Ted Talks: Life Hacks "your Body Language Shapes Who You Are"

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by brodys_mom, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. running_dog Honored Member

    This is why there is a need to provide the dog an opportunity to relieve the stress that is building up inside him. I know that certain forms of stress seem to impact on Zac's health - I can get him to behave nicely on leash near cats (most of the time) but he is holding himself in all the time and the stress is really building up. That's why I'm looking at building his tug drive so that after a "stressful" encounter Zac can relieve that stress through tug. He can also relieve stress through chasing but that is what I'm trying to avoid :). That brings us full circle back to that natural training method doesn't it?

    From what you have said however I am not yet sure that Brody's homecoming scary zoomies are due to cortisol. What tells Brody that he is home and to start behaving like a loony? Where does he switch from being calmer on his walk to being the arrived home loony? It could simply be a habit that is triggered by your arrival home and removal of the lead or something like that. A lot of people, just for fun, deliberately trigger their dog to do zoomies by simple word association it is quite possible that Brody is being triggered by your return from the walk in some way.

    So presumably if he is burning off cortisol if he had a really short relatively unstressful walk then he would have a bit less cortisol and he would be less reactive when he came home. If he habitually behaving this way it is possible he'd be just as loopy if you just leashed him stepped outside your gate and came back in, or if you just walked him to the end of the street and back on a quiet non raining day - it all depends on the trigger.
    brodys_mom likes this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I wouldn't actually say that Brody was calmer on his walks, only that he was behaving better, but this was because he was getting treats. Again, back to the cricket analogy. Was he holding all that craziness in while we were out, just to release it once we got back home? The crazy behavior doesn't commence immediately upon arriving home, so I don't think it's anything that is cued by our return home. Our normal routine would be the morning exercise, either a walk, a run or a good session of fetch. Weather and other triggers are always variables, but my routine upon arriving home was pretty much the same: feed the cats, feed the dog, feed myself and sit down on the sofa to enjoy a cup of coffee while checking emails, etc. It would be after 10 or more minutes that he would suddenly jump on the sofa, slam the laptop shut and proceed to bark wildly in my face. I tried ignoring him, but it didn't work. Grabbing his collar seemed to get him more excited, so I would send him to his crate. He seemed very relieved, and quickly ran inside and lay down. He would rest quietly there for at least half an hour, then I would let him out and he would be fine after that.

    Maybe I should start journalling my walks?
  3. running_dog Honored Member

    So it was almost like your calmness triggered his craziness?

    Could you break the cycle by crating him before you sit down with your coffee or does that just delay the problem until later in the day?
    brodys_mom likes this.
  4. brody_smom Experienced Member

    The thing is he doesn't do it at all on days when I don't walk him, which I confess is most days. He still gets plenty of exercise: fetch in the house or back yard and tugging and trick training, as well as some obedience work. This makes me suspect that the various triggers on his walks are what set up the craziness later. The problem is that I know he won't get over his reactivity by avoiding his triggers all together, but it sure makes life easier!
  5. southerngirl Honored Member

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  6. brody_smom Experienced Member

    This is desensitization and counter-conditioning, if I am not mistaken. I have been doing this with Brody, although not systematically. We have only done this randomly when the situations come up. Running_dog and CharmedWolf suggested that Brody had not responded well to it because he is only performing the acceptable behavior in order to receive his treat, but the fear is still there, so he eventually resorts to nipping anyway. That's another thread, though. What I was looking for here was some natural way to change his body chemistry, by performing something equivalent to the power poses that have been shown to increase testosterone and lower cortisol, thus making Brody feel more confident and less under the control of his fight-or-flight response.

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