Penny and I had the opportunity to attend a Low Stress Handling seminar on dogs and cats this past weekend in Edmonton. Dr. Sophia Yin is a veterinarian and renowned small animal behaviourist. Dr. Yin’s website, videos and blog at www.drsophiayin.com are very useful for pet training and socialization.
The biggest take home message from the weekend for me was incredibly simple:
Life with a dog is like a dance. Someone needs to lead and it needs to be you. Dr. Yin showed some incredible footage of her ‘dancing’ with her dog walking forwards, backwards and doing quick turns—it looked perfectly choreographed at a fast tempo. The dog’s attention was focused completely on her during the exercise. The handler’s energy is one major component in providing leadership and decisiveness for your dog. Dr. Yin led a fast paced training exercise for several participants at the seminar to demonstrate the tempo that is desirable for working with dogs. The timing of the steps was about equal to counting to eight in 2 and a half seconds!
Have a look at Dr, Yin’s website and when your dog needs to follow you remember to provide clear, decisive leadership and keep his attention with a fast tempo!