Continued education is a key part of any profession. While I learn more with each dog and client I work with if I limit myself to my own experiences I only gain knowledge through my own perspective and situation. Learning from other trainers and professionals allows me to expand my own knowledge base based on their education and experiences which makes me a better trainer for my clients and my own dogs.
The Family Dog Mediation Certification was created by Kim Brophey CDBC, BA, she is an applied ethologist, certified dog behavior consultant, creator of the Dog Key™ software, author of "Meet your Dog" and developer of the L.E.G.S.® dog behavior model which the Family Dog Mediation Certification program is based upon. This program teaches you to look at each individual dog and assess their needs based on their individual L.E.G.S.®. On a larger scale it is a movement to change how we look at dog behavior and welfare. Each dog has their own L.E.G.S.® and each dog should be assessed on these L.E.G.S.® by a Family Dog Mediator who will then help their owners better understand their behavior and needs.
These L.E.G.S.® are broken up as follows.
L: Learning, what have the dogs learned so far in their life and how have they learned those lessons.
E: Environment, the external world around the dog; its location and the other animals (including humans) around it.
G: Genetics, while DNA is not always predictive it gives us a frame work to explain certain behaviors in different groups of dogs.
S: The dog on the inside at this exact moment; age, health, reproductive status as well as current living situation.
As a Family Dog Mediator I have been trained to help you understand your dog's L.E.G.S.® better, this understanding will reduce frustration and guide our training and or behavioral modification choices. In order for you AND your dog to live their best life.
Kim explains this individual approach best with her ball analogy, this is my synopsis. In this example we are going to think of all dogs as balls.
If you ask someone for a ball to play soccer with and they give you a bowling ball. You are going to be upset. You can't play soccer with a bowling ball?! If you do, you will likely get injured and you will be frustrated because a bowling ball doesn't behave like a soccer ball. If you kick it, it is really going to hurt, you might even break your toes. But they are both balls right? Different breeds and on a larger scale different groups of breeds are like different balls. If you expect a border collie to point out birds to you and not herd them you are likely going to be disappointed. If you want a German shorthair pointer to herd your ducks you are also likely going to be disappointed. Will some GSP's herd ducks? Maybe! Which is why we need to look at the S or "Self" but we shouldn't be buying a GSP to herd ducks based on their G or "Genetics.
Behavioral problems are increasing at an epidemic scale in America. A lot of these behavior "problems" are actually dogs doing the things they have been breed to do for hundreds of years but those behaviors are no longer compatible with our modern lifestyle. The L.E.G.S. program breaks up breeds into groups with similar traits to help people understand their dogs better. These are those groups and some behavior "problems" you might see in them are as follows:
Herding dogs: chasing cars, bikes, children
Scent Dogs: forgetting you exist when they smell something
Sight Hounds: chasing small animals
Gun Dogs: putting everything into their mouths
Toy breeds: separation anxiety
Guardian breeds: barking, distrust of strangers
Bulldog breeds: 0-60 intensity
Natural dogs: independent thinkers
World Dogs (dogs that do not have 30 percent or more of any other group of dogs, the most natural state of dog often these dogs are found on the street in less developed countries): opportunistic, think stealing your food of the counter
As a Family Dog Mediator I will help you to understand the why of behavioral "problems" and come up with solutions that will help create a happier home for all involved. I will be releasing blogs specific to each breed group over the next few months so keep an eye out for that! If you take anything away from this blog please take this, dogs are individuals who have their own needs, desires and motivations. When you understand those needs and wants and are able to meet your dogs and their needs you will immediately see an improvement in both your relationship and your dogs behavior and happiness.
If you would like to learn more about this movement Kim Brophey and her team have created a course/movie designed for pet owners as well as dog professionals. Below is a short preview. The full length movie will be available starting May 30th. If you are interested in watching it at a deep discount let me know!