Dog lovers - Get ready to smile!
Dog lovers - Get ready to smile!
Rescue and trainer-recommended, this practical & engaging audiobook helps you understand and shape your dogs' behavior moment-by-moment
Rescue and trainer-recommended, this practical & engaging audiobook helps you understand and shape your dogs' behavior moment-by-moment Read more
Safe Harbor Farm K9 Rescue is turning Dr. Lynne Swanson’s wonderful 2017 book on human and canine psychology, “SMILE! and other practical life lessons your dogs can teach you (while you are training them),” into a CD audiobook, read by the author. SMILE’s unique combination of thoughtful routines, movement, well-timed smiles and attention to energy and state of mind respects dogs, and it is as powerful as it is user-friendly. With decades of experience living with large groups of dogs, and a love of rescuing and rehabbing canine “scratch n’ dent” specials, Dr. Lynne knows her stuff, and she knows how to present it. Our project is on the ground and running, and we’d love to have you, your family and your dog-loving friends on our team. Plus, all completed pledges, less the value of rewards, are tax deductible for 2017 since we're not-for-profit. Woof! Woof!
Selected excerpts from all 32 chapters:
1. Introduction: “A perusal of chapter headings will tell you that this is not your average dog book, nor is it your average self-help tome. It is about the energy we share with our dogs, the state of mind behind that energy and how a better understanding of the way dogs view life and communicate can provide tremendous insight into our own behavior.”
2. Why smile? “When a dog anticipates a treat, his focus naturally drifts to the treat. But when he is rewarded with your smile, his focus is on you. So smile at your dog when he is quiet, and you will get more quiet behavior. Smile at him when he relaxes, if you want him to be more relaxed. Smile at him when you are pleased with what he is doing, and you will be more apt to get the dog you want!”
3. It helps to know the rules: “Gaining a dog’s respect begins with gaining his trust, and it is easier to gain his trust when you understand certain social protocols common to all dogs. These are the rules of the road taught to them by their mama-dogs and reinforced by their peers.” .......... “Dogs are incredibly observant by nature. They look for patterns, and they recognize inconsistency. Like little kids, they are very capable of distinguishing life’s loopholes, and they are not above exploiting them if it is to their advantage. For this reason, it is important to be clear about what we want the first time we ask for it. And for this to happen, we need to be clear with ourselves about what we really want.”
BUILDING THE BEST BRIDGES
4. What is the association? “To understand why a dog responds the way he does (which may or may not be the way we would like), it pays to understand the associations he is making. By this, I mean the way he connects one thing to another in thought, either consciously or unconsciously. Is his association with X positive or negative? What does X do to his energy level? Does X calm him, or does it get him excited? And does you doing X induce him to do Y?”
- 5. Dogs love routine! “Routines are important to dogs, and in almost any environment, good routines can help them thrive. Good routines will also save you time, and they will prevent aggravation, because a little extra time spent up front (establishing the routine) prevents a lot of wasted time later on (needed to address issues). Poor routines, on the other hand, will reinforce behaviors and associations that you don’t want. How do you know when your dog’s behavior reflects a routine or a ritual, either his or your own? A good hint is when you describe him as “always” doing something in a particular way.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ENERGY
6. Their energy: “An understanding of energy – basic levels of it, how to direct it to our advantage, what to do with too much of it and how to recognize different types – is absolutely vital if you wish to get the best from any dog. Knowing how to engage and direct him, how to match your response to his behavior, and how to match him with the best of potential homes all require an understanding of energy.”
7. Our personal energy: “For better or worse, dogs mirror the energy around them, be it from their handlers, other dogs or people passing by. Excitement feeds more excitement. Anxiety and frustration perpetuate more anxiety. Tension begets tension, while relaxation and composure reinforce equanimity. Since the energy we project in any given moment so greatly influences the behavior we get back from our dogs – and because the quantity and quality of our personal energy is well within our power to change – here are some practical generalities worth noting…”
8. Time to get your sneakers on! “Dogs naturally move a lot. They move to get from Point A to Point B. They move to adjust their posture and position, the better to communicate with their peers. And they readily get moving so they can move on to better things psychologically. Our species would do well to do the same. Sedentary lifestyles in dogs can lead to a vicious cycle of depression, circulatory issues and obesity, just as they do in people, but unlike with people, dogs with restricted activity just as often suffer from hyperactivity, destructive behaviors and anxiety. This is because dogs aren’t couch-potatoes by design. Dogs are, by their nature, wanderers. They are predators, and not prey animals. A dog in the wild who doesn’t walk doesn’t eat. He doesn’t find water. He doesn’t find shelter, and others will leave him behind or even attack him for being the weak link.”
