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Blog — polyvagal theory

Dominance Debunked: Stop Pinning Your Dog

Dominance Debunked: Stop Pinning Your Dog

It may go without saying, but dominance in dog training has been debunked. The science just doesn't support it. Whenever you use pain or fear to train or intimidate your dog, the results will be bad. Your dog may end up showing you some obedience behaviors, but deep down they will be hiding a boatload of insecurities which can later manifest into problem behaviors.  These problem behaviors may include, but are not limited to: submissive peeing, shyness, generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, hyperactivity, hyper-friendliness, appeasement behaviors, and then there's just flat-out aggression. Using dominance techniques with your dog doesn't show them...


Why I Don't Teach Eye Contact: How to Handle Leash-Reactivity

Why I Don't Teach Eye Contact: How to Handle Leash-Reactivity

This might be another one of my unpopular opinions, however, this is what I see happening when a dog is leash-reactive:  They see something that arouses their sympathetic nervous system. So that means they either want to chase a squirrel, they want to meet and play with another dog, OR they are actually feeling extremely nervous about potentially meeting another dog or a strange human. So your dog either wants to HUNT, chase, or play, and all of these things cause barrier frustration due to be restrained on the leash; or they are put into a state of fight/flight by...


Canine Body Language

Canine Body Language

Did you know that the most important thing about being a dog owner is being able to read their body language?  You can talk to your dog all day long, but do you also know how to listen? It seems many people do not. I have created this slideshow to give you some insight into your dog's only language: Body Language!!!  


Nervous Systems and Somatic Resonance

Nervous Systems and Somatic Resonance

"Dogs are very sensitive to body language, so the least little tense movement--a change of gait, a slight hunching of the shoulders--can be observed and interpreted as something being amiss. When we're upset, our voices can go up slightly in frequency as well. Dogs get these nuances in ways most people don't.  Masking strong feelings by acting like things are OK may not always work, either: It's quite likely that dogs can smell fear, anxiety, even sadness... The flight-or-fight hormone, adrenaline, is undetectable by our noses, but dogs can apparently smell it. In addition, fear or anxiety is often accompanied...


Compression of Space

Compression of Space

  Physical compression of space = Emotional compression, which can lead to fight/flight response if your dog feels trapped Trigger points: Front door and other doorways/thresholds, car, bed, crate, fence, barrier, leash, tie-out, etc (all create physical compression of space)   Why this concept is important: Your dog’s threshold (emotional capacity) will go DOWN according to the amount of compression he feels. This can lead to “unexpected” events where your dog acts more aggressive or fearful than he does when not under compression. It’s also important to recognize when your dog is “denning” himself because he’s seeking safety. If you...

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