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  • Richard Chan

Looking at the tail

This is an answer to a question about the tail position of a dog from someone on Facebook which l want to share with all of you: Lots of people are focusing on the wrong things. They focus on the tools they see (ecollar, prong collar...) or a partial gesture or posture (licking of lips, yawning, tail position...) but many of what they see are just the superficial stuff. The real important thing is the decision the dog makes. That is really the objective of rehabilitation. When a dog knows how to view the world differently, he will know how to make better decisions, and his behaviour will change. It is a decision that he makes because he wants to, not because he is forced to. It is the result of the dog knowing the whys and hows of a better decision. It is not because of the kind of collar, treat, training method, tail position..., those are mere superficial things; they are not the core of the matter. A dog can make the best decision when he looks tense, and a dog can make terrible decisions repeatedly when he looks happy-go-lucky. As human, we are not always care-free, we may at times feel tense (job interview, exams, trying to meet a deadline, trying to talk to someone we really admire...) but it does not mean we must be sad or miserable in those situations just because we are tense. A lot of people don’t understand this. They expect a dog to always appear care-free. It is in my opinion why so many training only works in a classroom and takes forever. They are focusing on the wrong things because they think stress is bad. What good does it do if a dog appears very “happy” in a classroom but goes crazy once he sees a new dog or new person in the real world? Reality is all dogs will feel stress just like all humans will. But a balanced dog knows how to cope and regulate stress while a dog who does not know how will likely display some behavioural issues regardless of how much he wags his tail.


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