Body, mind, behaviour
Body, mind, behaviour…in natural balance.
I have been a Canine Behaviour Consultant and Dog Trainer for over 20 years and for the vast majority of that time, I have been recommending Natural Raw food. The main reason is because I am passionate about dogs, their health and longevity. Common sense and experience tell me that feeding a natural, species appropriate diet is one of the best things we can do for our best friends.
I guess that the main difference between now and 20 years ago, is that it is easier for clients to understand why I recommend a raw diet – with many people now aware of the vast benefits of clean, healthy eating along with their own nutritional needs and natural health, they are almost immediately on board. The dangers and negative impacts of processed food are well known and most of my clients already ensure that the human members of their family eat ‘clean’.
So just what impact can changing a diet from processed dog food to natural raw food have? Well…lots.
There has been much publicity over many years about the effect of colourings, additives and the processing of food can have on the integrity of a product and the associated health and behavioural issues that it can have on children and adults; it follows suit that chemical additives, colourants et al will also have an effect on not only the health, but on the behaviour of our dogs.
When dogs have been subjected to an additive and chemical fuelled diet which often contains colourants used to make it look like ‘food’ (carrots, peas, meat etc), the effect within a week or so of switching to a natural diet is one of general calmness; the ability to relax, focus, listen and learn. They just seem to achieve a natural balance; their own equilibrium, which is not only essential for psychological health, but also for learning and contentment, happiness and overall wellbeing.
Dogs don’t have a great deal to do each day and so exercise, play, training, food and general stimulation are key to providing your dog with a fulfilling life. Putting a few bits of kibble in a bowl once a day is just not what dogs want or need! They need activity, happiness and fulfilment.
I have just introduced a new puppy into my existing family pack and she is going through the painful teething phase, as well as the investigatory and exploratory phases – using her mouth (just as human babies do!). I’m rather keen to keep a nice home and do not want her relieving teething pain on my skirting boards, soft furnishings or indeed my hands! So, logically, I am feeding her Natural Instinct; as I write this, she is in the garden, with a beef pipe stuffed with tripe. Not only is it keeping her busy right now, but providing physical exercise and mental stimulation – which means, a satisfied, content and sleepy puppy…and safe skirting boards!
Another task one has with puppies is toilet training – I am quite proud of the fact that every puppy that I have had in my home, over the last 25 years, has never urinated or defecated inside my house…ever! Some of that of course is down to diligence and persistence, but feeding natural food (rather than dry stuff) reduces bulk and water consumption and thus it is way, way easier on the puppy’s digestive system and enables them to comfortably fit within their new lifestyle, and of course, it is also easier on the owner – very few sleepless nights!
Body, mind, behaviour…in natural balance.
I get immense enjoyment from seeing my dogs sleeping – not through boredom or because there is nothing else to do, but through tiredness – and, much like children, tired dogs are good dogs! A sensible exercise regime and natural feeding regimen is the minimum we can do for our dogs.
So, if your dog already has a serious behavioural issue, switching to a natural diet is unlikely to resolve it, but it definitely plays a part. If your dog is free from (often unknown or undiagnosed) skin irritation, poor digestion, lethargy, restlessness, lack of focus et al, then working on specific behavioural issues is without doubt much easier.
There are however, some instances where I have experienced simply switching to Natural Instinct, has completely resolved a behavioural issue alone.
As a part of my work, I took a Labrador Retriever in to my home for residential training – not something that I do often, but the circumstances were such that I agreed. The problem that Kino, this Labrador was displaying was intraspecific copropagia (eating faeces from the same species AKA Dog poo!). Kino, was not just eating faeces when she stumbled across it, but actively seeking it out in London’s Royal Parks…she knew where the buffet was and she was on a mission.
When I collected her, I was given a large bag of veterinary issue dry food to accompany her, but I politely declined. After two days on Natural Instinct, not only had her own faeces of two huge poo bags of stinking and mountainous waste gone to small, firm and inoffensive natural waste, but she seemed sated, more content…and literally stopped looking for poop on which to gorge. Overnight, her complete raison d'etre has shifted entirely.
I use Natural Instinct in many behavioural reformation programmes, unfortunately I have not been afforded the space herein to cover it all, but for aggression to people, recall issues, separation anxiety and more, Natural Instinct is essential to achieve balance and results.