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Natural Dog Training Provides New Ways To Understand And Manage Stresses Of Canine Assisted Work

By Jean Marie Thompson, Kevin Behan

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Limiting dis-stress experienced by assisted therapy, crisis response, and combat comfort dogs is a concern of handlers, organizations, and researchers. Dogs communicate feelings via body language especially muzzle expressions and physical behaviors that people and other animals recognize. Projection of dis-stress by dogs negatively impacts therapeutic interactions, distracting and detracting from beneficial flow of feelings. Dog welfare is risked. Behan's Natural Dog Training ("NDT") presents an alternative paradigm for understanding dog dis-stress. NDT is an energy flow model that is different from but compatible with positive reinforcement techniques and attuned to Adrian Bejan's constructal law of nature, a physics principle. NDT provides a framework for: raising puppies to become resilient working dogs; managing handler and dog energy in overstimulating therapy, combat, and disaster environments; and, rehabilitating dogs who have become stressed out from work. NDT gives handlers practical ways to convert their dog's dis-stress into flowing with whatever environment they are part of. Behan describes and demonstrates eight stress management techniques for use before, during, and after therapy visits and deployments: pushing; tug-o-war; climb challenges; rope play; hide 'n seek; long downs at place; gutty barks; and re-sensualizing touch. These techniques objectify the free floating anxious, hyper, and fearful dis-stress into physical e-motion that the dog can metabolize then return to a state of being in sync with its environment. The dog's well-being and therapeutic work are enhanced by increased attraction to and focus on empathic flow of feelings with the humans they serve.


Angel Tobey

Purdue University

Date December 2013
Publisher University of Tennessee
Conference Title Veterinary Social Work Summit The University of Tennessee
Format Workshop
Size/Length 1 Hour
URL http://trace.tennessee.edu/utvswsummit/Third/april12/14/
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Animal stress
  3. Animal visitation programs
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Anxiety
  6. Dogs
  7. Human animal sociality
  8. Mammals
  9. Stress Management
  10. training of animals