Anders Hallgren

  • Psychologist and animal behaviorist

Föredrag och kurser

The Old Dog

The one day seminar is based on my book “Den gamla hunden” (The Old Dog”).

Most people believe that a dog will be old when it reaches ten years of age, and dogs of larger breeds even earlier. But this is not true. A dog is starting to get old much earlier than you think. Already when a dog is four or five years old there are certain changes in the body that result in what we call “old age”. It is the same for us, and it starts around the time when we are middle aged. This does not only concern the body, but also the mental, social and emotional processes.

If you just leave the dog and don’t do anything about it, it will age quicker. But the good news is that there are lots of things that we can do. By simple observations and training you can not only prolong your dog’s life and youthful behavior, but also increase its quality of life.

In this seminar you will learn how to take care of your dog physically and mentally to counteract the aging process. It will not take long before you see that your four-legged friend is much happier.

Preliminary schedule

09.00 Opening and presentation

09.30 Anders  Hallgren
A dog’s aging process starts much earlier than you think  –  about the dog’s different agens and how it changes.

10.00 Needs at different ages

11.00 Veterinarian
The older dog from a veterinarian’s point of view. On vitamins, minerals, food, common injuries and illnesses. Preventions.

12.00 Lunch

13.00 Anders Hallgren
Physical and mental activities are important, but should be adapted to age.

14.00 Massage therapist
On muscles and joints. Typical injuries, typical wear and tear. Preventing injuries and how to treat them in older dogs.

15.00 Break for coffee

15.30 Panel debate between speakers and participants

16.45 Conclusion

17.00 End of day


Evaluation of dangerous dogs

More and more countries have laws that restrict owership of certain dog breeds because they are thought to be dangerous. The police are also given increased rights to remove dogs, evaluate them and decide to have them euthanized. But who has the necessary background or knowledge to evaluate a dog’s “dangerousness”?

Are there specific tests that show if a dog is a risk to people and animals?  What does statistics say regarding the number of people seeking medical help after dog bites? Who are bitten? Does the dog owner play any part in a dog’s “dangerousness”? We are discussing those and many more questions in this evening seminar.

Dogs are not dangerous. They have strong intuitive bite inhibitions and warn several times before they feel force take to violence. A few dogs, however, have been so aggressive that they were deemed dangerous. (Compare with human beings.)

It is important to make a correct diagnosis. A dog is not dangerous to people or other dogs because the owner is failing in his/her leadership – which is the most common diagnosis or explanation today. Neither is the dog dangerous as a result of being “mentally bad” – a diagnosis of the day a few years ago. Mental tests do not say anything about about one specific dog and is therefore nothing you can use on angry dogs. We go through the reasons very carefully.

The reason for a a dog being aggressiv is above all pain, disease, hormonal disfunctions, life in a socially bad environment as well as bad experiences.  All of this is possible to research – and that is exactly what modern dog psychologists do!

In this evening seminar we go through how to evaluate the degree of a dog’s aggressiveness and how different views will lead to a different diagnosis of the same dog – from a hopefull case to a hopeless.

Furthermore, we discuss concepts such as dominans, common causes of aggression and that aggression is not just one thing, but can be divided into many.


Problematic behavior in dogs

The seminar focuses on:

  • Behavior problems: History and statistics
  • Aggression and fear
  • Problems behaviors are symptoms
  • 20 factors that lower the threshold for aggression
  • Difference between functional and descriptive classification of behaviors
  • Causes behind problem behaviors
  • How to analyze causes behind problem behaviors
  • The journal – how to file the data
  • Training methods and actual treatment of dogs

There is not so much symptom training as seen with animal behaviorists from other schools or with other backgrounds. Because once you have set right the causes, normally dogs quit being problematic by themselves. For instance, let us say that the stress analysis shows an under-stimulation ratio of 22/24, which means that the dog is resting 22 hours out of 24. By simply giving the dog a program of activation, both physical and mental, the problem symptoms may have disappeared totally in less than a week.

Ethics are important

Both the ethics and the methodology approach to animals and animal behavior are important. Here is a non-violent approach with a well-defined ideology, which states that:

  • Training should be built upon knowledge, soft methods and without force
  • Dogs and dog owners shall be met with respect, care and solicitude
  • There are never arguments enough to motivate authoritarian training
  • Training shall never compel an individual to perform above its ability

To be able to participate in this seminar, I recommend some background knowledge, as for instance knowledge of learning psychology, modern training methods and ethology, especially wolf and dog social behavior.

Causes – not symptoms

Considering problematic behavior in animals, the methodology is one of analyzing and setting right the causes. Therefore analyses are the main instruments of work. The analyses mostly work by the way of psychological parameters, for instance special designed questions or questionnaires. These are:

  • Stress analysis
  • Masculinity analysis (for intact males)
  • Thyroid dysfunction analysis
  • Pain/Medical dysfunction analysis
  • Noradrenalin – serotonin analysis
  • Ethological analysis. This is created and held by the Swedish ethologist Kerstin Malm
  • Nourishment analysis. This is not completed as yet
  • Owner-dog relationship analysis

Follow up and statistics

Preferably, each case would be followed up and extensive statistics collected centrally. The purpose of this is not only to see the results, but also to get to know the probability of different causing agents behind problem behavior. This forms a guideline to improve the existing methods of analyses and also inspire to elaborate new ones.

The modern instructor

This seminar is open for all, but first of all intended for instructors.

The seminar focuses on how training affects the dog and how we may end up with an obedient dog, but also with a lot of unwanted side effects.

We look closely at the flip side of the coin. Whatever goal we have with normal obedience traning there are negative side effects. It is important that we know how these will influence the dogs. Because they may be the cause of future problem behaviors.

The instructor’s goal
Of course you want to teach the dog owners as much as possible about their dogs, while at the same time create an obedience that works in every day life. The goal is that the training will adapt the dog to its every day life with the family and in society .

The dog owner’s goal
The dog owner’s goal is “a calm dog” that refrains from doing certain things, such as barking, pull on the leash, jump on people, attack other dogs. And it should do certain things on command.

Effects of restraint and punishment
Lively and energetic dogs are exposed to a lot of “corrections”.  It’s a battle of the wills, which the owner wins – often with the help of a trainer.  Using punishment the dog is being pacified. Reserach shows that punishments can be associated with behavioral problems.

Control is the magic star
We have a great need for control and one instrument in achieving this is via courses in dog training. Courses based on positiv training are focused on reward and praise and to increase the control of the dog in a nice and friendly way. But control is still the goal!

Training that may counteract the effects of training
Many things can be done to avoid negative effects of different courses, especially in obedience. We will discuss these issues at lenghth.

Copyright © Anders Hallgren 2020