A Dog Centred Care approach invites carers and dog professionals to explore the emotional experience that drives dog behaviour and move beyond the usual judgements, expectations and labels that can often hold us back.
Dogs share many of the emotional and physiological responses we do. Like us, their behaviour will be driven by how they are ‘feeling’, and the only way they can communicate that emotional need is through their behaviour. Often the dog is seeking some form of ‘relief’ to feel differently- this might be relief from either phsyical pain or emotional pain. There will also be a drive to feel safe, and often many dogs who exhibit challenging behaviours are feeling very unsafe indeed. Learning from the dog first is key, and I work in such a way to try and learn as much of the dogs emotional expereince as possible.
When we understand this emotional drive, we can move away from the traditional emphasis of arbitrarily creating/changing behaviours. Instead, we can find ways to offer the dog the relief and safety they seek, support behaviours that are innately useful to them.
Canine behavioural science has had huge advances in recent years, in both our undsertanding of, and support of, dog's and their behaviour. It is important we understand the neurological, biological, psychological and physiological componenents that go to make up the dogs lived experience, and we owe it to them to treat that expereince with knowledge, compassion and empathy.
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