Ok, this is prompted by that thread but it's getting too hot there. What do you observe about people who are 'good with dogs'? Why do some people seem to have a settling effect on dogs, and some not? It's my job to 'promote' volunteers from working with easy dogs to working with the more challenging ones. It's almost immediately obvious when you see someone with any dog. But, I can't really describe it. About the only thing I could say is that they are focused and confident but I can't really describe the behavior that indicates that.
http://community.webtv.net/k9apple/Howloweenies
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Ok, this is prompted by that thread but it's getting too hot there. What do you observe about people who ... could say is that they are focused and confident but I can't really describe the behavior that indicates that.

There's only one thing I've ever noticed as a common thread and that's the welcome-all personality. My husband makes friends without trying or even knowing he's making a friend. Every dog that's come here...except one...has worshipped him despite the fact that he doesn't feed them, train them, spend much time with them. He's just one of those people that its really hard to dislike, even when he's being an ass.
Another observation would be that its primarily men that have that "animals-flock-to-me" aura. Maybe because women, by nature, tend to be more complicated with more emotions on the surface, I dunno.

Tara
Maybe because women, by nature, tend to be more complicated

Now let me jump right in here and loudly second that motion!

Do I have a third?
Aw, come on guys...they won't bite.
I promise. Emotion: smile

Handsome "Jack" Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to reply via e-mail
Q: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation. A: Why is top posting frowned upon?
Maybe because women, by nature, tend to be more complicated

Now let me jump right in here and loudly second that motion! Do I have a third?

Why am I not suprised by your seconding motion and call for a third?
Aw, come on guys...they won't bite. I promise. Emotion: smile

Says the man who will be seeking ER assitance for a nasty wound later this evening for taking too much enjoyment from a simple post about women.

Tara
Now let me jump right in here and loudly second that motion! Do I have a third?

Why am I not suprised by your seconding motion and call for a third?

Surprised? I'm amazed that you didn't automatically expect it!
Aw, come on guys...they won't bite. I promise. Emotion: smile

Says the man who will be seeking ER assitance for a nasty wound later this evening for taking too much enjoyment from a simple post about women.

Now how could I take too much enjoyment from it? Everyone knows that's impossible.
Anyway, I have a great health plan, and I haven't needed stitches in weeks, so they're probably looking for me to drop by any minute now.

Just stay away from my face, okay? Emotion: smile

Handsome "Jack" Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to reply via e-mail
Q: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation. A: Why is top posting frowned upon?
Another observation would be that its primarily men that have that "animals-flock-to-me" aura.

That's funny. My brother is one that all the dogs love, even dogs that aren't especially fond of kids or men (he's 13 now, so he's midway between "kid" and "man"). Bonnie and Pepper both follow him around like little groupies.
Jana
About the only thing I could say is that they are focused and confident

I, too, am trying very hard to get
to the point where I can accurately
articulate what is and is not going
on in successful and unsuccessful
human-dog interactions and handling
situations. The problem is that not only
are the skills themselves more "right"
than "left"-brained, but recognizing
skills in others is also more "right brained"
than "left brained". As an otherwise
very verbal guy, it's been driving me
nuts for a long time that it's so friggin'
difficult to verbally communicate
ANYTHING useful about the things I
have learned and put into practice
every day.
However, I have had a few "breakthroughs"
in articulability. Or at least I think I have.
I guess we'll find out.
First, about the whole calm attentiveness
thing. To interact and handle potentially
difficult unfamiliar dogs, you HAVE to
be attentive. You have to read body language
and you can't do it if you aren't observing
closely. And the calm is both the result
and the reason for success. Success is
calming to the human. A calm human
attitude is calming to the dog.
Something a little more concrete,
or maybe a lot more, is what I call
"changing the approach". While a
successful handler can't be tentative
and should have an intuitive "plan A"
for the initial approach, s/he also
can't be rigid and absolutely can't
barrel ahead with plan A come what
may. The whole point of watching
the dog's body language is to see
not only its initial and/or general
stress level, but to monitor signs
of change in the dog's stress level.
If the dog is becoming more calm,
obviously things are going well as
planned. But it is not infrequently
the case that the dog's stress level
will suddenly spike. That tells the
"clueful" handler/inteactor that it
is time to back off a bit and alter
the manner of approach. And there
is a feedback loop here as well. Not
only will a different approach be more
acceptable to the dog, but the very
act of backing off and changing the
approach tells the dog that you can
recognize its signals and, even more
importantly, that you give a damn about
what it is feeling. This in itself is calming
to the dog.
Anyway, it's often easier to describe obvious
breaches of good handling/interacting
than it is to describe good handling/interacting
itself. One of the most common screw ups
occurs when people move too fast, stress
the dog, get stressed by the dogs stress
signals and then, of all the stupid things,
SPEED UP in response. Example: A hand
shy dog being put back in the kennel that
stresses when the loop of a slip lead (and
the accompanying hand) pass over/near
the head and face will generally be more
stressed when the move is done too
quickly. But many people, when they
see the stress signals (or the actual
attempted nip or bite), will tend to panic
and move MORE quickly. Now, there
ARE times when you have to outwit,
outmaneuver and therefore "outquick"
a dog. But if you want the relationship
to be more than a one shot bit of emergency
animal control/handling, you gotta learn
to slow down and, if the dog starts to
stress, SLOW DOWN EVEN MORE.
It CAN work wonders. One of my
employees who is generally a very
good handler but who has had problems
with going too fast and then speeding
up in the face of trouble beautifully
handled a dog today who had given
him trouble in the past by doing the
exact opposite of what his reflexes
had been telling him to do. I was
extremely pleased to see it, but
not as pleased as my employee was.
But the dog was the most pleased
of all.
Anyway, this is just one small example
of one particular problem within what is
actually a very large subject matter.
JohnR
Pit Bull Libertarian
Never sneer at the power of a little
pink squeaky toy!
Another observation would be that its primarily men that have that "animals-flock-to-me" aura. Maybe because women, by nature, tend to be more complicated with more emotions on the surface, I dunno.

Not to toot my own horn or anything but i've always been good with animals. One of the earliest baby pics shows me with a goofy expression petting my babysitter's golden retriever. Most people that have that "ace ventura" vibe also tend to get along with kids real well too.
Now, if I only had the same effect on women..
Another observation would be that its primarily men that have that "animals-flock-to-me" aura.

Hmm. I have to say that my experience is the direct opposite; almost all the people I know like that are women.
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