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Teach Dogs Impulse Control – Not just Submission

Scout searching for Love...

Scout searching for Love…

Recently the Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column discussed findings that dogs need to be parented in a similar fashion to other adolescents, with consistency and boundaries.  Additionally, like juveniles, dogs need to learn is how to manage frustration.  Dogs that have not learned this are the ones whose emotions quickly turn from frustration to rage and aggression.  Although many trainers would respond that a dog that easily reacts through rage needs to learn submission, what is really needed is impulse control.

Animal behaviorists such as Temple Grandin (a popular one amongst us shelter dogs) and Patricia McConnell (whose book “For the Love of a Dog” is one of my favorites) have found that dogs considered most healthy and emotionally balanced begin learning and developing impulse control from early puppyhood.  Learning to accept being crawled upon and pushed away from the food source by other siblings while nursing is an example of good frustration tolerance.  As such, dogs that are isolated and under- socialized (particularly in their early years) can develop a very low tolerance to frustration which can very negatively impact dog’s temperament.

Dogs that develop impulse control are safe dogs and what humans would consider “friendlier” dogs – the kind that you can take to the park and won’t bite a child that comes running over and lunges at the dog in an attempt to embrace it.  Thus one of the key factors in training impulse control is socialization, for in varying social situations you can train your dog to tolerate frustration.

So technically, the various training techniques that you hear about for establishing a submissive dog are actually about building this level of tolerance.  By requiring your dog to sit at the door before entering or exiting it, and by taking food away from him without him growling, he learns that he can’t always have it “his” way.  He also learns that this is ok.

Training in impulse control is also important for addressing hyperactivity.  Training the hyper dog to “wait” and “stay” before retrieving a thrown Frisbee is an example of training for frustration tolerance and will lead to a much more controllable dog.

I am not saying that all the trainers that tell dog parents they have to be dominant and teach their dogs submission are wrong but you may want to consider what would happen if you were to shift your focus away from getting your dog to submit and toward handling frustration.  Shifting your focus in this direction will shift your behavior when training your dog and dogs learn best from modeling their parents or adult role models – in the wild or in the house.

If you are teaching your dog by yelling, stomping your feet, yanking or using physical force you are teaching him to use the same approach when frustrated.  Remaining calm and in control of your own emotions allows your dog to learn to do the same and allows further learning to occur.  Please also remember that individual temperaments will make these lessons easier or more difficult for different dogs but consistency and patience will pay off much more than negative punishment.

My name is Scout and I am a five year old Border Collie/Aussie mix looking for someone willing to receive the lifetime abundance of love I have to offer.  I am also very bright and with consistency and boundaries I can learn anything. (Scout has been adopted but call Second Chance if you are looking for a new friend and family member).

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to: kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.org. Photo by Real Life Photographs.

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August 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

An elderly couple have been killed by “feral” dogs in a town in Georgia after they were attacked while taking a morning walk.

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

The bodies of former college professor Luther Karl Schweder, 77, and Sherry Schweder, 65 were discovered early on Saturday morning, with the dogs still present at the scene. Authorities say that the Mrs. Schweder was attacked by the dogs while she was out for a walk and her husband died trying to fight off the animals. 11 mixed-breed dogs were captured at the scene, and 5 more have been subsequently caught. All 16 dogs were euthanized on Tuesday at the Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter.

Residents of the area say that they were familiar with the dogs, and that they had never shown any signs of aggression before. It is thought that some dogs were left behind at an abandoned property in the area when the resident of the house, Howard Thaxton, moved away with health problems, and since then the dogs have multiplied and become more feral. However, it is claimed that Thaxton has been driven to the house every few days to leave food for the dogs.

There have been at least 20 fatal dog attacks in the United States so far in 2009, where are there are approximately 75 million pet dogs. The authorities are still considering whether Thaxton can be held culpable for the tragedy in any way.

**An additional worry here is that another side affect of the poor economy and foreclosure markets could be more abandoned dogs and cats that then become feral and form packs. – Ask Marion/JOMP

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August 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, animal behavior, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NH man snares rare, cobalt-blue lobster

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) – At first, New Hampshire lobsterman Bill Marconi thought he had caught a shiny blue beer can in his trap. It turns out it was a rare, cobalt-blue lobster. The 52-year-old lobsterman was out hauling 400 traps with his son Wednesday when he snared the 1 1/2-pound lobster in between his dock and the Isle of Shoals, about six miles off the coast.

New England Aquarium Research Director Mike Tlusty told Foster’s Daily Democrat only one in 5 million lobsters are blue.

Tlusty said blue lobsters are different in that they are better at processing astaxanthin, an antioxidant with a red pigment derived from algae. The substance bonds with proteins in the lobster’s shell, resulting in the blue pigment.

Marconi donated his lobster to the Seacoast Science Center.

Talk about “weird”, here’s a blue lobster.

Blue Lobsters

Blue lobsters are very, very rare. It has been debated but ‘most’ scientists say that the blue colored lobsters are that way for the same reason that there are like albino people (lacking a gene). Not only are there very few blue lobsters born but the ones that are don’t last to long. Because of their unique color, blue lobsters get eaten by prey quickly.

Blue Lobster 2

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August 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment