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Counting Your Dog's Spoons And Avoiding Problems


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A friend of mine wrote this piece that I thought was worth posting. She talks about the importance of being aware of and managing your dog's stress to avoid negative outcomes.

 

http://yourdogsfriend.org/spoon-theory-and-funny-dog-gifs/

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Very nice piece. I've seen the gif they used as an example and cringed inwardly when I saw it. I've shared gifs before, but only of dogs clearly not in a forced or stressful situation, like this one:

 

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Very nice piece. I've seen the gif they used as an example and cringed inwardly when I saw it. I've shared gifs before, but only of dogs clearly not in a forced or stressful situation, like this one:

 

tumblr_mvc81fGWAv1spqxn7o1_400.gif

That's a dog figuring out how to save some spoons by getting his alone time.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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I saw this posted earlier today by a trainer friend of mine. I love the spoon analogy. It's basically translating Jean Donaldson's bite thresholds into a more accessible analogy. Although I had never heard the spoon theory and had to read that article first.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I have always HATED those videos that people post about supposedly funny interactions with their dogs. Most of them aren't at all funny when you can read 'dog'. The poor animals are clearly uncomfortable at best, extremely stressed at worst.

 

The artlcle is a good one, and so is the idea to post it on Facebook!

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Ugh, tonight I saw this video compilation of "guilty dogs" that is supposed to be funny where the owners are just stressing their dogs out with their voice tone and behavior and the dogs desperately displaying appeasement behavior because they are confused and don't know why their people are "scolding" them. I couldn't even make it all the way through the video.

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Great article. I shared it also.

 

I don't know how people can miss the eyes. If I see "moon eyes" I know the dog is panicked.

 

I have Payton enrolled in the basic obedience class at Petsmart. Not for obedience training-the class (here) is completely useless. But Payton needs some socialization. There is a young dog in the class that was totally panicked and the instructor never noticed. I had to point it out to her. Of course, the family had no clue either.

 

I printed out pictures of stressed or scared dogs so that DD would have an idea of what to look for.

61bd4941-fc71-4135-88ca-2d22dbd4b59a_zps

Payton, The Greyhound (Palm City Pelton) and Toby, The Lab
Annabella and Julietta, The Cats
At the Bridge - Abby, The GSD

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Alternatively we could all just try to have respect for our dogs and be aware of their body language, they tell us when they are not happy, sometimes it is very subtle, but it's there.

 

Life is a series of challenges, it doesn't matter if you are a human or a dog or anything else without the ability to respond to these challenges a puppy would never reach adulthood and a child likewise.

 

Perhaps in these days of electronic communications we forget (or never learn) how to respect others feelings. As somebody who sometimes finds it hard to read other people (due to experiences in my childhood) I have been taught so much by all of my dogs.

<p>"One day I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am"Sadi's Pet Pages Sadi's Greyhound Data PageMulder1/9/95-21/3/04 Scully1/9/95-16/2/05Sadi 7/4/99 - 23/6/13 CroftviewRGT

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Guest Giselle

To this day, I struggle to understand and, as a result, struggle to explain (in an intelligent and calm way) to my colleagues and clients why there is so much misunderstanding of dog behavior and why it is so pervasive. The fact is that the misunderstandings run very deep, and they are incredibly detrimental. I like that there are increasingly more and better ways to explain these concepts to the general public! I like this spoon theory.

 

Alternatively we could all just try to have respect for our dogs and be aware of their body language, they tell us when they are not happy, sometimes it is very subtle, but it's there.

I actually find that people humanize dogs TOO much and anthropomorphize their dog's behavior too much. They then get angry at their dogs because they start to believe that the dog is being "stubborn, block-headed, deceiving, guilty, mischievous, ornery" etc. Think about how many times people have used these words to describe their dog's personality, as well as their behaviors! Jean Donaldson likes to say that dog training had its roots in the belief that dogs were being "willfully defiant". Thus, people would use that as an excuse to physically correct their dogs.

 

We have a complex and troubled, yet inspiring, relationship with dogs. I'm glad to be living during a time where we can clearly see an upward trajectory, though :)

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Don't forget "sneaky" Giselle. ;)

 

And Jean Donaldson was right on. Have you read Koehler's dog training book? Case in point to a T!

 

Alternatively we could all just try to have respect for our dogs and be aware of their body language, they tell us when they are not happy, sometimes it is very subtle, but it's there.

Don't see how the article is contrary to this. Reading dog body language requires a lot of skill, determining the bigger picture from a lot of little pieces.The spoon theory gives us additional information that can help us read our dogs at any given time or in any given situation. To me the 2 things are not in any way mutually exclusive.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Alternatively we could all just try to have respect for our dogs and be aware of their body language, they tell us when they are not happy, sometimes it is very subtle, but it's there.

 

Life is a series of challenges, it doesn't matter if you are a human or a dog or anything else without the ability to respond to these challenges a puppy would never reach adulthood and a child likewise.

 

 

Absolutely. If ONLY people would have respect for their dogs and learn to understand their language, they surely wouldn't subject them to such mental cruelty simply to raise a cheap laugh on YouTube or Facebook.

