Oxytocin is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is associated, (among other things) with trust and relationship-building in both humans and animals.
Every time we gaze lovingly at our pets, cuddle, stroke, talk or even play with them, their oxytocin level goes up and so does ours. It is a cellular reaction that stimulates bonding and trust.
To understanding how important human interaction is to animals, I encourage you to use the techniques I describe below to gain the trust and understanding of your pet.
For example, when we approach a fearful/skittish dog, no matter how great our intentions are, their self-preservation will kick in if we look directly into their eyes and reach out to pet them. They feel challenged and will become defensive or aggressive.
Here are few tips to help the interaction:
* Avoid eye contact— a fearful dog interprets that as a threat/intimidation.
* Sit sideways — a dog interprets this as less threatening.
* Stay still — it allows the dog to read your body language.
* Offer high value foods without reaching out, just place the food on the ground and stay still again.
* Sitting close while allowing the dog to feel comfortable already produces oxytocin!
* If the dog seems relaxed and coming to you, only pet briefly, but avoid eye contact. Easy does it!
* When you’re able to pet the dog, use gentle slow strokes to create trust.
* Focus on your breathing. Take slow breaths — a calm energy will help the dog to relax faster.
I can’t emphasize enough how healing your presence and human touch can be to a fearful dog. It creates not just a connection, but it also conveys emotions that are more powerful than any spoken language and ultimately a sense of belonging, well-being, comfort and love — it creates Magic!
Think like a dog. Behave like a master!
~ Teka ~