We have all experienced that moment of walking into the house or yard and finding a favourite shoe or cushion chewed beyond recognition, a prized plant dug out of the garden or a leg lifted against the expensive upholstery.
In that instant, your dog may appear momentarily pleased before cowering or whining with a look of guilt or remorse. However, experts believe that dogs do not experience guilt, that we are applying a human behaviour to the animal in what is known as anthropomorphism. The dog quickly picks up the human’s displeasure from their body language and seeks to adopt a submissive pose or becomes frightened.
Dogs clearly experience happiness, sadness, fear and stress but are not capable of complex secondary emotions such as guilt or shame.
Reprimanding or shaming a dog may actually cause more harm as the dog feels fear and anxiety when in trouble. Your dog wants to please you and wants your attention.
Punishing a dog after the fact is less effective than finding a way to prevent the unwanted behaviour in the first place. Dogs respond to positive encouragements such as praise, treats and attention. This reward of good behaviour is more likely to be remembered by the dog.
Persistent naughty or destructive behaviour may be a sign of boredom, anxiety, stress or an underlying health issue. Consult with your vet to address any medical concerns.
Lickimats are a good way to help your dog with behavioural issues associated with boredom or anxiety. The mats can be spread with treats to keep the dog entertained and the mat cleans the tongue as the dog licks. Licking the mat can also help release endorphins in a controlled way and help the dog to relax and feel good.
Many people are surprised to learn that tea can have a positive effect on canine behaviour. Calm Me Doggie tea is a completely natural blend of herbs such as chamomile, peppermint and passionflower that will help your dog relax. Infuse the tea and allow to cool before offering to your dog. It can also be mixed with their food. Apart from helping your dog feel calmer, benefits also include better digestion, nicer breath and less gas.
Rewarding your dog’s positive behaviour with praise and time together will help ensure that you and your pooch build a strong and enjoyable relationship.
Blog written by Barbara Lomas for Doggie Tea – https://fuschiaworks.com.au/