Expression Training vs. Suppression Training

For a moment, pretend you see a wild dog that’s lived free of humans his whole life in the middle of a field and he is hungry. The wild dog doesn’t need to be saved... he’s quite content to live his life in the wild. In order for this dog to survive, he must hunt for food. Let’s pretend he’s never experienced human touch, the inside of a house, a soft bed, a food bowl, a treat, a grooming, nail cuts or toys. Maybe the wild dog looks a bit thin, scraggly and dirty. Does this scenario bother you? Do you feel sorry for this wild dog? Do you think this wild dog wishes he has a home to call his own? Do you think he’s cold? Recognizes he is dirty? Wishes he had a delicious bowl of top brand dog food? Welcome the realm of ....human thought with intention.... If you said yes, that thought that popped in your head was projected onto the wild dog, only able to see your point of view and assumed it was the wild dog’s point of view as well.

This wild dog is fine. He is free of trauma, problems, kinks and blocked bad imprints. What if I said this wild dog has no fear of fireworks, lawnmowers, or the mailman. What if I said this dog has never experienced anxiety? And what if I said this dog more resilient than all of our domestic, well loved and cared for dogs? Why? This wild dog, has never experienced the act of suppressing a feeling out of his natural drive. He is always in drive. His ONLY drive is to make contact with what he is attracted to, what he wants. He has a stress reserve, he can tap into it when needed, using it to become intense enough to hunt. He got his kill. He now can ingest, eat and bring his body back to a state of rest, a state of well being. His energy is either ON to hunt or OFF to rest. This, my friends, is the TRUE nature of the dog.

Imagine two identical enclosed dog parks. One on the east side of town, made for all of our domestic companions, and the other on the west side of town, made for a wild pack of dogs. All of our domestic pet dogs are in the east side dog park, we let them loose to play. The pack of wild dogs go to the west side dog park. The east side dog park would consist of dogs acting like frightened wallflowers, bullies, biters, resource guarders, over stimulated lunatic phobic dogs. They’d guard toys and balls, be so stimulated they cannot ever relax. It would be dogs of all sizes and breeds. We will be blaming them for “bad behavior” while our beloved pets are simply looking for a solution to the chaos through instinct of flight, freeze, fight. All this movement OUT of drive. They have no ability to simply co-exist with each other. They have no ability to be calm, content and at-ease in the presence of people and other dogs. It’s a free for all. They’re all looking for a SOLUTION to an over stimulation problem. We’ve let them run free, we’ve given them a license to “ignore us and go and survive this moment”. We are training them to not pay attention to us, not give their energy to us and not trust or turn to us to solve an energy problem we’ve induced onto them.

What about the west side dog park? The pack of wild dogs would be doing the same thing they’d do in the wild when not hunting.... they’d be resting. Probably all laying around doing a lot of nothing. I mean, they save their stress reserve for the hunt. That’s the only time their light switch is ON and on full force. These wild dogs are in a resting state when not hunting. Their capacity for sensory input is HUGE. There are no kinks, bad imprints or associations that humans = I get in trouble, or human = interruption of a calm state, or human = a loss of control of their body.

Now, take all the obedience you’ve taught your dog. All those countless hours of sit, down, stay and come. All those countless hours of corrections and consequences. Now........the finale....... lets make the fences surrounding both dog parks disappear! Let’s test where your obedience reliability is now when you need it most? Once you yell “Sit”, “Down”, “Come” are you getting the real life return you’ve worked so hard to accomplish?

In the ten + years and thousands of dog/owners we’ve worked with, we say most likely the answer is “no”. The fence would be lifted and the dogs on the east side would scatter, running as fast, hard and as far away as they can. Your dog is now looking for solution to express themselves to feel better, looking away from you. The dogs on the west side would

not even notice the fence was gone, eventually going back to the wild, turn their energy light switch ON, hunt, eat, and turn their energy light switch OFF.... all while remaining together as part of a TEAM.

Welcome to Natural Dog Training! The training model that brings owner and dog together as a team and allows your dog to satisfy drive WITH you. Once this happens, you become the one thing that your orients to because you are the ultimate solution to their problems. Once your dog feels great around YOU, a reliable down, come and heel comes because your dog WANTS to be near you, even when the environment is chaotic.

Natural Dog Training is the idea that 5 Core Exercises satisfy your dog with you on a core level. Incorporated into daily life, they can heal the relationship with their owner, overcome trauma and fear, and recover back to the beautiful intact core they had in pure puppy hood. The owner is the solution. There is only ONE problem. What does your dog do with his energy? Where and how can your dog EXPRESS themselves with you is the answer to ALL situations.

The Canine Stability Center, specializes in trauma recovery and healing of canine PTSD. Instead of suppression of behaviors taught as obedience cues or corrections after a dog is EXPRESSING themselves.............. we HONOR and encourage all expression and we channel it into drive in the form of 5 core foundation building exercises. The suppressed innate skills such as contact, bark, bite and impulse control are brought back to life through channeling and expression of drive.

It is just like our relationships with people. Why would we feel comfortable expressing ourselves to someone that will shut us down? Why would we confide in someone that will make us feel judged and belittled? Your best relationships are built from trust, comfort and the ability to feel grounded around someone else. Why do we insist on suppression of emotions with our dogs? Special thanks to Kevin Behan of Natural Dog Training for allowing us to carry the torch into the future. We won’t disappoint you.

Jeannie Oakley, Canine Stability Center.

Jeannie Oakley