COMMUNICATING WITH CANINES
9. It is not what you say; it is how you say it: “Body language is really the name of the game when you work with dogs. They express themselves clearly through their posture, the positions they take and the energy they project. They read our posture and the positions we take, plus the energy we project, and they interpret them in the unique context of their species. With dogs, it is not so much what you say but how you say it.”
10. Using tools: “When people want to communicate with their dogs, they often reach for tools such as collars, harnesses and leashes. Some get used correctly. Sadly, many do not. While it is important to choose the right tool for the job, of even more importance is the manner in which it is handled and how it is positioned. The right tool should not maximize corrections. Put together with the fundamentals discussed in this book, it should help to minimize the need for them.”
11. Using our voices: “Although it is always more effective to communicate with another species in the way that members of that species communicate with each other, human beings are human beings. We are a conversational bunch. For this reason, it pays to understand what happens when we get vocal around our dogs. When we talk to our dogs, it increases the energy of their responses. It peaks their interest. It focuses their attention. It gets them thinking with their ears and their eyes, instead of their noses. Did you know that when we open our mouths to speak our blood pressure rises? It doesn’t matter whether we are saying something nice or nasty. Oops! There goes our blood pressure! No wonder dogs respond to our voices with a higher energy of their own.”
JUST LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
12. Being clear: “What does being clear mean? It means following the rules discussed in Chapter 3, especially Golden Rules #1 and #2. It means calmly following through, each and every time, to get the behavior you want, so you can walk away with a smile. Being clear with our dogs also means being clear with ourselves (both in mind and in body) about the effects our energy and our state of mind has upon them.”
13. Repeat, repeat, repeat: “When you are a dog learning new things, practicing a skill five times over ten days leaves lots of time to forget what the lesson was. Practicing it ten times over five minutes is a much better way to learn! Simple repetitions help dogs form solid associations. They help dogs develop confidence, and they accelerate learning curves significantly.”
14. Will work for smiles! “Humans aren’t the only species to define themselves by what they do best. Any Rottweiler, Chow or Doberman will tell you that being watchful is their specialty. Australian Shepherds and Shetland Sheepdogs live to herd (sheep, goats, children, their owner’s ankles…it matters not). Breeds such as Huskies and Greyhounds are bred to cover ground, and terriers are bred to be tenacious. These traits are in their DNA, and they are central to their being. This becomes an issue when people fall in love with a breed’s appearance without much thought as to how that breed thrives. Considering adding a dog from the working, herding, terrier or sporting group to your household? Close your eyes and picture him doing what his breed does best. Picture yourself at his side, directing his actions and sharing his enjoyment of a job well done. If you are having trouble doing this, either because you don’t know which traits lurk in his gene pool, or you can’t appreciate the level of involvement needed, you may wish to rethink your next step. (See Chapter 27 for more about choosing the right dog.) If you have already added a dog to your life without thinking the above through, don’t despair. First, you have lots of human company in this regard. Second, there are ways to satisfy the DNA-driven needs of your dog that you probably haven’t considered: exercises and events that will add focus and purpose to their lives while adding the same to your own.”
GET MOVING…TO MOVE ON
15. Let’s get moving! “Does your dog squabble with other dogs or cause trouble at the local dog park? Does he lack confidence or piddle when he sees you? Does he refuse to enter his carrier, get reactive at the drop of a hat, or show fear of certain objects or events? The secret to addressing all of these problems isn’t complex. It is forward movement! Why movement? Because a dog’s instinct is to track movement and be moving a significant part of each day. He is a fluid beast who communicates through movement, and it is his nature to get moving when times are tough.”
16. When to back up: “Dogs who politely take a step backward when a door or gate opens in front of them are rewarded with a broad smile at our facility. They then receive a soft “good decision” when they calmly yield the space in front of them, waiting for their person to pass. Contrast this with dogs that shove you aside, with their noses against the door as you reach for the doorknob. Not in my house!”
17. Fun with treadmills: “Although their use should never take the place of good working walks, treadmills can provide excellent exercise for active dogs, especially when weather or other circumstances preclude outdoor activities. From three-pound Chihuahuas to ninety-three pound Doberman-Dane mixes, the dogs at our Center have enjoyed treadmilling for years. Walking on our eight treadmills is something they look forward to each morning. It is a social occasion for them. It builds upon their natural instinct to move forward and in groups...”
