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Wanna understand human social behaviour?

Wanna understand human social behaviour?

…Turn to pooches 

Over the years, we always thought that chimpanzees are the most suitable species for understanding human behaviour. But a new research has proved that even though chimps may share many of our genes, dogs form better model for understanding human social behaviour. And the reason is simple…dogs have been our best friends and have lived with us since time immemorial.

And guess what, we share behaviours like socialisation, cooperation, attachment to people and understanding human verbal and non-verbal communications.

Now pooch cancer can be treated with transplants

Cody, a Golden Retriever, was suffering from lymphoma. But his family did not give up and went for a bone marrow transplant. Today, Cody is hopefully cancer-free for rest of his life. Yes, this treatment has given a new hope to many pet parents whose canines are suffering from cancer as they can be saved by transplant…just like us humans!

Angelina–A true angel!

A female Labrador called Angelina saved her owner Maria Tripodi by knocking her out of the way when roof of their house fell down upon them in Rivoli, Italy. The incident took place when the pet and her parent returned home after a walk. Sensing some trouble, Angelina jumped up and knocked Maria to the ground. When the pet parent picked herself, she watched in horror the roof of their house came crashing down. Angelina felt the tiny tremor too small for Maria or other humans to pick up, according to experts. Angelina knew something was wrong and wouldn’t let Maria set foot over the doorway, a neighbour said.

Life-saviour pooch: Rock-O

We all have heard many incidents where dogs have saved people from potential dangers. Here’s an amazing pooch named Rock-O, a Portuguese water dog, who saves his companion from a deadly product–peanuts. Well, eight-year-old Riley Mers is allergic to peanuts so much so that an accidental slip of a peanut shell on her skin burnt her skin like acid and its mere smell makes her go into hives.

Even a trip to a friend’s house proves hazardous for Riley. She is continuing her education online and attends only a few classes at school. But now Riley is always accompanied with Rock-O who can detect the presence of peanuts much before she can and stops her from entering that area. It thus saves Riley from further peanut-danger. Three cheers to Rock-O!

And the winner is… Charmin!

Sweet and charming Sealyham Terrier named Charmin from Pennsylvania has won the ‘Best in Show’ trophy at the recent Cruft’s Dog Show held in Birmingham, Alabama. Charmin fought his long way from the Terrier category to the victory in the grand show. He beat off six magnificent opponents including a Hungarian Vizsla, a Papillion and a Pharaoh Hound to bag the trophy.

Charmin’s delighted owner Marjery Good said that she was so excited and pleased of being a pet parent of her victorious Sealyham Terrier. Commenting on Charmin, she mentioned that he is such a special dog, a best buddy and by winning Cruft’s trophy he again proved himself.

Say bye bye to body tension and behaviour problems

Even the most established behaviour problems can be resolved through the Tellington TTouch, which helps in releasing tension from the body…thereby diminishing the behaviour problems. Come let’s know more about this wonder touch.

Did you know a dog who carries tension through the hindquarters is more likely to be sensitive to noise and dog healthlack of confidence than a dog who has free movement through the hind quarters. Tension in the lower back triggers the flight/fight reflex and tension through the neck can result in dog who is collar shy or overly reactive to other animals and people. TTouch on Monty helps him become more confident with people – his owner Jo did some bodywork first and now Monty is happy to be handled by a different person.

The Tellington TTouch…

The Tellington TTouch Method looks at the link between an animal’s posture and his behaviour. It used to be one of the best-kept secrets in the world but fortunately awareness is increasing and there are now over one thousand practitioners working in 27 different countries. Developed by animal expert Linda Tellington Jones more than thirty years ago, it is used by trainers who work with dogs in all spheres including service, competition and family dogs. It is now also used by veterinarians, dog walkers, groomers, shelter helpers, behaviour counselors, veterinary nurses and dog lovers worldwide.

How it works…

By using a combination of TTouch bodywork and on leash ground exercises, tension can be released from the body and as a result associated behaviours naturally diminish. TTouch combines well with other positive techniques such as Clicker Training and can produce some truly outstanding results in even the most established behaviours. TTouch helps educate the dog and encourage him make appropriate choices that enable him to adapt to life with their human companions.

Types of TTouches…

The three basic TTouches that are probably used most commonly include Clouded Leopard, Llama, and Chimp TTouch. The TTouches are all named after animals who inspired the work and help create a visual image of the different movements or hand positions used.

Clouded Leopard TTouch: The Clouded Leopard is the foundation for all the circular TTouches. Visualise a watch face on the dog’s body approximately half an inch in diameter with six being the lowest point. With one hand lightly holding the lead, supporting the collar, or resting on the dog’s body, place the fingers of your other hand at six on your imaginary watch face. With your fingers in a softly curved position, like a paw, push the skin around the clock in a clockwise circle. Maintain an even pressure all the way round, on past six until you reach eight. At eight, pause for a few seconds and if the dog is relaxed, move to another spot and repeat the movement.

