Dog Psychology: Exercise, Harmony and Affection plus Optimism


This post is about the magic formula that Cesar Millan always highlight in his shows: exercise, discipline(harmony) and then affection. I would like to add one more: optimism. Most dog owners love their dogs and showered their dogs with affection. That is nothing wrong with that. I do it too.
But they might be showing the affection at the wrong time or situation. Then their dog misbehave, they get shaken(no harmony), they walk the dog less often (no exercise). Then they lost hope (no optimism).


So how do we build a better relationship with our dogs? Let's examine their needs:

Exercise produces adrenalin and dopamine. These two chemicals in the body make us humans and dogs feel good. This is scientific fact. A dog that has been caged up or even not allowed to have at least 1 min a day of physical activity will become frustrated. They are not humans who can be a lazy couch potatoes, and humans who are couch potatoes are never happy anyway. So it is super important that your dog get exercise everyday.

What if it rains and we can't go out? Well it is ok to skip a day or two. You can have fun indoors with dog training or play hide and seek game. Give your dog a bone to chew.

Then comes the second need:discipline. Now i think Cesar should not use this word because we grow up with "discipline masters" giving punishment to us when we were in school. I would use the word "harmony".

Most Singaporeans my age (born after in the 70s onwards) are very fortunate enough to never experience what chaos. And we do queue very orderly for our McDonald's Hello Kitty or on the road with our cars. Trust me, Indonesians are always amazed by this habit cos they always cut queue. Singapore is really a harmonious society. Now some people say, this is boring and impedes creativity. But they have never seen the ugly flip side of the coin like the May 98 lawless looting that happened in Indonesia. We can debate all day about the merits of an orderly society but that is exactly what a dog needs.

Dogs are social animals. Social beings like us need rules. Dogs are born with the understanding of cause and effect, and leader-follower relationship.

Dont believe what i am saying?

Well does your dog get excited by the sound or smell of the food being prepared? That is cause and effect. Pavlov dog experiment demonstrate this and termed it conditioning. So for every action, there is a consequence. If an unwanted behavior is not objected, or even encouraged sometimes unknowingly, then the behavior becomes a bad habit.

Your dog does not listen to you? Well thats because you are the follower in the relationship. It is not because they dont understand leader-follower relationship. They do and somehow along the way, they are the leader and you are the follower.

Then you might say, but i am the one paying the dog food etc, providing for your dog. I should be the boss.

Well, even rebellious teenagers do not listen to their parents although their parents are great providers of comfort and material wealth. I had a rich friend back in SJI, who joined gangs and got into trouble with the police too. He was living in Bukit Timah in a big house and yet he stole a belt from a mall! So providing food for your dog or even your child, does not earn you respect.

But before you get frustrated and disappointed, i would be revealing some tips i learn from Cesar Milan and other dog trainers on how you can earn back the respect from your dog.

Couple of points you should look out is
1.    How you walk with your dog
2.    How you walk through a door. House or lift.
3.    How you feed the dog
4.    How you talk with your dog/ or not talk at all
5.    How you think in life. Pessimist or Optimist. Which of the 2 voices fill your innermost thoughts?

You gotta be optimist. Nobody follows a pessimist, not even a dog. So even if you do the rest a bit wrong, you gotta have hope and faith for the better. Only then will the window of opportunities be open to you.

Optimist and pessimist have different breathing pattern, body postures and facial expression.  Dogs can hear your heartbeat or sense using sixth sense what state of mind you are in. They are super sensitive. You cannot lie to a dog. Impossible. That is why a dog is a man's best friend. They understand your soul.

They may not understand what failing an exam or getting fired or beong dumped by bf/gf mean, but they do sense your sense of loss. Conversely, they may not understand your joyous occasions but they can sense it and celebrate with you.

So i challenge you to be an optimist. If you have a religion, pray. If you can find a place to do soul searching, examine yourself whether you have more positive or negative in your thoughts. Then read more self development books and videos. Nourish your soul.

Once you shifted to become an optimist in life, the rest are just simple and effective techniques. Your dog will sense a new you. The aura will show.

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