Making Dogs Happy

Making Dogs Happy

2016, Nature  -    -  Playlist 8 Comments
Ratings: 8.26/10 from 61 users.

How well do you really know your dog? You're likely to reassess your understanding of man's best friend after watching Making Dogs Happy, a playful and informative new documentary from Australia's ABC-TV Catalyst series.

The film pairs three dog owners with a team of experts from the fields of canine training and behavioral modification. Over the course of two weeks, they engage in the science of "dogmanship", and work together to complete a series of challenges that lead to a deeper level of communication between each owner and their furry family members.

Calling upon B.F. Skinner's highly influential studies on reward-based reinforcement, the first trainer illustrates a canine's finely tuned system of learning. These lessons constitute the basics of training a well-behaved and obedient dog. Each recruit is tasked with establishing the reward their dog most covets, partnering certain sounds with the delivery of those rewards, and avoiding mixed messages in the process.

Understanding your dog's body language and interpreting their signals of stress are also essential in developing more successful communication techniques. An animal behaviorist teaches each owner how to read these surprising signs. For instance, many dogs actually find hugs from their owners to be stressful and confining, and this response is often expressed through a series of physical ticks which include yawns, lip licking, and full body shakes.

While many humans may find it daunting to properly decipher the messages their dogs are sending them, canines are actually supremely adept at reading us. This remarkably attuned sense of connection results from centuries of evolution. The instructors in the film call on each owner to view the world through their dog's unique point of view, and teach them how they can modify their own behaviors to facilitate the most desirable results during training.

Divided into two episodes, the lessons and challenges put forth in Making Dogs Happy allow both dogs and their owners the ability to communicate on an equal plane of understanding. The film is an entirely pleasurable and instructive viewing experience for all dog owners, and will help them deepen the bonds they share with their beloved canines.

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8 months ago

Amazing documentary. Entertaining, practical and enlightening

5 years ago

It was great how they involved a seal trainer and seals to compare to dogs. I liked how they brought in the results of the dogs brain activity while they scanned them, teaching them to lay perfectly still.

Chihuahuas are very nervous dogs in general though, could it have been a possibility that the dog was trying to shake off its sweater and not because it was nervous?

6 years ago

Friggin lady - she's actually saying YIP! to her chihuahua. Not yes - " YIP!" I think the reason the chihuahua shakes like that is because she wants that stupid jacket OFF!

6 years ago

making a dog roll over is an invitation to a twisted stomach which means money for your vet and a dead dog for you.
chihuahuas and other nervous little breeds should all be collected up and sent to Mars instead of Rovers. (pun intended)
If a neighbor's loud TV or party is too loud, how about we phone the authorities about a constantly uninterrupted incessant nerve-racking inbred guinea pig sized dog?
If your constantly yipping dog won't ever shut up - how will you know when you are being burgled?
People who insist on putting cute stuff on their dog should have a snug wool hat put on their head every day - pulled on in the opposite direction as their hair lays on the head.
You want to dress your chihuahua in something cute? I'll make it a corn tortilla-shaped coat to wear. Maybe sew a hot sauce packet to hang off it.

Wolves cower and sometimes roll so the alpha will allow them close to a meal. WHY do we teach dogs to roll over, and sea lions o do anything? You want to 'work' with animals? Don't teach them to do anything.

6 years ago

Haha. .. I love my dog!

6 years ago

Yeah it was a bit ruff

Violet W.
6 years ago

No mention was made of the little dog's possible attempt to shake off a pretty unnatural sweater............why was no discussion of this possibility??