\\ Standards of care and best force-free practices //
Created by Linda Michaels, M.A., Psychology.
Ensuring we meet the needs of our dogs can be more complicated than we think. It's natural for (most of) us to understand how biological needs are important and how to meet them.
But what about... 🔷 Emotional and social needs 🔷 We all know that our dogs have these needs, but it's surprising that it's not well known that dogs have different emotions and social needs to us humans. Far too often it actually goes the other way:
"He knows he's done wrong, look how guilty he looks" ❌ Dogs don't feel guilt. This is where I focus on when dealing with a dog who has behavioural struggles. Security, love, trust, consistency, benevolent leadership, bonding (with people and dogs) and play are the key words associated with these needs in the hierarchy. Each must be understood in their own way.
\\ Can you guarantee you meet these? //
Information given to owner changes over time as more research is done. But also, many owners don't think to do their research.
𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗡𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 - When it comes to food, there is no 'diet that is best'. Different dogs have different digestive tolerances. But, there is some important considerations:
🍽 Meat must be the highest quantity ingredient 🍽 Only one or two meats should be used, so for example chicken and salmon, not derivatives of meat which could contain any type of meat. 🍽 Cereals should be lower in quantity e.g. rice, maize and wheat Do your research on diets and find the best one for your dog.
𝗙𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗵 𝗪𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿 - This one is quite self explanatory, but do you know you should be cleaning your dogs bowl daily? This prevents the build up of mould which can be seriously dangerous to our dogs.
𝗦𝘂𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗘𝘅𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗲, 𝗔𝗶𝗿, 𝗦𝗹𝗲𝗲𝗽 - Each dog has different requirements. Age, energy levels, physical fitness and many other aspects impact this.
🐕A puppy should be sleeping around 18-20 hours a day when you first bring them home. But an adult might only need 12-14.
🐕Puppies should only be walked or exercised for 5 minutes per month of age, so a 6 month old puppy should only be walked for 30 minutes in one session. Some adults might cope well with this, for example a Greyhound, but some might require more, like a Jack Russel.
Dogs require as fresh air as we would, but that's usually easily met.
𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗦𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗮𝗳𝗲𝘁𝘆 - These two are similar but different. Dogs require shelter from extreme weather, such as snow or hot sunshine. They should always be given the option to have indoor shelter. Leaving a dog in the garden all day without any form of hide is not meeting their biological needs.
Safety is always of utmost importance. They must be safe from pain, injury, disease, hunger, thirst, discomfort, fear and distress. It must by law (Animal Welfare Act 2006) be met.
𝗧𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗹 - Dogs should not be left in situations where there are extreme temperatures. When it is cold, they should be kept indoors and if required given tools to keep warm e.g. coats for older dogs. When hot, they should be given shade and water to maintain safe temperature regulation.
𝗚𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗚𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 - Every dog needs some sort of grooming, whether that is nail trimming or daily brushing. Many owners don't realise the importance of brushing, and the pain that comes from a matted coat.
Even a short coated breed, such as a Labrador, requires brushing to release dead coat. This allows the coat to assist in maintaining temperature regulation.
𝗚𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗩𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗲 - If anything is 'off' with a dog, they should visit a vet. This might be digestive issues, lack of appetite, continued behaviour change and many other obscure changes.
Biological needs is a 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 detailed area, and we have only looked at a small section here. Be sure to do your research and ensure you are doing the best for your dog🐾
𝑪𝒐𝒈𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝑵𝒆𝒆𝒅𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑭𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒆-𝑭𝒓𝒆𝒆 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑵𝒆𝒆𝒅𝒔
💚 Dorset Paws 100% support, use and teach using force-free training.
The environments that we put our dogs in do not match what they have physically or emotionally evolved to live in. Yes, they can thrive within our homes. But this requires training.
𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲-𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗠𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗱𝘀 This looks at those highlighted in the Hierarchy of Dog Needs.
🐶 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁: Control the environment to make your dogs life easier, reducing stress and preventing accidents. This might be avoiding something, changing behaviours of your own or using tools like baby gates.
🐶 𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗠𝗼𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: Be aware of and control what effects your dogs behaviour. For example, if your dog normally pulls on the lead, giving rewards when the lead is loose creates positive associations with this, before they get the chance to pull.
🐶 𝗣𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁: The use of positive reinforcement, e.g. a treat or toy after having done a good behaviour, increases the likelihood of it reoccurring.
🐶 𝗗𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗥𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁: Train your dog to do a behaviour that is incompatible to the problem behaviour, e.g. hold a toy when greeting to prevent barking, or sitting instead of jumping up.
🐶 𝗖𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿-𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴: These training methods change emotions through positive experience and associations. They require time and understanding.
🐶 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘀𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: Again, creating positive associations with a trigger, within situations that do not create fear in your dog, desensitises dogs to the presence or changes of the trigger.
🐶 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗣𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗽𝗹𝗲: Association between a behaviour that is less likely to occur, such as walking with a loose lead beside the owner, allows the dog to do a higher probable behaviour, which in this case would be to move forwards.
🐶 𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 / 𝗢𝗯𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹: Puppies in particular learn certain behaviours from observing either other dogs or humans. This is particularly the case when attempting to access something desired.