 

True that life is a series of challenges. `it's just that this particular one is one that dogs really don't need. It serves no purpose and they can't learn from it - except that their people are nuts and incomprehensible. :(

 

(I think the point Scullysmum was trying to make is that if people respected their dogs and learned to understand them better, we'd have no need to invent ways to explain them to people, like the spoon theory)

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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(I think the point Scullysmum was trying to make is that if people respected their dogs and learned to understand them better, we'd have no need to invent ways to explain them to people, like the spoon theory)

Not to belabor this, but isn't that the whole point of the spoon theory, to help people understand their dogs better? The gist of spoon theory is that stressors build. Something that doesn't cause a reaction from your dog one day may on another because he is already stressed from something that happened earlier. Perhaps that particular example, of the person (intentionally) hugging a dog is steering some people off course. The bottom line is that, as much as we might like to, we cannot control all of the stressors in our dog's life. So it's useful to be aware of when a dog is enjoying something versus just tolerating it because tomorrow, with the precursor of some atypical, unexpected, or unappreciated stressors, what the dog was willing to tolerate yesterday he won't today.

 

One of the best professional trainers that I know focuses as much of her private behavioral consults on behavioral modification as she does on identifying and reducing stressors in the dog's environment because the latter is as important as the actual source for the unwanted behavior and potentially easier to modify. That's what the take home message is here.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Not to belabor this, but isn't that the whole point of the spoon theory, to help people understand their dogs better?

 

 

Yes, of course it is! :) It's just a pity that so many people have lost that almost-instinctive understanding of dogs that we used to have ... or maybe I'm just romanticising the past and people have always misunderstood dogs. It just seems to me that in the days when most dogs had a purpose (guard, shepherd, ratter, or hunter of game etc) most of the people who kept them understood their language better than we do today. I use 'people' and 'we' in the broadest possible sense, of course. There have always been exceptions.

 

I think things have gone downhill just in the last 30-40 years. In my childhood and teenage years I remember very few incidents of serious dog bites, and very few unruly dogs. Maybe it's at least partly to do with the lack of one particular aspect of dog ownership plus children: there will be plenty of people here who remember the days when, if a child got bitten by the family dog, the first thing the parents would say was 'what did you do to the dog?'

 

Of course, that's a very simplistic rationale, but I think there's some truth in it. I've worked with and/or been around animals for over forty years and I don't remember a time when the blame was put more on the poor dog for his perceived faults and less on his family.

 

Increased stress may well have something to do with the problems. There is more in our homes for us to get angry about (mobile phones, TV remotes etc being chewed, expensive carpets being peed on, etc) and more noise and stress for both dogs and people from loud music, computer games, household appliances, and children indoors all day because we're afraid to let them run loose, and yes, the dog having no job to do, because exercise is a GREAT stress reliever for dogs.

 

The spoons theory is great because it helps to educate people about how these stresses affect our dogs. I still say it's a pity we need to invent such theories to explain it. People used to know.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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I'm not sure if it's that people understood dogs better in the past. I think as you said they served a purpose and were kept more at arm's length. Having a job makes bored behavioral problems less likely, and a farmer was probably not going up and hugging his dog often. More dogs are living inside with our families, and staying home all day with no job while people work. There is denser population, housing, and dogs aren't out roaming the countryside so much as they used to.

 

I think the problem is people increasingly viewing dogs as furry children. In essence, in some ways we are "loving them to death." That is why I really liked The Other End of the Leash because it pointed out normal primate behavior tendencies versus dog and ways in which they clash.

 

I think a lot of things are contributing to the increase in bite incidences, from the increased popularity of dogs as pets to breeding practices that focus on appearance instead of the whole package.

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I'm not sure if it's that people understood dogs better in the past. I think as you said they served a purpose and were kept more at arm's length. Having a job makes bored behavioral problems less likely, and a farmer was probably not going up and hugging his dog often. More dogs are living inside with our families, and staying home all day with no job while people work. There is denser population, housing, and dogs aren't out roaming the countryside so much as they used to.

Exactly what I was thinking. Although I'm only 35 so technically I can't speak to the way "things were". :P

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I'm not sure if it's that people understood dogs better in the past. I think as you said they served a purpose and were kept more at arm's length. Having a job makes bored behavioral problems less likely, and a farmer was probably not going up and hugging his dog often. More dogs are living inside with our families, and staying home all day with no job while people work. There is denser population, housing, and dogs aren't out roaming the countryside so much as they used to.

 

I think the problem is people increasingly viewing dogs as furry children. In essence, in some ways we are "loving them to death." That is why I really liked The Other End of the Leash because it pointed out normal primate behavior tendencies versus dog and ways in which they clash.

 

 

 

 

Exactly so. No working dogs were hugged and kissed on their heads or dressed up etc, and if they were chased by the children, the children were told to leave the dog alone - at least, that's how it was here. Dogs like to have jobs to do, especially the high-energy breeds. I know I'm a greyhound person, but I simply can't understand why anyone would choose a border collie or a dalmatian or a malamute (add your own choice of breed here), only to shut the poor dog in the house alone all day with nothing to do and expect it to behave itself.

 

And yes. It's one of my pet hates, actually, seeing people treat their dogs like small humans in a fur suit. :(

 

The Other End of the Leash is one of my favourites, too.

GTAvatar-2015_zpsb0oqcimj.jpg

The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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