HOW TO RESPOND TO GET THE BEHAVIOR YOU WANT
18. How to respond to send the message you want: “Few of us get the dogs of our dreams from the get-go. Most of us shape them and mold them over time, like well-written manuscripts. Add a few well-chosen words here. Remove others that get in the way. Review and reflect, and edit over time, to send the message we want. Whether rewarding or correcting your dogs’ behaviors, following eleven basic rules will help you to respond in ways that best shape their future behavior.”
19. Who owns this stuff? “Dogs don’t accumulate, as a rule. They go through life lightly. Come what may, they are comfortable in their own skin. They don’t waste time wishing they were a different dog, and they don’t worry about keeping up with the dog next door. They are really very good at making do with what is in front of them. Despite this blessing, canine hoarding can occur, and what is commonly called resource guarding arises in certain circumstances.”
20. Truly living in the moment: “Most of us consider ourselves multitaskers. Many of us pride ourselves on being good planners. And a good number of us wake up in the morning with our minds in motion way before our bodies. (I feel your pain!) When I get up at sunrise to feed and let my dogs outside, I take a few minutes to acknowledge all the stuff on my day’s calendar, and then I put it aside. I know that if I am low on energy, upset about something or feeling achy or distracted, I have got to leave it all behind before I greet my dogs. I don’t want to bring my poor energy to them!”
21. De-stressing your dogs: “Dogs don’t worry about image, style or ego. They project self-deprecating good cheer, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. It would be nice to say that stress doesn’t befall them, but that isn’t the case. Hormones can create stress. Front-of-the-pack and back-of-the-pack DNA (Chapter 27) can create stress. Living in a world where their much-beloved two-legged friends too infrequently understand their culture, their body language and their needs can be stressful, too.”
22. Tackling separation anxiety: “Separation anxiety warrants a chapter all its own, because it is so much easier to prevent than to treat once it occurs. To prevent it, and to address it, requires an understanding of canine psychology.”
TROUBLESHOOTING UNWANTED BEHAVIORS
23. Aggression - Deciphering the “bad” dog: “Aggression isn’t aggression isn’t aggression. If you want to take the fang out of “Fang,” you must correctly identify two things: the underlying issue and his state of mind. Are his actions defensive (as in fear aggression), offensive (as in dominance aggression), an element of his DNA (prey drive) or simply a response to his circumstances (situation-generated aggression, the most common and most easily addressed type of aggression)? Is his mind ‘in the moment,’ or are his actions rooted in prior associations? Misinterpret the underlying issue or his state of mind, and your response can increase his aggression and not decrease it!”
24. A bark is not a bark is not a bark: “The likelihood of barking is going to increase in certain situations. How we identify and respond to them can determine whether it takes the form of one bark or two, a three-dog discussion or a ten-dog, ten-minute canine chorus. Dogs bark for a number of reasons, and one response doesn’t fit all.”
25. Troubleshooting misbehaviors:“The best way to figure out why a dog does what he does, in any given situation, is to ask a few key questions: Has he been rewarded in the past for doing it? Might a prior negative association be a factor? Have you failed to show him alternate behaviors, or might he be following a routine that needs changing? Is he looking for an outlet for his pent-up energy? Could the reason be instinctual (after all, he is a dog)? Are you projecting tension to which he is responding? Do you carry a negative picture in your mind? (Your dog knows it.) Have you failed to follow through in the past? (Your dog knows it, and he is willing to capitalize on it).”
26. Choosing professional help: “A little help from the right professional can make a huge difference, even when you have the basics down pat. But how do you find the right person, when so many options are available? To judge the energy, aptitude, state of mind, awareness and use of tools by people offering training and behavioral assistance, it can help to do the following…”
STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
27. Choosing the right dog for you: “Behavioral assessments can help you learn more about individual dogs. The rather simple one used at our facility is one that I have been doing for forty years, well before I became a veterinarian and long before most common variations were developed. It is simple and straightforward, and it is relatively easy to teach. It is also quite predictive of future behavior when performed several times over a few weeks to evaluate growing puppies.”
PRACTICAL LIFE LESSONS, FROM THE DOGS
28. Seizing life like a dog: “Dogs travel through life lightly. They appreciate simple pleasures. They don’t choose to complicate things, and this allows them to better connect with their surroundings. Can we connect more with the world around us, like our dogs? Can we find more to appreciate and more to celebrate, for a greater portion of each and every day? Of course we can, and in this, our dogs make excellent partners.”
