How do You Want Your Dog to Feel?

I received a massage last week to help heal some injured calf and hamstring muscles after a half marathon I ran 2 months ago.

I’m definitely feeling better (don’t worry Ragnar Relay team 😂), but I wanted to take more target action on the area after pulling back from some longer runs.

After the appointment, I shared how I experienced the sensations I had during the treatment with my massage therapist.

The massage therapist shared with me to ice the area when I got home as a way to change the neural pathways as it relates to my pain.

She shared how pain is the body’s emotional response to something harmful happening to it. Our bodies then send the message up to our brains via our central nervous system. Our brains interpret the message as an unpleasant emotional experience. The brain then sends a message to our bodies informing our bodies not to do certain actions as a way to avoid experiencing the pain again.

This conversation got me thinking.

As an adult that has agency over my body, I can make an informed choice of how I implement a training and recovery plan for myself. I can articulate to other professionals about what’s wrong and how we can work together for my wellbeing. I make a choice not just how my mind interprets the information presented, but I also feel what’s right for my next course of action.

Well, what about dogs?

Studies show that dogs have common brain structure and function as humans and they experience physical and emotional pain in a similar way.

Dogs also experience pleasure which leads them into their seeking system which drives them to do things like sniff and play. Activities they enjoy doing!

When things go wrong and you want to help your dog get back on track, you start looking for solutions.

You schedule to have calls with pet professionals which affords you an opportunity to ask questions and gather information regarding training schools and programs.

To make an informed choice of how to proceed with hiring a pet professional, we often limit ourselves by believing it requires our minds to filter through the risks, benefits and even how training is going to go when weighing your options.

It’s not just what our minds logically decide on the choice, but how our bodies feel about the choice also matters and even comes first.

Dogs can’t talk with human verbal language, but that doesn’t mean we can consider their point of view when making choices of what they will experience.

When you’re sifting through your pro/con list of pet professionals, ask yourself, how do you want your dog to feel as part of your informed choice making in hiring a pet professional?

What do you want your dog to feel when going through a training program?
What is the value of your dog finding pleasure in the experience and wanting your dog to have joy in his or life too?

When you answer is “I want my dog to enjoy and love the experience”, then aligning with a pet professional who will create a learning environment with fun and enjoyment is a TOP priority.

When you lead with your heart in finding workable solutions, you are honoring your dog’s wellbeing. The choice is based on how you feel you’re dog will thrive.

The power is in your hands in setting up your dog for success and becoming aware of your dog’s emotional experience is your guide in making choices on behalf of your dog.

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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