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Blog — Vagal tone

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...


Top Four Traits of a Great Dog Trainer

Top Four Traits of a Great Dog Trainer

Calm: Gives you mental fortitude.  If you are not calm, you can’t learn, and training is as much, if not more, founded in learning about your dog as it is teaching him anything. Calmness creates space for observation. Your calmness also helps your dog feel safe.   Neutral: Unattached to outcomes. If you remain emotionally neutral, you can remain present with what’s happening right here, right now. Observe your dog and ask yourself questions. Asking questions is a great way to to train yourself to be responsive to the dog. Just think: if I want my dog to respond to me, I...


How to Tell if Your Dog is Socially Engaged

How to Tell if Your Dog is Socially Engaged

Dogs are like humans in many ways, including their biology. An important biological element that we share is the 10th cranial nerve, also known as the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve connects the brain to the body and helps regulate the autonomic nervous system in both humans and dogs. When all is going well our ventral vagus is in charge, and we have feelings of safety and comfort. Our breathing and movements are easy and joyful. We are in a state of flow, showing playful behavior while interacting with others. When we start to sense fear or perceive danger, this system also helps...