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Thread: The Secret Life of Dogs. Channel 4

  1. #1
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    The Secret Life of Dogs. Channel 4

    I watched this last night

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/d...cret-lives/4od

    It was focussing on what dogs do when left alone and the problems with separation anxiety. Of the 40 dogs they watched and tested only 5 were unaffected by being left alone. About half showed no signs of being stressed but had raised levels of stress hormones.

    In many ways the results were not surprising. From my own experience I see very few owners who train and prepare their dogs for being left alone. On day 1 of getting Sam she was given a kennel that we kept in the house that was a safe and happy place. She slept there and at night slept in the room on her own. It was only much later once she was fully comfortable with being on her own that she was allowed to sleep on a dog bed in the bedroom. Her training to being happy outside on her own was a case of moving her kennel outside and getting her used to it in small doses.

    We also made sure that being left on her own had positive experiences associated with it as she pretty much always gets a kong with treats or one of her meals. As a result I am confident that she is one of the dogs who falls into the non stressed category. Even when I take her to work she does not get up from sleeping when I go in and out the office.
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

  2. #2
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    Jul 2013
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    I found the program irritating. I get called out to many people whose dogs feel stressed or anxious from being left alone. There are things you can do to help and I'm not blaming people for ignorance - I just didn't like the show. It didn't deal with why dogs want to be with their owners, just said that as they're becoming companions rather than working tools that we leave them at home more often and they should learn to deal with it. Not once did it say how long was too long to be left on their own and apart from one or two tips I didn't think it covered what you could do if your dog suffered from any stress during your absence. I was looking forward to it as I felt it was advertised as a scientific experiment but apart from cameras and a heat camera it didn't do anything special.
    Find Kim and Zilla on You Tube for clicker tutorials and tricks

  3. #3
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    I think that even a scientific programme on prime time TV is going to be dumbed down. I was impressed with the thermal camera showing the side of the brain that was active and the results of the stress hormone results but like you wanted more. I would have liked to see dogs tested again after the dogs had been "trained" to better cope with separation.

    I would also like to have seen some of the owners given a good shake. the couple who never both leave the house at the same time for example. Good grief! I love my dog but it really should not govern your whole life. Besides anything else I don't think it is good for the dog to have that level of control. You should not give into a petulant child so should not pander to a dog that way. Yes teach it to be comfortable on its own. Make sure it is confident you are coming back and it is not abandoned but don't molly coddle it.

    I was also not convinced that a TV being on for the dog was a great improvement on a radio and would like to have heard more about why having a special bed for when the owner was out would make any difference.
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

  4. #4
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    Jul 2013
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    It was supposed to change the way the dog thought of being left alone. If they associated a new bed with always getting a Kong or some goodies and the bed only came out when good things happened then when they brought it out and they left the dog would associate owners leaving is a good thing. That said, when a dog feels an extreme of any emotion the first thing they do is stop eating. So you can leave it with all the treats, Kongs and chews you want but if they're still stressed it won't make a difference. It wasn't explained clearly and I only know what they were trying to do as I'm a trainer and can understand the theory behind their motives. What they should've done was introduce the clicker and begin to leave the dog for seconds, click if there's no noise then come back in to treat. Build it up slowly until they can leave the house for seconds then minutes then hours. The dog will learn that leaving is a good thing much more effectively with the clicker and because it's been built up in such small baby steps then by the time you get to leaving them for an hour, they wouldn't care less.
    Find Kim and Zilla on You Tube for clicker tutorials and tricks

  5. #5
    I found the programme same old same old, when we got Bra'Tac he had already been left alone but he did howl a bit but he got used to it i did this by leaving him without him knowing i was still there occasionally going in and reassuring him. Once he stopped we could go out without a problem and this happened quickly making sure he had his kong and a chewy also helped. Also when we are in he prefers to be outside so again he is used to not being fussed all the time and he is happy he comes in on a night or when it's raining and curls up quite content. I think some owners fuss to much but that is my opinion.
    Ian

    Each day i try to teach my dog something new but like me you can not teach a dog new tricks

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