(The Art of) UPWARD Methodology

ART:
1. A skill commonly acquired through practice and experience;

2. Subjects of study and processes involving, and relying upon, human creativity.

METHODOLOGY:
1. A set of practices and procedures used to effectively work within a discipline;

2. Concepts, often guided by logic, that act as the foundation to allow for the understanding of general principles.
Synonyms – approaches and procedures; way of thinking/perception; creative implementation of a proven series of concepts.

To successfully work with dogs, we cannot think in terms of specific techniques designed to correct individual behaviours. UPWARD Methodology is a combination of methods comprised of three components, collectively called “the Tools”. 

A.C.T. – The Tools of UPWARD Methodology

UPWARD Methodology consists of three integral components which work in conjunction with each other to teach expected behaviours, deter unwanted behaviours, decrease anxiety and aggression, and allow for a smooth integration into homes and our urban world.

The three components are the, 1) Approaches, 2) Commands and, 3) Techniques.

These components A.C.T. in conjunction with each other and are the Tools of UPWARD Methodology.

Approach(es): The Approach is a set of principles creating the over-all mind-set that governs the way we work with dogs. I use Guidelines and Concepts to explain these principals, which act as the consistent platform while allowing for flexibility.

Commands: (and Command-based exercises): Commands are words, or a combination of words. UPWARD Methodology teaches and applies them in a manner which elevates them from words associated with a specific action to ones which change the dog’s perception of his/her person and situations.

Techniques: Techniques combine small details and larger practices, allowing us to execute tasks. There is not one technique – there are many, which we apply creatively depending on the skill level and personality of the dog and the specific situation.

The Tools can be compared to the foundation, building blocks, or integral components of any whole made up of equally important pieces. These Tools work in conjunction with each other to form methods which allow us to effectively work with dogs. There is no one-set way to apply the Tools. There is no specific program. How and when we teach and apply the Tools changes and adapts as the dog progresses and develops – much like an artform.

The Tools allow us to:

  • change the dog’s perception of his person’s ability to calmly manage him and situations
  • bond and communicate
  • prevent unwanted behaviour (honeymoon period)
  • learn about and understand individual dogs
  • read their intentions (learn what they are thinking, as opposed to reacting to their behaviours)
  • establish consistency without the need for restrictive rules
  • perform tasks such as grooming, nail clipping, and vet visits
  • teach house-rules, new routines and expected behaviour
  • change daily routines
  • wean off, and/or negate, the need for “quick fix” solutions, gimmicks, restraints, and medications
  • include dogs into our daily activities
  • easily acclimatize dogs to home life (up/down stairs, in/out vehicles and rooms, walk on leash etc.)
  • learn when and how to reward suitable to individual dogs
  • decrease/rehabilitate anxiety and aggression
  • assess the reason for, and effectively address, unwanted behaviour without relying on reactive techniques
  • make educated decisions and establish realistic goals based on the individual dog.

(From “The Art of Urban People With Adopted and Rescued Dogs Methodology”)