Much has already been said about the impact of our attitude on well-being, thoughts and behaviour. It will either support the approach to life and stressful situations for us in a constructive way or on the contrary – make our self-confidence firmly shaken.
In dogs, it is exactly the same, so it is worth taking the time to carefully observe your quadruped, especially if it already exhibits anxiety or reactive behaviors- perhaps its habitual posture and tensions accumulated in it are one of the main factors that make these behaviors.
DO YOU AMPLIFY TENSIONS IN YOUR DOG’S BODY?
If the muscles on one side of the dog’s body are tense or overdeveloped, this may indicate a weakened muscle/pain in another part, which in turn will involve the education of a habitual, non-supportive way of movement.
The dog may have unknowingly taken it, for example, after surgery/surgery, assemplified for a certain amount of time by the operated limb or through the daily activities to which we expose the dog. This trend, on the other hand, can lead to further trauma and tension over time.
Why is it so important to be aware of the importance of a dog’s attitude and to keep it in physical balance? Because in this way we can avoid doing what sooner or later will contribute to the formation of discomfort in the dog’s body, which, on the other hand, will have an impact on his emotions and behavior.
Unfortunately, without knowing what these tensions lead to, we can offer the dog a lot of situations every day that will contribute to them.
An example is offering a dog treats when rewarding it from one side of the body and always the same side of the body, or giving it at a height that can force the dog to bend/tension the neck or back unnaturally.
Just look at the picture above- while the caregiver thinks that it strengthens the puppy’s summoning, in fact, the dog is also strengthened by a certain posture of the body, in which he messes his head and tightens his back, looking directly at his caregiver. The more often it is strengthened, the more often the dog will return to such a figure on its own.
PULLING ON A LEASH AND INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT
What equipment we bring out our dog in and what are our own habits of keeping it on a leash will also have a huge impact on his attitude.
Just look at this puppy- how often do we teach dogs to walk always on the same side of our body, and how often do we do “tug-of-war” with them in an attempt to stop them pulling on a leash? In the case of this dog, if this is what his walks will look like, in a short time (this more heeding his age and rapid growth) we will be able to observe more developed muscles on his right side of the body (and increased tension there), as well as limited mobility on the left side. Notice how symmetry between the toes automatically changes (asymmetric in one part of the body will always negatively affect the rest of the posture).
In addition, if we use inappropriate equipment, braces of norwegian type or easy walk, we additionally reduce natural movement and lead to the formation of further tensions in the body.HERE I suggest how to choose the right braces for your dog.
Going forward, even with an innocent seemingly training imposing on the dog to adopt a certain position of the body, we can lead to a non-supportive posture. For example, strengthening the dog’s walking at the leg while staring at us (a common practice used for “reactive” dogs in relation to dogs/humans) or performing tricks in which the dog always turns one way- paradoxically, this type of training can increase reactivity in the dog, because the tensions generated in his body will wind up the lack of security and hypersensitivity to movement /sounds.
It is important that everything we do is done symmetrically and in a way that will support a relaxed, not tense figure. And even if you already do the training with your dog as I mentioned above, be sure to encourage the dog to move and lower his head to help him relax his neck and back.
Adrenaline, which is secreted by the adrenal glands in situations of increased anxiety or stress, can also affect the imbalance and spatial awareness of the dog. One of the reasons for the secretion of adrenaline is to expose the dog to rapid activities. Adrenaline has analgesic effect, so on the one hand, under the influence of a given activity, tension or painful injuries begin to form, and on the other hand, due to the analgesic effect of adrenaline, we may not associate it at all with this activity, because the dog will be able to run or jump on benches, tables. Let us not be deceived if our dog behaves like this- when it is under the action of this hormone, we will not be able to properly assess whether it feels pain or not.
But what can we change in the environment in which the dog lives in order to take away from everyday life situations that can also lead to the creation of tensions in his body and an unsupported attitude? Surely a huge role will play in this area in the house / apartment, on which the dog moves. Do you have slippery floors or panels? Can your dog move to any room without having to go to such areas? It’s not that now you have to line the whole house with carpeting- you just need to create a walkway for the dog composed of mats, after which he will be able to move without stretching his body at the same time (imagine yourself on the rink- how much “un-relaxed” body would you have when trying to walk on it? ;).
All these elements and their impact on the posture of the dog’s body, and consequently how it feels and what is the impact on its emotions and behavior, show how much influence we can have, canine caregivers by making appropriate habits in training, in using a leash, in daily activities with the dog. Mindfulness and observation, above all our actions and how they affect the dog, will help us in this.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY?
Start by analyzing what you have strengthened so far or the environment in which your dog lives in the following areas:
2. Physical activities
3. Home environment
In the next article, we will focus on how to recognize tensions in the body of your dog.
Author: Zuzanna Rybarczyk
Article Inspiration: Sarah Fisher’s ACE Course