It was Christmas morning and i was almost three years old. I came lumbering down the stairs knowing Santa had come during the night. When I got to the tree, my young brain was overcome with the sight of presents protruding from under our tree. My parents of course pointed out all the gifts Santa had left me and I was overjoyed. So much so, that i did something both my parents didn’t expect.
I kicked a present…
This wasn’t an “I wonder what is in this box” type kick.
This was a “holy cow I’m so excited I don’t know what to do” kick.
Out of sheer excitement, I booted one of my gifts.
The brain does funny things under states of mild stress and arousal. Many people don’t look at an excited dog and think the dog is under stress but the fact is, excitement is very similar to fear chemically speaking. There’s also a big difference between being happy and being excited.
A state of excitement makes it hard for your dog to make good choices like he would when he’s calmer. Ever wonder why all your dog’s obedience training goes out the window when you get home and he’s excited? That’s stress. In order to address the behaviour you must address the mind first. Once the mind is calmer than we can begin to try and influence the behaviour and teach our dog something different… like sitting if you want our affection.
So if you’re having problems with getting your dog to understand something… consider if he’s staring a pile of presents in the eye and getting ready to kick them!