Back in May, I attended a talk titled "Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Harmonious Relationships", given by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma at Bath Cats and Dogs Home. Lisa works at The International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour (ISCP) and The Dog Welfare Alliance. She is also an author/journalist. Lisa's talk is about building up harmonious relationships with our own dog(s) and/or dogs we work with. Find the notes I took during Lisa's talk below.
- Emotions are specific reactions to events that arise before we are conscious of experiencing them (subconscious responses)
- Emotions compromise subjective feelings, physiological responses and expressive behaviour
- Emotions occur in the subcortical regions of the brain, in the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortices
- Emotions set off biochemical reactions that alter your physical state
- Emptions control hormones (eg. fear stimulates adrenaline).
Primary and Secondary Emotions
- Primary emotions are an immediate response to a situation or event. They are the direct result of our perception of the event.
- secondary emotions follow these, and indicate how you are mentally processing the experience. These emotions linger for longer.
The Difference Between Emotions and Feelings
- Feelings originate in the neocortical region of the brain, whereas emotions affect the subcortical regions
- Feelings are mental associations and reactions to emotions
- Feelings involve cognitive input
- Feelings cannot be precisely measured as emotions can.
What do We Classify as Feelings?
- Moods reinforce and can also change emotions because they distort our perceptions. Moods obscure our view of reality
- As moods distort perception, they can also change behaviour
- Most scientists believe that moods may be generated by neural-hormonal changes that are not directly linked to an environmental event (Paul Eman)
- Events such as sleep or food deprivation affect or trigger our mood
- This is just as true for nonhuman as human animals.
Negative, Neutral and Positive Emotions/Moods
Interpretation of Emotions
- We interpret the visible expressions of emotions of other subconsciously
- If we learn how to do this, it becomes possible to consciously "read" humans and animals
- Facial expressions can be fixed for 1/2 a second to 4 seconds
- Micro expressions last less than 1/4 of a second and reveal emotions that are repressed or suppressed
- Body language backs up what we see in the face.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
- Key: EQ = emotional quotient (the level of a person's emotional intelligence) and EI = emotional intelligence (this enables you to relate to and understand others)
- You use it to make emotional connections, relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, navigate situations of social complexity, deal effectively with conflict and overcome challenges
- It's our EI that enables us to intuition to read other's feelings, facial expressions and body language.
EI is the Ability to Identify and Manage Your Own Emotions and the Emotions of Others
EI includes four skills or aptitudes:
- Self awareness
- Self management
- Relationship management.
How EI Helps You
- Physical health
- Emotional health
- Personal and work relationships
- Performance at work.
Assessing Your EQ
- How do you feel your feelings?
- How intense are they?
- Do you recognise them as they occur?
- Are you aware of feeling them physically in areas of the body?
- Do you listen to your feelings and act on them?
How to Increase Your EQ
- Pay attention to and analyse your feelings
- Notice how you express yourself, verbally and through body language
- Focus on the other person. Don't zone out or daydream
- Make eye contact. Listen. Connect
- Pay attention to the silent signals of others, as well as to what they are saying
- Acknowledge the feelings of others
- Lighten up, be creative
- Deal camly and effectively eith conflict in a non confrontional way.
EI in Dogs
- Young children and dogs experience intense emotions and express these in an uninhibited manner
Do All Dogs Have Equal EI?
- Just as humans, every dog is different
- Breeding, genetics, background, early experiences, environmental enrichment and ongoing experiences contribute significantly to a dog's EQ
Emotional States and Behaviour
- Physical, emotional and mental health
- Responses from others as precursors, or in relation to the behaviour.
- Dogs express their emotions through body language or vocalising immediatly
- Dogs expect others to understand the signals they are giving
- If they are not responded to appropriately, this can cause confusion or reactivity in some form
- Dogs are experts at reading our body language, as well as tones of voice. This feeds back to influence their emotions.
- Puppies learn appropriate social behaviours, as as bite inhibition, through interactions with their littermates
- Puppies also learn hot to deal with frustration through competition for access to the mothers milk
- It's our job to teach them self control through positive training.
- If reared in the right environment, with positive and appropriate introductions to people, other dogs and animals, puppies learn to be skilled in social awareness; to read, interpret and act on cues they perceive
- Learning and development of social awareness and skills is ongoing.
- Dogs who have learned social skills early on tend to be good at developing and managing good relationships as they mature
- Conflict resolution is then achieved through using conciliation signals.
How to Increase a Dog's EI
- Give the best start in life
- Introduce new experiences in ways that are beneficial to the dog
- Provide environmental enrichment
- Protect the dog from experiences that create fear or anxiety
- Provide appropriate socialising opportunities
- Listen to the dog! Observe body language
- Check in. Does the dog understand what is being asked of them?
- Allow them to experience minor failure and frustration in order to learn, but set them up for success
- Express positive emotions towards them
- Give immediate feedback.
Making the Most of Relationships
- EI is our primary tool for creating and maintaining harmonious relationships
- Pay attention
- Take the other's perspective
- "How is this for you?"
- Look for creative solutions to any issues that arise
- Celebrate the positives!
- Hackles going up doesn't always mean aggression, but also means arousal.
- If you're feeling stressed or tense, the dog can sense that through a lead. To help calm yourself and the dog down, stroke the leas, as that sends calming vibes to the dog.
- The International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour www.theiscp.com
- The Perfect Fit (harnesses)
- secure fields that you can have sole use of www.dogfield.co.uk