It is with great sadness that I write this post. Most of you know that I deal in facts, observable data and Science. A puppy, a French Bull Dog, Bailey, died last week whilst in a puppy class. Yes, this year, 2015, this month, March, yes, in Australia. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the owners, other clients and the trainer.
Why was the puppy being held down ?
Because the trainer felt that the puppy’s AROUSED behaviour was due to… disobedience, not knowing its place, being stubborn, who knows? Only those in the class will know for sure.
But the puppy died.
Very, very sad for all.
What is arousal?
Arousal is a physiological and psychological state of being awake or reactive to stimuli.
Arousal can be described as the degree of energy release and the intensity of drive or excitation.
There are levels of arousal that can produce optimal performance but this depends on the environment and the individual puppy.
Arousal is a necessary ingredient in learning, too high or low levels of arousal can wither or hinder learning.
A poor performance may be due to low levels of arousal, perhaps resulting from distraction, disinterest or a depressed level of motivation.
The other end of the spectrum is a state of over-arousal, whereby the puppy is unable to perform the required skill because he/she is excessively tense and unable to concentrate.
Any good learning facility should be controlling the arousal in a class environment. Puppy schools should work hard to set your puppy up for success.
Trainer’s should be moving puppies around and/or changing environments to create situations, where the puppies feel safe and so reducing arousal. Sometimes changing things to create inviting places to raise arousal for some puppies.
BUT at no point, should one size fit all and puppies be punished for being in a high or low state of arousal.
Reading these facts,
- Do you think that over aroused puppies are asserting themselves upon others?
- Do you think puppies can be placed in situations where they get into too high or too low a state of arousal to learn?
- Do you think puppies should be punished for being over or under aroused ?
Please recognise in yourself and in your friends, embarrassment and frustration.
Please help yourself and friends see that their dog’s/ puppy’s behaviour is an arousal issue.
You can get help from a good trainer.
What is a good trainer?
After reading this, AVOID a person or trainer who encourages you to punish your dog for their arousal but SEEK out a trainer who teaches you skills to recognise and reduce arousal and train confidence in your puppy.
Simply a Force Free Trainer.
Most good trainers come with qualifications and those qualifications should require ongoing education to keep them up to date with new research and findings in behavioural science.
Does yours ….??
In Australia check out: Pert Professional Guild of Australia or the Delta Institute
So I ask that question again …..
Are you Aspiring to be a Leader to your Dog?
I hope your answer is Yes, to be a leader, consistent and fair to my dog.
If you’d like a one on one consultation regarding how to be a pack leader for your dog and dealing with arousal/anxiety issues, contact us via our Consultations page and we will get you on the right track. We can do in-house in the Sydney area, or long distance via phone/video link.