as it requires no special equipment, is low intensity, and is something that almost anyone can benefit from, no matter what their level of fitness is. If you're already in good shape, consider getting a younger dog, large enough to keep up with your running pace.

Taking Care Of A Dog


3) DOGS CAN HELP YOU LIVE LONGER
People who own dogs have been proven to enjoy longer life spans on average - often attributed to the positive effects dog companionship has on the dog owner's mental, emotional, and physical health. "People who have dogs live longer than people who have cats, and the assumption has been that dogs naturally cause their owners to be more active", says Dr. Thomas Lee , "The emotional benefits of having an affectionate creature are also one of the theories for why dog-lovers live longer."

Safety, health, and a longer, happier lifespan? If it sounds as great to you as it does to us, maybe it's time for you to start researching different breeds of dog and contacting your local breeder or dog shelter! 

Longer Life For Dogs


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