Saturday, 12 November 2011

DO DOGS GRIEVE?

Why do so many humans not understand or acknowledge that non-human animals such as dogs do grieve? 

 I think, in part it is because many humans do not want to accept that dogs are intelligent and do have emotions. To accept means that you must do the hard work of looking at yourself and re-thinking what you have been taught - you must challenge yourself! 

To accept that dogs grieve is a huge exposure for humans. If we accept that dogs grieve we must accept that they feel a range of emotions, that they are intelligent. 

It means that perhaps we do not have the right to summarily (without thought) take a dog’s life. It means that the choices we make may have deeper repercussions than some wish to be responsible for. It means you may have to assume/deal with guilt and a whole range of other emotions, whereas previously one may have taken action without a second thought. 

For those that do see, the reward is irreplaceable. A whole new world of possibilities and actualities expands your mind, your heart. Dogs do feel grief for the passing of another dog, cat or other animal companion that they loved, for the passing of their human companion. Those who are close to their animal companions know this without doubt. 

The more we are open to the intelligence of our companion animals the more we can learn from them. The more we can help them in return for all they do for us.

If you think your dog is suffering from grief and you would like to help him/her, you can read this article  



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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 

  
Notes:
Please note - this article is for information purposes and is not a substitute for an in-person Session with me. When working with dogs I use many techniques - it is important to note that this article may touch on one or several techniques but not all. I select the technique that I use for a particular dog based on my observations of the dog and an intuitive, instinctive assessment of that dog's and its human's individual requirements. For example when I am working with a dog that is hyper sensitive and very physically reactive I will not use voice or touch. I use a lot of therapeutic touch on some dogs, others require the use of herding techniques and so on. Each and every technique must be combined with:
  • an understanding of the real intelligence, sensitivity and capability of dogs;
  • an understanding of how to read a dog's face and a dog's overall body language;
  • an understanding of the full spectrum of ways that humans communicate and dogs communicate; 
  • understanding and recognition of the individual that is each dog - no two dogs are the same...taking a 'cookie cutter' approach to techniques is not the way to work with a dog;
  • a complete recognition and understanding of all the elements that feed a behaviour and create an issue:
    •  the vast majority of people can only identify one or two elements...which vastly inhibits the ability to resolve behavior issues;
    • behaviours do not exist in isolation - there are always many elements that feed a single behaviour, there all always multiple behaviours that create a behavioral issue;
  • self-restraint and discipline on the part of the human who is directing the dog;
  • sensitivity, awareness, intuition, instinct and timing on the part of the human who is directing the dog;
    • to understand, connect with and adapt quickly and effectively to a dog's learning requirements you must be able to employ the same tools a dog uses - acute sensitivity, awareness, instinct, intuition and timing;
  • kindness, endurance, consideration, patience, persistence, perspective, the ability and know how to let the past go, the ability to set realistic expectations at any one point in time;
  • the creation of structure, rules, boundaries and limitations for each situation at the macro and micro level;
  • understanding of all the elements that make up an instruction and direction to a dog...there are multiple steps involved in an instruction - not just one!
  • absolute honesty - if you cannot be honest with yourself you will not be able to communicate clearly with a dog.
These are just some of the techniques that I teach my clients - it is a holistic, all-encompassing approach. If you are missing any one element of the above mentioned your success rate will be affected to one degree or another in implementing the techniques offered in the article presented above.