29. Taking back by letting go: “As a rescuer and veterinarian, I have seen hundreds of animals survive horrific injuries, neglect and abuse. Although wiser for the experience, every one of them landed squarely on their feet psychologically. I have seen comatose cats, run over by cars, fight their way back into this world despite their only functional parts being a nose for food and a healthy gastrointestinal tract. I have rehabbed dozens of skeletal starvation cases so willing to forgive the hand that didn’t feed them, that it would break your heart. And I have seen both cats and dogs that have been set on fire, thrown from moving vehicles, dipped into paint, and tied to rocks and tossed into ponds, survive such horror to trot happily down the hall of my veterinary clinic the following day. Each and every one of them had something in common: they were capable of letting the past go. It had happened. It was not likely to happen again. They could not go back and change the course of what happened. Most of all, it didn’t serve them to hold onto it. They left the past in the past…all of it.”
30. Glasses half empty: “Dogs know that dysfunction is dysfunctional. It isn’t cute. It isn’t something to aspire to. They step up to correct it or they avoid it, to the best of their ability. Dogs don’t steep in negativity, either – their glasses are always half-full, as opposed to half-empty – but it is surprisingly easy for people to develop this habit.”
31. Teachers and life coaches: “There are many ways to view our dogs. They are our companions and, in some cases, our work partners. They are a source of good humor, pleasant distraction and comfort. As family members, they are the “cheap” kids. They never need sneakers, cell phones, college funds or the latest DVDs, and they never demand Saturday trips to the mall. You can crate them (for reasonable amounts of time) and you can neuter them, and they will kiss you when you haven’t brushed your teeth. Consider them your teachers and your life coaches, too.”
32. Keep smiling! “Smiles nourish us. They stimulate breathing, and breathing is life. Smiles bring oxygen into our lungs, happy neurotransmitters into our bloodstreams and joy into our lives. Our smiles nourish those around us, too. Our dogs (and our children, and our spouses, and our co-workers) watch for them, and they give us their best when we are generous with them.”
Your pledge will be utilized in this manner:
- Recording & editing 30%
- Music, cover & disk artwork 2%
- Materials (CD disks, CD holder, coverstock) for initial run 10%
- Disk publishing – equipment & ink 28%
- Kickstarter rewards 20%
- Kickstarter fees 10%
- Finish research on audiobook production - DONE!
- Choose a recording studio - DONE!
- Edit book manuscript for optimal audio experience - DONE!
- Begin recording of raw files - 60% completed!
- Start Kickstarter Campaign - DONE!
- Finish recording of raw files
- Begin file editing process
- Begin cover & disk artwork
- Send edited audio tracks to trusted reviewers
- Record intro & end music
- Finalize cover & disk art
- End Kickstarter Campaign
Late December 2017 – early January 2018
- Mail out printed book rewards
- Get back reviewer reports
- Make final edits based upon reviewer recommendations
- Purchase production/duplication equipment (or contract with a company to do initial production)
- Begin audiobook production
- Mail out audiobook rewards by the end of the month
- Direct sales to public with 100% of proceeds aiding canine rescue and library pet-parenting projects!
- Begin offering audiobooks to interested libraries
Veterinarians, shelter staff and trainers say...
For more reviews and book info, CLICK HERE.
Retailers, animal shelters, rescues, veterinary clinics, libraries and boarding/training facilities: If you back us at the $1 level, we'll be happy to send you information about wholesale discounts!
Risks and challenges
RISKS: Baring death, there should be minimal risk associated with this project. The original book was published successfully last year and it has been well-received (see the above reviews). We did a lot of research prior to beginning this campaign, and we are more than halfway finished with our raw audio files. We have an excellent advisor at the recording studio, and we have a Plan A (purchase disc publishing equipment and reproduce & print the CDs ourselves), Plan B (have a CD/DVD reproduction company do the work) and Plan C (first Plan B, then Plan A) in place for our first production run.
There are always surprise challenges with any project, and we are a small team, so if someone gets the flu or if another special-needs dog needs immediate rescuing, things can be delayed a few days, but that’s how we’ve worked together for many years. Our goal is to keep everyone in the loop through our updates.
CHALLENGES: We would love to be able to ship SMILE! (both the audiobook and its sister-book in print) outside the US. The only thing stopping this is the insane cost of shipping outside the US and no real understanding of the duties that need to be paid in certain countries. If this is no deterrent to you, please contact us so we can get a shipping estimate for you and send our SMILE!s your way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)