In 2017, Marissa wrote a book titled: Human-Canine Behavior Connection – A Better Self Through Dog Training. In this book, she explores her favorite topic: relationships. One of the relationships she explores which is most obvious is the one with your canine; however, she also explores the not so obvious.
Marissa claims our relationship with our dogs is a window into how we relate to the world around us, especially in our human relationships. In Part 1 of this 2 part podcast, we’ll explore what that means and dive into the first 3 relationship concepts.
Asking questions and avoiding assumptions brings awareness and clarity into all relationships. This also allows for compassion and empathy. Compassion is defined as concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others and empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I have compassion for my dog, Sully when I notice that he is getting stressed by his environment. I am concerned about his well-being; therefore, I modify his experience to help him relax. I also have empathy for him in that moment, as I can relate to feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed by my environment at times.
Lean into Acceptance and away from Resistance
If your dog is barking and lunging or growling and cowering they are having a hard time and they need your support not your feelings of shame, embarrassment, or punishment.
Accepting a behavior concern allows us to address it more rapidly. It automatically becomes lighter and less burdensome.
- Notice your resistance
- Get curious about what you’re resisting
- Validate your concern and emotions
- Reframe the concern
Learn your canine’s language. They are in a foreign country trying desperately to understand what we need and want from them. Show them respect by learning their language so you can have a dialogue instead of a one-way conversation.
What is my dog saying?
- We talked about displacement behaviors (sneezing, scratching, shaking off, stretching, sniffing, lip licking, yawning) and her overall body postures.
- Understanding Dog Body Language PART 1
- Understanding Dog Body Language PART 2
- Dog Communication Video
Resources to support my communication with my dog:
Step 1: Training the pet parent
- Understanding your dog’s behavior and their relationship to the world
- Understanding your response to your dog’s behavior
Step 2: Training the dog
- Understanding what the dog is communicating
- Introducing positive reinforcement training & behavior modification concepts
Step 3: Enhancing the relationship
- Introducing relationship-building principles to enhance your training and connection
- Implementing play & bonding exercises
Step 4: Enhancing Yourself
- Learning who you are in all relationships
- Using the training & behavior modification process and relationship building principles to grow as a person
Marissa’s Ignite Boulder Talk:
Kayla is from Ashland, Wisconsin but lives in Missoula Montana. She holds a degree in biology from Colorado College and has spent years working in zoos, animal shelters, as a private dog trainer, and with working detection K9s. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She shares her life with her border collie Barley.