Ah, the joys of modern technology. OK, I know that it drives us crazy when it doesn’t work, but when it does, well… it opens up whole new avenues for study and research in the arena of canine behaviour.
For many years, I have videoed dogs whenever I get the chance. At the risk of being arrested for filming dogs in many and various in public places, there is just so much that can be captured on film that we would miss without it. Just normal, everyday canine behaviour can be fascinating when watched over and over, slowed down, or paused to be able to read facial expression, tiny, subtle changes of body posture and even the changing pitch and tone of barks, growls, sniffs and snorts. It can be even more enlightening when someone else points out subtle signs that you might otherwise miss too – and for this reason I have made my webinar “Signals of Pre-Emptive Aggression” available as a recording. Just click here to watch it…
For anyone with access to a video camera, the pleasure of watching dogs from years past, the fun of remembering puppy antics – which are over all too soon, and the enjoyment of reviewing dog behaviour with a fresh eye can only be expounded. OK, I know you might be thinking that this might not be your idea of good Saturday night entertainment – fair enough, but from a purely practical point of view, catching canine behaviour on film can be hugely enlightening.
In some instances, filming your dog to establish the real patterns behind his or her behaviour is not just useful – it’s essential. One behaviour problem which fits into this category is any kind of separation issue: quite simply because if you are not there to see what your dog actually does when he or she is upset at your absence, how on earth can you tackle it? Now, I know what you’re thinking. If you’re not there, how can you film? Well this is where human ingenuity comes in. Quite clearly you need to leave the camera running somewhere where the action will be captured, but safely out of the reach of inquisitive teeth and paws – especially if your dog has a tendency to be destructive when left home alone.
Remote filming is nearly always interesting, often fascinating and sometimes downright amazing. My dogs snooze, play with toys, look out of the window waiting for me, and generally pass the time in a patient and endearing fashion. However, other dogs are not nearly so amenable when left home alone. Captured on camera I have a dog attempting to break into the fridge, another that systematically chews his way through an entire CD collection, and another that comes right up to the camera, stares at it meaningfully, and then cocks his leg on it!
Just think what you might capture.