An example -
Fido the dog has become fearful of other dogs.
In the past Fido had displayed Calming Signals to his owner in the hope that they would recognise his fears and would offer him an Escape Route when meeting other dogs. Unfortunately the owner did not understand Fido's body language and continued to walk towards "strange" dogs that he was worried about.
Fido felt trapped and unable to cope, and soon lost confidence and trust with his owner as they consistently ignored his Calming Signals and expected him to cope with similar circumstances. There was only one option left for Fido - he needed to take control of the situation by himself.
Having no option to escape, he resorted to barking and lunging at the strange dogs in the hope that that they would go away (backed up by the fact that his lead had become an "umbilical cord" for Fido, building his confidence that he would be protected by his owner should he be attacked or bitten by any of the "strange" dogs).
Fido soon learnt that this behaviour was successful - the dogs and their humans quickly moved away - and so the problem was solved for the fearful Fido and he stored this Environmental Photo in his Memory, repeating the rewarding "aggressive" behaviour whenever he encountered another dog.
However, once Fido's owner had learnt to recognise his Calming Signals things turn out very differently. As soon as Fido became uncomfortable the owner calmly and confidently turned Fido away from oncoming dogs, allowing him the opportunity to escape and use calming signals to the "strange dogs" from a safe distance.
Once Fido had the time and opportunity to communicate with the other dog and build up confidence to approach them using slow curves, head turning etc, his confidence grew not only with meeting other dogs, but in his owner as well. He began to trust their judgment that they would not put him in situations that he could not cope with, and would respond to his calming signals in a positive and constructive manner.
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