The Handler End of the Leash: How Body Language Tells the Tale with Suzanne Clothier
CEUs: PPAB , CCPDT , KPA , & IAABC pending
Much of dog training is focused on the dog, or the mechanics of markers and rewards. Yet in many ways, handlers can and do affect their dog’s behavior and learning. Many training problems are rooted in communication issues, caused by a handler’s body language and unintended messages.
The dog’s understanding of the handler’s behavior is built in the details of how the handler typically moves, laughs, smiles, speaks, breathes, etc. in familiar and comfortable settings. But under stress, in unfamiliar or challenging situations, things can change. Shifts in the handler signals to the dog that the person he relies on is alarmed, angry, worried, or even afraid. Depending on the dog, this can have significant impact on behavior. We can be more effective in helping the dog when we understand the handler in new ways, and have practical approaches to help them say what they mean and mean what they say.
- Meta-messages – seeing the whole picture
- Breathing – how breathing impacts our ability to move, learn and think
- Muscle tension & quality of movement
- Flexion, balance & stance – warning, welcoming, worried or wild?
- Blink rate and expression – what story does your face tell?
- Core & gaze orientation – how we signal our awareness and focus
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