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Quiet and Calm Yet Assertive - A Brigadoon Service Dogs News Article by Denise Costanten (2008)

I’m a re-active type person, being calm and assertive does not come naturally. I practice every day to be calm and assertive with our dogs and try very hard not to be RE-ACTIVE.

Working with dogs that do not speak the same language as me, I have had to learn how they think and behave in their natural surroundings. This was the only way I knew how to effectively communicate with them. Dogs are experts at reading their environment. You can actually teach a dog without speaking a word, just by using your body language.

Dogs synchronize with your behavior. In other words, if you are quiet and calm they will respond more effectively to your request. If the dog has high energy and you are high energy, guess what? Nothing will get accomplished. Take the same scenario, and you DON’T have high energy, you soften your voice and wait a few seconds, the dog will feel your energy and stop to take notice. When this happens Reward the dog in a calm manner. Now you can ask for the behavior you want - sit or whatever. Everyone is happy!

Note: It may take more than a few seconds, depending on the dog...just be patient!

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