In my last post, I opened a discussion on the emotional life of dogs, sharing one of my favorite books on the subject, Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin. In her book, she spotlights a study by neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp in which he lists key emotions common to all mammals. In Part One, I began with two: Seeking and Play. According to Dr. Panksepp, these happy centers can only exist when a mammal — here a dog — is content and comfortable in his surroundings.
Now for the other three: fear, frustration and panic. Though those may seem dark by comparison, there are healthy levels of fear and frustration that you may use creatively in your educational endeavors with your dog. The key word being “healthy levels.” When a dogs fear or frustration become unbearable they can morph into rage or panic and leave a dog no other outlet than to use aggression to relieve these intense emotions. Yikes!