Cesar Millan’s tips of the week, 7th of September
An excerpt from Cesar’s website, http://www.cesarsway.com
In many parts of the world, summer storms are frequent this time of year. Many dogs react to the thunderous booms, vivid lighting, howling winds, and even the dropping barometric pressures that are part of a storm. So what do we do as pack leaders to make the experience less traumatic?
First, before we begin with a technique, sit down and reflect how you’ve reacted or felt before during a storm. If you’re not aware of your own energy, ask someone who knows you to describe how you are during a particularly violent storm. With that said, you have to be mindfully aware, and emotionally in tune – dogs pick up on your anticipation, so your energy will directly affect their behavior.
Let’s back up for a second. Thunder is an outcome of nature. Human is the source. The dog is the outcome of the environment and the human. Environment has natural power over a dog – it triggers survival – this means “flight or fight.” But, the human is so powerful that through our awareness, we can overpower nature and influence Mother Nature, which is the dog. The source of balance, then, has to be mindfully aware and emotionally in tune. This is calm assertive and love. With me? Dogs react on nature and environment and whoever is with him. If you stay calm and assertive, then you can learn a technique to deal with dogs that are fearful; in this case, redirecting.
If we think of flight, redirection comes to mind first. If we think fight, or aggression, we need to stop or block it. With flight, this is where the treadmill, activities, and the walk come in. If the weatherman is precise, time your walk for the storms arrival, so that you can go on a longer walk than normal. Have the dog carry a backpack to make it more draining. You want him to be tired! Then, I suggest giving them drops of the homeopathic Rescue Remedy, which combined with the walk or treadmill, will put him to sleep for the storms arrival. The formula then is exercise, which is a natural sedative, combined with a natural remedy for relaxation.
Some people have used cotton in dogs’ ears to lessen the shock of sudden storm sounds. Also, aromatherapy, using scents like lavender can be soothing to fearful dogs.
However, if the dog is already at a level of fear of 5 or above, remember not to feel sorry for him. Take what I call a “paramedic” state of mind. This means calm and assertive and in control. If the dog is afraid and you’re afraid you can’t help him, can you see a positive outcome?
Other ways to help soothe your dog include bathing the dog in warm water, if you have a bathtub and giving him a deep tissue message, which relieves tension in the body like it does for humans. Stay away from talking to the dog with sensitive words like, “It’s ok. Mommy’s here….” – that’s nurturing the fear. Remember, dogs don’t rationalize. This is when they need us the most. You must remain calm, and if you can, assertive, which helps make dogs feel protected and triggers the DNA concept of direction.