Second Collar Training - Behaviour
Now you have your First Collar Training Behaviour understood it is time to expand your use of non verbal communication to include four more of the eight forms. Remember that you use these forms of body language to express your demeanour and mood, your sense of confidence in yourself and confidence in whomever you are interacting with. In First Collar we covered Posture as Non Verbal Communication. As you recall, there were three basic styles of expression - Assertive, Dominant, or Submissive.
Appearance as Non Verbal Communication
What you choose to wear as a pup is actually a form of communication. It telegraphs to those who see you how you wish to be seen, and certainly broadcasts how confident you feel.
Assertive: you choose a hood, a body suit, and extra gear to express your individual pup self. You don't seek to look anonymous and just like every other pup, nor do you dress to intimidate others. Although the look and style of gear you choose may have an impact on others, you chose it to reflect your pup self and persona. Click the bold text to view the video of an Assertive Pup Appearance.
Dominant: you choose your gear deliberately to intimidate others and to show you are a powerful pup. It can be the harsh lines of the suit, or a mean looking hood, or simply a collar with spikes. Whatever the gear is, it communicates aggression. Click the bold text to view the video of a Dominant Pup Appearance.
Submissive: you choose to blend in with the pack. You don't choose your own gear where possible, asking the advice and following the directives of others in the pack as to what gear to buy and wear. You choose a suit, a hood, and other gear that doesn't stand out or grab attention. In fact, you may choose a hood and suit that help obscure or hide your body and self from others. Click the bold text to view the video of a Submissive Pup Appearance.
Physical Contact as Non Verbal Communication
How you touch your Owner and Trainer, how you touch other pups, and especially how you touch strangers lets them know your disposition and intentions.
Assertive: you will touch others gently, expressing care and empathy for them. When you are not in close enough proximity to touch others, you make gentle patting gestures against the edge of their personal space. You are considerate of other people in how you touch them, making sure it is where they feel comfortable and pleasant for them. Click the bold text to view the video of Assertive Pup Physical Contact.
Dominant: your touching is firm, unmistakeably strong. In fact it can be jabbing, as you invade others personal space. You grasp and prod and have little concern for the other. You touch where you want to when you want to, without permission. Click the bold text to view the video of Dominant Pup Physical Contact.
Submissive: your touch of others is minimal because you retreat into yourself and avoid physical contact with others. When you have to touch, you are tentative and wary. Click the bold text to view the video of Submissive Pup Physical Contact.
Physical Distance as Non Verbal Communication
The amount of space you put between yourself and others lets them know how you feel and what you intend as well. By deciding the distance between you and your Owner and Trainer, the distance between you and other pups, you signal to them your desire to interact and your mood.
Assertive: you maintain a distance that is far enough and close enough to be able to converse normally. You stay close enough to be able to make sounds at a normal level with your hood on, but no so close you are clinging. For many pups from a western anglosphere culture this about a metre away. Click the bold text to view the video of an Assertive Pup Distance.
Dominant: you get closer than you need to be to communicate with sound. You are a confrontational pup, invading others personal space. You may even seem to lunge forward as you do so. Pups being dominant tend to also crawl and lunge over furniture and even other pups, not being phased by close proximity to others. Click the bold text to view the video of Dominant Pup Distance.
Submissive: you put a great deal of distance between you and others, making sure you are not in easy reach of touch. Your body turns away from them, making it look like you want to escape. It isn't unusual for a submissive pup to hide under furniture. Click the bold text to view the video of a Submissive Pup Distance.
Physical Gestures as Non Verbal Communication
Not only the distance, and the way you touch matters. How a pup moves is very indicative of his demeanour and temper. As a human you may gesticulate with your hands while speaking. As a pup you use your whole body to gesticulate and express your pup self.
Assertive: the movement of your body is relaxed and fluid, as you move easily about. There is little to no muscle tension, and you move calmly from place to place. Your gestures with your paws, with your legs and arms, with your head and with your whole body plane are natural and open, as you seem to invite interaction with your Owner and Trainer or any others. Click the bold text to view the video of Assertive Pup Gestures.
Dominant: your body becomes tense, and your muscles taut. You are visibly alert and pumping adrenalin. Your gestures are rapid and sharp, as you turn directions very quickly. You jab and prod with your paws, and your body plane shifts direction often, but usually tilting to invade and dominate the space of another. You jump at others aggressively. Click the bold text to view the video of Dominant Pup Gestures.
Submissive: most often you will seem placid and still, with very little gesture coming from you. In fact you can range from simply seeming lethargic to almost paralysed and inert. Your movements and gestures are controlled way too much, as you are being restrictive for the fear of expressing yourself or interacting with the other. When you do move about you are tentative and almost unsteady. Occasionally a pup can actually be the reverse and be submissive. In an attempt to overcome shyness and to be liked at any cost you will be frenetic and rapidly moving about. Your gestures are fidgeting, as you make quick but unfocused movement. Click the bold text to view a video of the Submissive Pup Gestures.
Practice of the three styles of non verbal communication will help give you an understanding of how other pups feel. Simply being aware of the different forms will alert you to the intentions and mood of other pups. So each week you should set aside a half hour when you can be alone to practice. Use a mirror to watch yourself as you move and express the different styles and see how you "come across"