First Collar Training - Behaviour

When you communicate, you usually do so in two distinct ways at the same time. As a human, and as a pup, you use sound and sight, your eyes and ears helping you to converse with your Owner and Trainer. Learning to "be" a pup, to appear and perform and interact with others as a pup means you have to learn to communicate all over again.. Pup play forces everyone involved to change the way that they would normally communicate as humans, and this allows you as a pup to develop yourself in unexpected ways. You are free of worrying about language, and free of the mode of discussion you have become accustomed to in everyday life. Now the non verbal aspect of communication comes to the fore. 

Much of our attention when we are communicating as humans goes to the verbal level which contains words that make up any message we are trying to get across. We use this level to tell people what we are talking about, whether it is out loud, in writing, or even sign language. It is not possible to lose that language facility without significant harm to yourself. What pup training will do is add a seeming second language of non words, non verbal discussion. 

Non verbal communication is made up of our posture, our movements, and our tone of voice. It has a huge impact in everyday face to face communication as

how we say things often matters more than what we say

Non verbal communication tells us a lot, and it is the primary mode of communication for a pup. As a pup you must utilise non verbal skills to engage meaningfully with everyone - your Owner, your Trainer, other pups, even an audience. As a human, when you talk about an issue you can choose your words, maybe even plan what you say. As a pup you will develop that skill non verbally, so you can clearly communicate:

  • your current emotional state
  • how you feel about what your Owner and Trainer is doing
  • how you feel about those around you, especially someone trying to talk to you
  • how seriously you take what is happening to you
  • whether you see yourself as an equal, inferior, or superior to another
  • how confident you are in yourself
  • and whether you expect to be listened to or taken seriously.

In training we will focus on three distinct areas of your self you will utilise for non verbal communication.

The Head 

The tilt of your head and its direction will speak volumes to others. A hood helps you reduce using your human face to communicate so that you can focus on using your head rather than slipping into a human to human mode of communication and using facial expressions.

The Body

Imagine that there is an invisible flat surface present over, and in fact through you. It starts at the front of your shoulders,  travels in a straight line down to your hips. Imagine it as a board on your back when you are on all fours. This body plane is horizontal at that time. When you are standing as a human the plane is vertical. How you tilt and use that invisible planar surface communicates meaning to those looking at you.

The Personal Space 

Now imagine another invisible field, except this one is not a flat plane. It is a bubble. An invisible bubble that extends out from your skin to a certain distance. As a human you have this personal space zone defined simply by when you feel uncomfortable as a stranger enters or intrudes on it. Sometimes you mentally adjust it, like on an crowded train, to accept the invasion of your space. As a pup this personal space assumes an even greater importance. 

There are three general ways to approach non verbal communication as a pup. You should learn all three, as you may wish to use them at different times. According to your nature, you will tend to choose one approach over the other two.

Dominant is for when you seek to be aggressive as a pup, showing you are in charge and feeling power over others. Submissive is for when you seek to passive as a pup, and let other people have their way and be in charge of you. Assertive is when you seek to be playful and relaxed as a pup, ready for action.

For your First Collar Training you will only learn one of the eight forms or non verbal communication. Further Collars will teach you more. As a beginner at non verbal activity, focus on this one method when you are in pup play and training so that you get an understanding of the concepts involved. 

Posture as Non Verbal Communication

Assertive Non Verbal Communication

Dominant Non Verbal Communication

Assertive: you will tilt your body plane backwards slightly, often taking a semi upright position. When at rest you won't often be on All Fours at first as you tend to assume a Present or Kneel position posture, with your shoulders back. You will face whomever is talking to you. Your head is aimed more or less at that other person. 

Dominant: you take a posture to be large and threatening. Whether it be All Fours or Present or Kneel posture, you are crouched and ready to pounce. Your body plane is angled upwards to the other person or pup, or simply tilted towards the ceiling. Your posture shows you are ready for a fight as your head is angled directly and unvaryingly to what or whom you are showing dominance over. 

Submissive: you will hunch to make yourself appear smaller, with your body plane pointed to one side of the person addressing you. You will lean away from them when you can, and almost always lean down towards the ground from an All Fours position so that it almost becomes a Submit posture. You head is angled down and away. Your shoulders will hunch and raise towards your ears, with your head lowered. Your body will convey an overall impression of either tense nervousness or defeat. 

Submissive Non Verbal Communication