Friday, November 24, 2023

Whispers, Screams, & Singing

Do dogs whisper, scream, & sing?

And if so, what does that look like?


Most dog owners would say that their dog has different barks or levels of bark to mean different things. They may use in "inside voice" or whisper on cue to get a treat, their alarm bark for an intruder that can be heard miles away, and sometimes a singing voice that often comes out when they are playing with good friends. Just like the audible voice dogs have, their behavior also reveals body signals that can be divided into these 3 categories. The emotions a dog is feeling in any given moment plus the level of arousal the dog is experiencing work together to create the behaviors we see. Humans then can observe these behaviors to take an educated guess at what our dogs might be feeling.

Screams

The loudest, most energetic, obnoxious, extreme behaviors are signs that our dog is extremely aroused and over-threshold or rapidly going off the deep end. This might be that audible alarm bark, lunging at a perceived threat, running away, or any one of the behaviors that we recognize as fight, flight, freeze, fawn, or fool around behaviors. New dog owners might struggle to recognize this body language, but most seasoned dog owners recognize when their dog is over-the-top reacting to a change in the environment.

Whispers

These are more like the subtle body language cues we can observe in our dog that suggest something has gotten their attention and their arousal level is starting to increase. Unlike screams, the whispers are very easy to miss! Whispers vary greatly from individual to individual, sometimes impacting the common places we watch for body language (eyes, ears, mouth, tail, etc) but creating such a minor change that it's easily missed. Often dog trainers will refer to these smaller actions as micro signals, meaning small or almost barely noticeable actions.

Azul's nose is his first thing to change when he notices a change in the environment. His biggest distractions are other dogs, deer, farm animals, and burrowing animals. When Azul smells things of interest, his nostrils flare a bit faster which is really hard to see since his nose is generally facing away from me or buried in the ground. Often the first thing I see is his nose point up towards the sky or down to the ground followed by the rest of the body freezing in place. How long that freeze position lasts will depend on how high Azul's arousal level is in that moment; the more excited he is the longer he freezes. Azul generally carries his tail high, often curled to the point of touching his back. However as his arousal starts to climb, his tail goes straight out like a pointer. If his tail drops below his back level, then whatever he is smelling is a bit scary going even lower for extreme scares. If Azul's tail points out then curls back up quickly, it's likely he's spotted something that he wants to chase. 

Sometimes whispers or micro-signals happen so fast that owners miss them entirely not recognizing a pattern for their dog. This is especially true for owners who ask their dogs to stay in heel most of the walk. If your dog is walking by our sides, yet our gaze tends to be out in front of us along the path, we simply can't see many of those signs. This is one the great advantages of getting comfortable with walking using a longline of 10-15ft as this places your dog out in front or off to the side far enough for you to easily watch their whole body as you walk.

Singing

You may have guessed that this is when you and your dog have spent countless hours walking, training, engaging with each other and now you seem to have hit your stride where you are just in tune with each other. This would be my comparison to an opera singer or someone with great talent. But there are also dog/owner moments where perhaps you're both singing the same song, but perhaps in different rhythms or at different volumes. This would be the case if you've been able to get to a routine walk that both you and your dog enjoy together, but perhaps there is still a hiccup or an unpredicted tempo change every now and them.

I've always considered this to be like dancing with your dog with some give & take, changing out who is leading for a nice back and forth silent conversation as go through your daily activities. Another trainer refers to this as tracking, or paying attention to movements and motions of another being. It doesn't really matter what you call this form of communication between you and your dog, but it should be every dog owner's goal; to spend more time in a singing or dancing mood state and as little time in the screaming state as possible. Recognizing the whispers helps us to sing in better harmony.

My job as a Canine Coach is to help you reach a point where you and your dog can meet each other's needs, communicate clearly, and enjoy moments in time together. I love helping dog owners turn the screams into whispers. And if we can spend enough time together, I love seeing you hit that magic point where you and your dog are singing together!

If you're not thrilled with your dog's behaviors, let me help you! 
  1. The blogs in this website are easily searchable from a web browser, which leads to a whole bunch of free information.
  2. Several specialty FB Groups are available to help you depending on what you need. You can always message me to see what group(s) might be best for you.
  3. Virtual classes & workshops can help with learning to understand your dog, communicate better as a team, build confidence, increase focus around distractions and work on advanced training.
  4. Monthly memberships are one of the cheapest ways to get help with your specific issue, mixing webinars, workshops, printed text, video demonstrations, and live group sessions.
  5. Private session packages are a great way to save a bit a money when we need to build up skills as your puppy grows up or to work on a challenging behavior. I have several package formats available right now including in-person and virtual sessions, 1 hr sessions, 2 hr sessions, & 4 hour sessions.
Most of these allow you to mix & match a few services to get the most bang for your buck!

