Well-being and a comprehensive view on the animal

At Pawesome we focus on viewing the dog as an individual and reviewing the dog’s living environment from an overall perspective.

We take under consideration the dog’s natural needs; both physical and mental, as well as emotional states which may affect a dog’s behaviour and general mood state.

One of our goals is to improve the communication and relationship between the dog and its family.

We aim to focus on success instead of failures!

EMRA approach

When working with problem behaviours it is crucial to view the entire individual as well as the environment the dog lives in. There are many factors that can contribute to what may seem as a ‘simple’ behavioural problem or something thought the dog just needs to be trained to do. Many behaviours may be difficult to ‘cure’ by obedience training if other factors, like stress or other emotional states like fear, are involved. Therefore, the holistic view is crucial. The EMRA approach considers reinforcements, everyday life factors, hedonic budget, emotional triggers, emotional state of mind, etc.

EMRA stands for Emotional Assessment, Mood State Assessment, and Reinforcement Assessment.

The Emotional Assessment involves observing how the animal feels at the moment the problem behaviour occurs, i.e. just before the trigger of the behaviour, during and shortly afterwards.

Mood State Assessment is measured over a longer period of time in order to get a sense of how the animal is feeling in general, i.e. general mood state.

Reinforcement Assessment involves the factors which are reinforcing or maintaining the behaviour, which may be external or internal.

Through the EMRA approach we cast aside old-fashioned concepts and categorisations such as ‘dominance aggression’ and ‘separation anxiety’. The focus lies instead on the awareness of the individuality of the dog as well as emotionality. The science behind assessing an animal’s emotionality is largely based on Jaak Panksepp’s extraordinary work and his development of the acknowledged seven primal emotional systems that all mammals, including humans, have (SEEKING, PLAY, CARE, LUST, PANIC/GRIEF, FEAR and RAGE system).

EMRA also includes an assessment of the Hedonic Budget which focuses on the natural and individual needs of the animal, e.g. explorative behaviour and social needs as well as basic needs such as sleep and diet. With a well satisfied Hedonic Budget the animal is more likely to feel content in life, and therefore a well-balanced Hedonic Budget will help improve the general mood state.

“there is no learning without emotional change”

– Falconer-Taylor, Neville, and Strong, 2014