The Ask the Dog® method has been developed to improve the relationship between a dog and its owner. The method includes a variety of exercises that can be used to develop interspecies communication and raise it to a new level, whereupon the voice and opinions of the dog can be taken into account. The dog will increasingly be thought of as an active participant, who, through its own actions, can influence factors that affect its own life.
The Ask the Dog® philosophy is based on a strong scientific background in animal learning and motivation. The practical applications have been created as a result of many years of experience, where the prerequisite for all development is the genuine motivation of the dog. A permanent change in behaviour is only possible through genuine motivation. If a dog is to work with humans, it is the responsibility of the humans to find the dog’s genuine motivation.
The roots behind the method lie in work in which the everyday challenges experienced by dogs and their owners are solved in a holistic way, always with the well-being of the dog placed first and foremost. In the shaping of behaviour, an understanding of motivation is central and genuine motivation always arises from voluntariness. When the dog itself is proactive, it is much easier to work with.
A sense of being in control is a very important experience for a dog when working with a human. A sense of security and an ability to function are related to the feeling that a dog is able to have an influence on the things that affect it and the situations it encounters. A dog’s sense of control can be increased by providing it with opportunities to influence things through a variety of games. For example, a dog can be offered alternative tasks to choose from, allowed to refuse some things and the environment can also be taken into account when providing rewards.
A human−dog relationship is built on repetitive interaction situations. The more positive the interaction situation, according to the experience of both the dog and the owner, the better the relationship that will be formed. The key to the relationship is predictability – the better the dog and the owner are able to anticipate each other’s actions, the better they will get to know each other. The relationship can be consciously improved and developed, for example, by increasing the dog’s freedom of choice. The more options that a dog is given, the better it will be able to function – even in awkward situations.
The Ask the Dog® method is a collection of different exercises and games that will help you get to know your dog better. The aim of the exercises is to improve the interaction between the dog and its owner. The aim of the exercises is to engage the dog and make it responsible for ever better cooperation. The exercises can be performed in everyday life or in different activity situations, the idea is to offer the dog and the owner an activity to carry out in which there is no possibility of an error taking place. The exercises can provide experiences of success through which a relationship will develop. In addition, the exercises bring into view the dog’s autonomy, sense of control, genuine motivation and freedom of choice, all of which will then be more easily utilized in other situations as well.