Just A Thought On Observing My Dog With A Toy

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Maggi, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Maggi VIP Silver Member

    I sat watching Solas lying mouthing her 'monkey toy' and was so amazed at how she controlled her biting of the toy. She generally keeps toys for a long time, occasionally decimating some of them within a day, but mostly they last a long time (she's had some for years) What I noticed was the calming effect that the mouthing produced, and how that's the only way that dogs can calm themselves; they can't stroke something in the way that we might (and that we do for ourselves when we stroke our dogs!) so maybe mouthing is 'self-soothing' for dogs. Well, nothing new here, of course!!!!But I think perhaps we sometimes miss the significant of the obvious? That perhaps 'self-soothing' is something that's learned through experience of being soothed by another, and we as owners get these little puppies, who have limited experience, so we have a real opportunity to teach them how to 'self-soothe', by helping them to be calm, and for them to recognize that state. I'm a psychotherapist and I work everyday with people who have never learned how to 'self-soothe', often because of chaotic or just inattentive experiences that they've had growing up. So I recognize some of the same symptoms in dogs as I do with the people that I work with. It's a real interest in my work; I see the effects of this on relationships, and the pain that it causes. The same happens in a household where a dog is causing problems, often because it's emotionally deregulated, over stimulated, and out of control; Does this ring any bells for us humans? The 'humans' that I work with who are like this often have no conception of how to 'self-soothe', so it's no wonder that they have no means of controlling themselves. People get out of control because they are emotionally deregulated (and have no means of modulating it when that happens ie. self-soothing) and are over stimulated. If we can't do it, how do we expect our dogs to? I know that a lot of dog training now pays attention to teaching a 'calm' or 'settle', and this is 'music to my ears!'
    just some thoughts! :-)
    southerngirl and brodys_mom like this.

  2. blacknym Experienced Member

    i think that is a great observation. My dog loves to chew....it calms her and she relaxes and settles in for the night. I believe there are things that most dogs just have to do because their dogs. One of those is chew or mouth some appropriate object.
  3. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Don't many people self-soothe with things like food or cigarettes? Or worse, alcohol and drugs? What are some more positive/reinforcing things people do to self-soothe. We can't resort to chewing on a monkey!
    blacknym likes this.
  4. blacknym Experienced Member

    :D good question!
  5. Maggi VIP Silver Member

    Hi Brody's Mom! :) Yes us humans do 'self-soothe' with substances and food! We can also learn how to regulate our emotions in more helpful ways too! e.g. soothing 'self-talk'; visualisations; breathing exercises; being in the company of another empathic person who can help with our emotional response; getting in contact with an 'inner safe place'. All of these things can help us modulate our emotional state, extending the 'window of tolerance' for distress. Hope this helps! Maggi :)
    brodys_mom and blacknym like this.
  6. brody_smom Experienced Member

    This sounds just like the DTA Forum!
    blacknym likes this.
  7. Maggi VIP Silver Member

    So it does! (y)
    blacknym likes this.

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