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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Love not hugs made the news!

We made the news with our blog. Our friend, who is also a trainer, Kelly was with us...oh and Tara too!

Check it out:

Wink News Love Not Hugs

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

All this attention...

Somer and Lexi snuggling (c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC 2012

Greetings all! Co-therapist Somer and co-therapist-in-training Lexi here signing on to offer our perspective on this "hug a dog day" thing. Personally, we appreciate the concept behind the day. We think it's GREAT that the humans are wanting to give us a WHOLE day of attention! However, the delivery of this special day makes us a little nervous. We just don't get that warm and fuzzy feeling from a human hug like I do with a nice scratch behind the ears or maybe even a belly rub! So this year for Hug Your Dog Day, lets all practice dog safety and do what your dog loves most!! For us, belly rubs all around! 
Hi! (c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC 2012

 With Love,
Somer and Lexi
Goodnight (c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC

Tickles instead of hugs, please!

Another one of our canine co-workers wanted to blog about today too!

To all my friends and fans out there, I just want to be clear on a few things.  My name is Shep and I am a dog.  I really love being a dog.  Although I may hang out with people especially children all day long, I am still a dog complete with dog behaviors and preferences.  For one thing I love people or at least I love how they smell and one of my favorite things to do is smell and kiss (lick) the hands of children, they have the best flavors!  When I do this, however, many children seem to take this as an invitation to give me a hug!  Uggg!  I really don’t like hugs; I don’t even like it when a person tries to pet the top of my head.  I tolerate it, I look to my owner for assistance, and I try to back away to safety.  If there was one thing I wanted people to know, it would be to tickle me on my chin and neck that makes me so happy!     It lets me know that you are not threatening, not intruding, and really listening to me.  If you want to see my tail wag and my ears perk up in excitement, let me come to you, lick your hand, and then tickle me under my chin!  Leave the hugs for your own kind; they seem to really like hugs!


Griffin shares his thoughts on hugging

Our new canine co-worker has written a blog to share. Welcome to the practice, Griffin!

Hi! My name is Griffin, and I am the newest canine co-therapist in training at Delta Family Counseling. My human, Heather, adopted me from Brooke's Legacy Animal Rescue just two weeks ago. Although I am only four and a half months old, I am really smart, and I have something I want to say about this thing you humans call "hugging".

Griffin (c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC 2012

When humans, big or small, wrap their arms around my neck to 'hug' me, it makes me feel uncomfortable and kind of scared. Tiny humans, ("children" Heather tells me they are called) tend to squeeze my neck when they do this hug thing; and that makes me feel like I can't breathe. I know some of my older dog friends put up with this, even though they don't like it, but I am very young with lots to learn, and I am afraid if you hug me I might struggle to get away from you, and if I can't, I might just be so scared I may snap at you, or try to bite!

When dogs meet, we have our own way of greeting each other. We approach each other from the side, we don't look each other in the eye, and we get to know each other by sniffing each other's (excuse my language) butts! We don't really understand all this direct frontal contact you primates enjoy!

(c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC 2012

I would NEVER want to hurt a human!! I LOVE my new family and my new job. I was so excited to go to the counseling office today and meet some of the children Heather works with. Please help us spread the word about the real way we dogs like to be approached and touched! Respect my space, introduce yourself to me carefully, and give me a nice rub under my chin! If you visit us at Delta Family Counseling, our human co therapists will help you understand how to interact with us. I can't wait to meet you!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Love and Hugs are not the same

We signed on today to blog about something else...actually an update to Bode (good news)...however while we were at the vet Tara heard a story about how a major news show and a major dog food company have teamed up to host "Hug your Dog Day" tomorrow, so now we want to talk about that.

What?? A national movement to put people, children, in a place that causes the most facial bites and dogs so much discomfort? Those "hugs" usually include a squeeze...we cringe even writing that. Yes, we are saying it is not ok to hug all dogs. Yes, we realize we are dogs, but do you realize dogs are dogs and not humans or any form of primate?

 Bode (c) Delta Family Counseling, 2012

We love our humans as much as they love us...clients included. Our love is different though. Each dog is different. As we write this, we are having a discussion about what each of us like and it's not always the same (our foster brother is chiming in too)! Bode likes to ask for hugs in his own way from some people, but usually those he is closest to. Abbey never wants to be hugged, but tolerates it. Most dogs tolerate to a certain extent, but if you don't know how to speak our language and read our signs, you might miss when you cross the line.  Have you ever noticed that dogs don't hug each other?

Abbey (c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC

To greet other dogs you may see us do things that would be considered "rude" for you to do to another human and that is just how we feel about the hug. We may sniff the rear of a new dog (even one we know). If you watch, we approach from the side and not front. We may not make great eye contact. (Tara says to point you to Dr. Sophia Yin's page with free downloads on our body language and more--she uses these with the rescue we foster for: Dr Sophia Yin Downloads)

Don't get us wrong, we love contact with humans, but in our own way. There is research that shows the benefit to us (and you) from the contact. Tara says it's called our "oxytocin levels" that increase and give us the warm fuzzy feeling. There is more and more research on this coming out, but we already know how it feels and leave all that "research/reading" stuff to Tara.

So what do we like? We (the canine and human therapists at our practice) teach this to all the clients when they first come in. Most dogs like a positive, safe greeting that is not spontaneous and is controlled for all involved. Do not come (especially running or loudly) straight on. Approaching our side shows us you understand our needs. Letting us come up to you is preferred. Sudden movements, especially an open palm face down will cause us to startle. Gentle rubs/tickles on our chin is a great start.

"Rub my belly" (c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC

Like we said, we are different. Abbey will greet you and instantly roll on her side as she wants you to rub her belly as a greeting and then will usually give you lots of licks. Bode will nudge your hand once he has sniffed you and have you rub his head and top of his snout. Sometimes he will lick you too. Once there is increased comfort with a person, this greeting may change, but not at first. As we stated early, there are some people Bode seeks hugs from, but he doesn't want you to wrap your arms around him and squeeze, he nuzzles his head in between your arm and body and curves into you. That is his version of a hug (or with Tara, he will jump (under cue) onto two feet and place his hands on her shoulders.

We don't walk up and just offer a paw (c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC

So, how do we handle this? Respect your dog and dogs you meet. See if you can learn from the links provided here how to better communicate with your dog and build your relationship. Share photos of positive dog/human interactions. Talk with a trainer if you need more information. A great book on human/dog interaction is The Other End of the Leash: Amazon link to The Other End of The Leash

Dog Bite Prevention week is approaching (ironically) in May and Doggone Safe has some great information about how by educating the humans, we can save more canines (many are put to death for a bite, even if it was provoked): Doggone Safe

While we admit it is hard to judge from a still picture on the dogs communication, many show what is considered stress in the dog. Isn't the ultimate goal for mutual love, even if it means no hugs?

We would love to create some dialogue with this blog. Please comment and share to help spread the important message. If we see other blogs doing the same, we will share here.

~~Abbey and Bode

**A BIG thanks to Rise Van Fleet of Playful Pooch for her recent training that reminded us of many of these things and taught us even more! Playful Pooch