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Los Angeles Base

The Art of Listening…

Posted by Jennifer McCarthy on February 5, 2010 in Los Angeles Base, Speak! Archive, Training & Behavior Tips, Travel

In my experience, it is the dog owner that fails to take the time to listen to their pet that has the most problems.
You must remember that it doesn’t matter if you have a fearful dog or an overly aggressive one. If you cannot listen, you will not make progress.
This is an element to good horsemanship. No one goes out and throws a saddle on a green horse and expects to ride. You work everyday to desensitize and pay close attention to the signals your horse gives you before moving on to the next step. Should one thing become difficult, you honor that by working on it until the horse releases the fear and moves towards trust. Trust is earned with animals- never given.
It is an honor to consider yourself an “owner” of a pet but you must always show respect. Learning about body language is key as it is the second form of communication every dog uses. Don’t just learn about dog body language but also how your body language can mean different things to your dog.
An experienced animal trainer is an artist, a creator, a problem solver and an athlete.
You must work WITH the animal and never against her as you can re-direct unwanted natural instincts into a healthier direction. Pay close attention to their personality as no two dogs are a like, they are all unique like human beings. It would be close minded of us to not recognize that animals are individuals and have different personalities as I have never met two dogs that are exactly the same.
It may take longer to pay attention to the details but in the end, those details are going to give you a better dog.
Never expect that just because you aren’t afraid of something that your best friend shouldn’t be either. Acknowledge that fear and take steps to work with him in eliminating it. Don’t rush anything- If you have time on your side, there are limitless possibilities to what can be accomplished.
There is a Native American horseman who believes you should spend a day with your horse. Showing love and affection by giving treats, toys and allowing your dog on your bed is not really what a dog wants. If you go and pick up your pet’s leash, she’ll show you what she really wants- your time. This is listening.
If you spend a day with your dog away from your house on an adventure, you’re bond will be stronger than you have ever imagined. It is that bond from hundreds of years ago that we all know with dogs, formally with wolves- the bond of travel- on the hunt and on the move.
I am lucky to have Elvis and Lola by my side always and as much as Lola loves to eat, if I open the back of the car, there is nothing that will stop her from getting there. I believe that when you give your time, you give it 100%. I will turn off my cell. phone on a walk with my dogs through the city. If I am playing ball with them, I schedule time that no one can interrupt me. I show my respect by giving them 100% at least an hour everyday and you know what? When they have to go into a hotel lobby crowded with people, they give me 100% back by being well behaved. This is a true bond we share that is equal.

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