And be sure to check out the Yooper Paws Patreon Page where you can select memberships, including a free option that is going to have a Creating a Calm Christmas Collection available beginning Dec 1st!



Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Black Friday Specials!

 Announcing the Yooper Paws Black Friday Sales!

This year I have 3 big promotions, the first of which comes with a big announcement!

The NEW Yooper Paws Membership on Patreon will released at a discounted price until January 1st for anyone who wants to try it out. There is a FREE Patreon Membership that has some info on Focus Around Distractions to show you want the Membership Service is all about.

There are 3 Membership Tiers (options) available!

The Helping Fearful Dogs Feel Safe Membership includes the 2 hr Workshop that teaching you about the need for safety, how fear impacts our dog's behaviors, and provides training resources to help you support your dog in becoming more resilient. This membership package is just $3 per month. Every month I will be adding a new case study, video review, or other bonus material to support owners with fearful or sensitive dogs.
The Challenging Behaviors Tier includes all the great resources available in the Helping Fearful Dogs Feel Safe Tier plus all the great workshops Yooper Paws has hosted in 2023 in prep for helping dog owners learn how force free training can teach our dogs to do more of the behaviors we love and less of the behaviors that drive us crazy. In addition to the pre-recorded workshops that you can watch at leisure, this tier will have 1 new monthly workshop designed to address some of the most challenging behaviors in greater detail. There will also be plenty of information on games you can play with your dog to teach the behaviors you love including impulse control, keeping their feet on the floor, using their inside voice, and other great skills. The Challenging Behaviors Tier will cost $6 per month.

Then for those who already love Yooper Paws, the nerdy dog stuff and getting all the best resources, we will have the Premium Planning Package which includes everything in the previous 2 tiers plus loads of fillable or printable worksheets, support in creating your plans, and monthly Q&A sessions for $8 per month.

Instead of saving to pay larger sums of money at once to purchase a package that has everything you need, the membership allows you to stretch those expenses out throughout the year in small monthly payments that are directly debited from your account so you can continue to enjoy the training support without stressing about additional costs. Members will get a discount on all Yooper Paws of Love and Crazy2Calm Classes if you do need additional training. The best part is, you can cancel any time! So you can try it for a month or two and cancel the membership if it isn't working out. But don't wait to try it because the prices are going up on January 1st!

The Challenging Behaviors Support Package

The Challenging Behaviors Support Package is a mix of our most popular packages! This starts with a 6 Session Package that can be in-person or virtual sessions for $300. Then as long as you schedule your 1st session by November 28th (that's scheduled, not attend before that date) you will automatically receive a free Challenging Behaviors Plan a free virtual classroom or webinar depending on what you need most! For example, if you have a crazy canine adolescent that you want to do some training with, you get your 6 Session Package, lifetime access to the Crazy Canine Adolescent Classroom, and a Challenging Behaviors Plan with additional resources based on the top 3 behaviors that are driving you the craziest. That's $525 Value for the one time fee of $300.


Virtual Learning Package

If you don't live in the Yooper Paws local area and need virtual training support, you can try out Yooper Paws with this low cost package. The Virtual Learning Package starts with one online class from our Classroom List, plus you receive additional 1-on-1 support from a Canine Coach which includes a 60 minute planning session to cover anything in the classroom you need help with along with two 30 minute follow up sessions to help you carry out the plan that was created.

You can choose from canine age/stage appropriate classes such as the Positively Puppy Paws or Crazy Canine Adolescents Classrooms. If you need help with an older dog, chances are the Confident Canines Classroom is a good fit.

Or you can choose from our Service Dog Classrooms including the SD Foundations Class, SD Public Access Class, the Scent-Based Medical Alerts Class, or the Sight Based Medical Alerts Class.

The only catch is you must register for the Classroom you want to attend by Nov 28th! 

Most classes cost $100, $125 or $150. With this package you pay for the price of the class you register for and the additional planning sessions are free. That will save you $150 no matter which class you select!

If you're not sure which classroom is right for you, simply email us at crazy2calmcaninecoaches@gmail.com and Canine Coach will help you figure it out.





Adding More Enrichment

As dog owners, we use reinforcement to reward our dogs for the behaviors we like. Enrichment is often confused as being an extra great or j...