About the Course
Introduction to Skillful Dialogue Course:
This course will introduce you to having a wholesome dialogue with a dog, tapping into both your and the dog’s feelings, brain signals and bodily responses. It creates a balance between you, one where choices and preferences are equal. A dialogue with a dog is powerful for a dog parent, in that it taps into human and dogs' nervous systems, creating an experience of co-regulation together.
Co-regulation is having moments of feeling safe through connections with others. It is likely why you decided to adopt a dog to begin with - the desire for a connection. This course teaches you how to have a dialogue with your dog, enabling a relationship of trust and safety. It is formed through an exchange of safety signals, cues, vocalisation, and mindset.
Developing a dialogue with a dog is a proactive way to guide behaviours to come from a place of calmness and higher-level brain function where better decisions are made (called executive functioning). Consider that a nervous system is like an automatic built-in GPS system. You and your dog both have a nervous system. The nervous system, like a GPS, helps you to navigate through different obstacles, challenges, and states of emotions by providing instinctive direction and guidance.
Our Skillful Dialogue course leverages the physiology of trust and healing as found in our nervous system. We tap into the connections inside, through our nervous system, to outside and our behaviours.
Continuing with the GPS analogy, let’s imagine putting a pin on a digital map of where we want to go, and while on route we monitor safety and threats. This is called "Neuroception". Neuroception, in both humans and dogs, asks the question, "Do I feel safe?". The goal of the GPS is to have us survive, and arrive alive at our pinned destination, and similarly, the Skillful Dialogue course delivers you and your dog to arrive and thrive. “Neuroception” and “Coregulation” are found in the lifetime studies of Dr. Stephen Porges, who created the Polyvagal Theory. It explains that our vagus nerve within our nervous system monitors cues of safety and threat without our awareness, like when we are startled, that same is likely to be true for dogs.
A dialogue with a dog is like learning to play an instrument. It may not be easy at first, but eventually, you can understand each other's cues and produce beautiful music together. In this lecture series, we develop baseline capabilities for a dialogue to occur between a parent and dog. This begins building critical capabilities often not taught to dog parents: how to make your dog feel safe. Dog parents seeking a compassionate way to heal and integrate a new dog into their family will benefit from this two-part course. The course works exceptionally well with newly adopted rescue dogs experiencing behaviour problems.
Part One will teach canine body language and its link to different emotional states. It will demystify many observations of your dog and your dog's interaction with other dogs. Your dog's signals show what is happening in your dog's brain and nervous system. It is through this viewpoint, of developing safety through social dialogue, that we will review eye contact, lip licking, ear positions, body movement, body posture, tail wagging, and other body language signals. It will set a foundation of canine communication specific to building a Skillful Dialogue with your dog. You could think of this in many ways, like driving a car; you need to know what the traffic signals mean and be able to read the traffic signs quickly to understand what actions to take.
Upon completing Part One, you will need to complete Part Two to gain all the benefits noted above. In Part two, you will build on what you learned and then progress to having your first dialogue with your dog.
This course is aligned to support behaviour modification and behaviour therapy for the following symptoms:
Aggression Towards Family Members
Other Aggressive Reactions
Pulling/Lunging on Leash
Alert Bark, Excited Bark
It is also aligned to support changing behaviours, like:
Finally, it can support as input to therapeutic plans for:
Hi I'm Sparky, the developer of the course, and founder of PivotalChange.ca and DogParentology. The courses are presented are taught by many different instructors and myself. I'm a registered Canine Psychologist with the CMA and an Accredited Dog Behaviour Consultant with the IAABC. In addition, I am an ISCP Canine Behaviour Practitioner and run ISCP-Canada. I specialises in serious, complex and persistent dog behaviour therapy and modification programs, which has led to another specialisation of traumatised and rescued dogs. Our success rate of our in-person program is an unprecedented 98% with a proven adaptive method replicated in the Dog Parentology courses. I welcome you to learning how to guide your dog to a new way to think, feel and behave.