Your Dog = Optimist?

I want you all to be at the cutting edge of all things dog training and behaviour and bring awesome results to your dog training. SO I had to share with you all something that, until I did something about it, was only to be found in scientific research.

It makes a massive difference to your relationship with your dog, the results you get from your training and also preventing and overcoming behaviour problems. It’s HUGE!

As I say, this is very new. I’ve been using it in my behaviour consulting and dog training and the results have been phenomenal and we just had to share it with you!

  • Barbara Burgess

    My dog is both really. Border Collie 14 month Male. A dog in the distance is wow – someone to play with. A bollard or road works sign that is new is something to be a bit frightened of. I make him walk round the object a few times and then he is ok until he sees another one in a new place!

  • Hayley Leighton-Evans

    Frankie is definitely pessimistic. Everything new scares him, but with consistently working on his issues, he has improved massively. Im never going to stop trying to improve the way he sees the world, but Im sure he will never be an optimist, but I live in hope!!

  • Holgachick

    My German pointer (3 1/2 years) is definitely a pessimist. In his mind, a strange dog or person approaching is definitely something to be fearful of. If there is enough distance between us, I can reward him with food for not reacting but if they appear unexpectedly (or get closer than he’s happy with), it’s difficult to manage his arousal. He has been known to attempt to lunge at a strange dog if it’s too close (with strange people there’s no lunging, only barking). If I try to get some distance between us, he freezes and won’t move. I don’t want to drag him away as I feel that this will make the situation worse. I’m working on bringing out his optimistic side by building confidence (at a distance) if he sees something he’s unsure of. I’ve been playing the ‘Look At That’ game as outlined by Leslie McDevitt, or as I mentioned before, rewarding him for not reacting. We’re also doing mat work to help him establish a ‘safe’ zone and learn to relax. Any suggestions would be great. Thank you.

  • Karen Boyce

    For the first time ever I have new GSD pup (1 year old now) and she was much more of a optomist than a pessimist. Modern pet dog breeding sneaking in and older working traits fading out I presume. Makes things much easier. Sheltie isn’t too bad either. But both had very early positive experiences which obviously helps. Love the work you do.

  • Angela

    I am a dog owner and pet carer. I have 3 Westies 2 optimists and 1 pessimist. One of my clients has 2 Cockapoos one mildly optimistic the other very pessimistic.

  • Janet Donkervoort

    I love the idea of using ‘optimist’/’pessimist’ to describe dog personality….I have a quirky cocker that I would have described as ‘reactive’ or ‘spooky’, but just by re-casting him as a ‘pessimist’ makes his behaviour so much more understandable for me! It also helps me get a better mindset for how to deal with his behaviour and will help me keep that plan at the top of my mind! Amazing what a ‘label’ can do to help!

  • Heidi N Poppie

    A natural pessimistic, but A very much work in progress… and getting better by the day

  • Lesley

    Charlie, my mini poodle is definitely a pessimist, scaredy boy. Working on rewarding each time something new happens. Ollie ( rescue standard poodle) is both pessimist and optimist. He loves to play chase with other dogs but on lead is very fearful and will lunge which makes him look scary. He loves a ball so when out with him, I get him to carry his bungee ball toy or scatter treats for him when another dog- or sometimes people- appear!

  • Cathy Hughes

    Was recently hired to work with a very pessimistic BC. She had been purchased to be the owner’s next herding dog, but the owner underwent several orthopedic surgeries and the dog became too much to handle around livestock. The dog was sent to me for extensive eval. Talk about depressed…when it came to human interactions she was as pessimistic as they come. My first goal was to shape things that I could use as rewards…such as accepting food from my hand and plAying tug. Then rewarding any attention she offered to me. These initial lessons took several weeks! Silk was a hard sell, but she has learned the joys of agility, swimming and retrieving bumpers, running errands, and enjoying down time on the deck. She has gone back home and will be trying nosework next. I certainly learned loads from that pessimistic girlie!

  • Moira Plowman

    I have a 3 1/2 yr old Kelpie who was shut in a barn with his siblings for the first 5 months of his life, he was not able to be put forward for rescue until he was nearly 9 months old because of his issues. he is a total sweetheart and will welcome any dog into our house but out on lead he will lunge at other dogs and off lead he will try and chase them away. He is not aggressive but does look like it when he chases. Given the time to get to know a strange dog eg going for a lead walk first and then letting them off together he is fine. Ever since I have had him he has been attacked by other dogs , I get him to the point when I can let him off in an exercise area and then he has a dog come after him again and we are back to the beginning so – yes I have a VERY PESSIMISTIC DOG who is expecting to be attacked all the time.

  • I have a 5yr pessimistic labrador, apart from people (he loves them all) new things, known things in strange places, new dogs all make him anxious. Unknown dogs running towards him or getting in his face/backside make him aggressive. He broke his leg at 4 months and missed a few weeks socialisation and was then bitten by another dog later on, and its gone down hill since then. However, I also have a 2yr optimistic labrador, he is generally quite bold about all situations (sometimes too much) When I work the 2 together the results are generally positive, so new dog meets the optimistic and has a good time, pessimistic dogs watches realises hes missing out and wants to join in.

  • Wendy Roydhouse

    3 pessimists – 2 had early lack of socialisation (before coming to me) and 1 was extensively socialised by me as a puppy. My rescue greyhound is extremely reactive to dogs despite meds and years of training, behaviourists etc. My older Crested is not too bad but her first reaction to anything strange has always been OMG! ongoing socialisation for her has seen a lot of improvement. My pup now one y.o. is ‘shy’ and barks at dogs we see when out walking and yes, we do lots of conditioning and she mixes happily with lots of dogs at training; nature v nurture?

  • Virginia Olson

    Definitely a pessimist. The Great Dane across the street came after him
    when he was 4 months. I became ill so he missed socialization.