Handy tips for Clouded Leopard TTouch:

  • It is important to make only one-and-a-quarter circles each time on any one spot and to ensure that your fingers are pushing the skin in a circle rather than sliding over the hair.
  • When you make a circle rest your thumb lightly against the body to steady the hand.
  • Move your first, second and third fingers as one to ensure that the little finger ‘goes along for the ride’.
  • If you tense the joints in your fingers or wrist, the whole movement will become stiff.
  • Allow your fingers to relax and move in the rotation.
  • Practice doing the circular movements on the back of your hand to help soften your hands and give you a sense of how the TTouch differs from other body work.
  • It is important to make sure your circles are really round and that they are made in one smooth, flowing movement. As you work, remember to breathe.
  • Concentration can cause us to hold our breath, which stiffens our body and affects the TTouch.
  • You can do the Clouded Leopard TTouch over the whole dog altering your hand position where necessary around the contours of the body to ensure the movement remains fluid and relaxed.

The Llama TTouch: Nervous dogs or those who are protective about being touched on certain parts of their body may find contact with the back of the hand less threatening. Keep your fingers soft and gently stroke the dog’s muzzle and body with the back of your fingers. You can also try the one a quarter circular movements with this TTouch.

Chimp TTouch: This TTouch is particularly useful for nervous dogs. Make a soft open fist and use the area between the first and second joints on the back of the fingers to move the skin. Keep the fingers together and the hand soft.

Different strokes…

The TTouches break down into three groups: circles, slides and lifts. They can be used on any dog regardless of his age and can help older dogs by improving mobility, thus reducing the effects of old age upon his body.

My dog does not like circular movements: If your dog doesn’t settle with the circular TTouches:

  • Lighten the pressure. Most people are amazed at how light this work is once they experience it on themselves.
  • Move in an anti-clockwise direction.
  • Lightly brush your fingertips over the dog as though you were flicking dust from his face or body. If he settles, add the occasional circle.
  • Slow down the movement.
  • Cover your hand with a sheepskin mitt.

Ear Slides: Ear Slides is really a useful tool that every dog owner should learn. Besides helping to release tension around the base of the ears, the forehead, and upper part of the neck, ear slides can help dogs overcome a variety of issues and can even save lives.

Holding the ear gently but firmly, stroke the ear from the base right out to the tip. If the ear hangs down you work from the base down, and if the dog has upright ears, you work from the base up to the tip. Move the position of your hand each time to ensure that the whole ear is covered with the strokes. Work gently but with intent. If you are too tentative, you may make your dog nervous, particularly if he is ear shy. Working the shock point by making circular movements on the tip of the ear with the finger and thumb is beneficial for dogs who have had a traumatic experience, have cold tips to their ears and/or are habitually nervous.

The speed with which you work will vary on the dog’s response and situation. To calm a nervous or hyperactive dog and to promote relaxation, work quite slowly. If your dog is unsure, start by working more quickly initially and then gradually slow the movements as the dog settles. If you are working with a dog who is fatigued, or wanting to help bring a dog round from sedation, work a little more quickly.

It reduces stress, initiates the parasympathetic nervous system, lowers the heart rate and respiration, promotes deep, rhythmical breathing which boosts the immune system, and can stabilize a dog who is fatigued, stressed or going into or already in a state of shock. It promotes relaxation and can be done during training and before and after competitions to calm and settle the dog. It can be used during whelping if the female dog becomes distressed and can be used to help warm a cold and exhausted pup.

If your dog doesn’t like Ear Slides:

  • Stroke the ear gently against the dog’s neck. Some dogs find having the ear touch their own body initially more acceptable.
  • Cover your hand with a glove, or sheepskin buff.
  • Hold the ear near the base and very gently take the ear slightly out to the side, pause for a moment and then slowly guide it back.
  • Try other exercises and also exercises for the neck and mouth.

Benefits galore…

  • TTouch gives beneficial information to the nervous system and is particularly useful for puppies and the simple bodywork exercises help develop a unique and lasting bond between dogs and their handlers.
  • It also works well alongside appropriate veterinary care to help dogs suffering from health related issues such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, reluctance to eat and so on.
  • The groundwork and bodywork exercises add variety to training and improve balance, co-ordination and self-control.
  • TTouch can be used to help dogs overcome a fear of contact, to reduce stress, timidity and over excitability, to help a dog overcome a fear of loud noises and to improve traveling issues.
  • It also helps reduce leash pulling, excessive barking, and separation anxiety and so on.

In fact, there is no situation that cannot be helped by TTouch.

(For more information on TTouch visit the www.ttouchtteam.co.uk and www.ttouch.com)

Doggie behaviour clue to mystery robbery

Goldie

Goldie

We are blessed with two lovely dogs: a fi ve-year-old Golden Retriever – Goldie and a one-and-half-year-old Doberman – Scooby Doo. Goldie has a great sense of smell and can identify new people more by smell than by sight. She usually barks at them and then quickly becomes friendly. On the other hand, Scooby Doo’s natural guarding instincts are very strong. Except my family and staff, he does not trust anybody else.

One afternoon, when both I and my wife Nandini were out, we got a call from our maid who informed us that a masked man had entered our house through the back-door and had stolen our valuables.

To our utter surprise, when my wife reached home, she saw Scooby Doo tied outside the house in the portico and Goldie lying in the house near dining table, oblivious of anything. While recounting the incidents about the theft hysterically, my maid was defi nite that both the doggies had not barked at all. It was strange! Goldie however was friendly but would bark at strangers before becoming friends. Scooby Doo would recognise strangers without even seeing them and bark his head off.

The sub-inspector, Ramachandran too was puzzled with the behaviour of the dogs. Keeping this as the main investigating point and also other aspects of the burglary, he came to the conclusion that the domestic aides were involved in the burglary. Further questioning broke the maid and her husband, who accepted comitting the crime. Even though my dogs did not bark and raise alarm at the time of crime, their behaviour helped us catch the thieves…they are the true heroes – our protectors.

What causes dominance behaviour?

What causes dominance behaviour?

Have you ever wondered how much of your dog’s behaviour has been preordained? Over recent years, behaviourist studies have helped dog owners gain a better understanding of the behaviour of domestic dogs by researching their closest living wild relative – the wolf.

This has certainly helped increase our understanding and appreciation of our pet dogs’ natural behaviours. According to leading behaviourist Sarah Heath, BVSc, MRCVS, one of the aspects of wolf behaviour that shows in our own relationships with our pets is that of dominance in the hierarchy. The need for domesticated dogs to prove dominance in a relationship has contributed to many behavioural problems in the home. What does dominance mean, and what part does it play in a canine society?

The pack instinct

Dogs are social animals who have a pack instinct – i.e. a natural need to be with other dogs. In the wild, they need to cooperate with one another in order to survive. They display all of the basic behaviours, including hunting and rearing of young, in this pack environment. However, because the pack is such a tight structure, it is essential that all dogs within the same group get along well to avoid disruption and conflict. By living according to a strict order, dogs are able to minimize tension and competition. This reduces the risk of physical confrontation, which could result in injury for pack members. Far from leading to aggression, the presence of a “top dog” within a pack should reduce aggression and make the pack more stable.

In the wild, a pack does not establish a natural hierarchy immediately. For a chain of command to be established within the pack, individual dogs need to be familiar with one another, and some need to be prepared to show subordinate or submissive behavioural responses. Other dogs will want to establish their rank in the group, and will start a series of confrontations. These confrontations will take place until each dog has been defeated into submission and one dog is left as the dominant animal. Within a pack, these confrontations take place regularly, and over time a hierarchy is established. The dogs, who have won more competitive encounters, are given a higher rank than those who have failed to win.

Because it is important to avoid injury during these competitions, the subordinate dog in an encounter will give clear signals to the other animal that confrontation is unnecessary. In this way, the submissive dog is effectively giving his dominance away without making the other dog prove his point with physical violence.

Born dominant?

Some studies show that dogs are born dominant and that their behaviour is governed by hereditary traits. Such a belief leads to dogs being labelled as dominant at an early age, which in turn relates dominance to aggression in dogs. This misconception of dominance has lead to many dogs being labelled as potentially dangerous.

Some dogs may be less inhibited in their behaviour than others, and therefore may be less likely to diffuse a situation with submissive signalling. For these dogs, the question of their dominance can only be settled by an encounter with another individual. If the other animal is inhibited in terms of his behaviour, then the less inhibited dog is more likely to assume his dominance. But this does not guarantee that he will be dominant in all relationships or that he will always be superior to that partner. At the time, the best dog won, but that doesn’t mean the other dog won’t test him again and win.

The dog that wins the majority of encounters with a range of individuals is given the job of leading the pack. This is the highest accolade but, as with any high-flying job, the position brings responsibility as well as privilege. The top dog maintains his position of authority through respectful communication with his fellow pack members, and bullying tactics are unwelcome and unnecessary.

No interest in being a leader

Many dogs within the pack are not interested in being a leader and are happy to be lower ranking members of the workforce. These dogs often find responsibility difficult to handle, and feel pressured by privilege. While the top job is filled by a stable and secure boss, everything is fine, but any signs of instability in the higher ranks can lead to problems. This insecurity can become a source of anxiety to those further down the ranks, and the pack can be thrown into disarray. A pack without a strong leader is a pack under threat. If the leader fails to demonstrate his position consistently, trouble can often break out in the lower ranks. These lower ranking dogs will jostle for the top position.

Don’t show weakness

In the domestic situation, these dogs are far more likely to present behavioural problems when the dominant human shows weakness. When tackling a dominance issue, the point is not to show your dog ‘Who is boss’, but to show him ‘Who isn’t’ through calm communication and order.

Looking at dogs in the wild and their pack instinct can give a better understanding of why your dog needs to be led. He wants to feel secure and ensure his survival, which to him is as true in his household as it is in the wild.