Archive for February, 2009

Jeni participated with her dog in my Sunday morning walks untill the vet discovered the dog has an enlarged haert. She asked me for advice. Would she still walk him with our group or not.

I start my answer by quoting a sentence from her message.

As you can imagine, I am completely devastated because of course I am expecting the worst and that my best pal won’t be with me for as long as I had hoped.

The way I see it, we are speaking about imagination here.
I can imagine that Jeni, in her imagination, expects the worst. Yes, I can.
Many times I have done the same in the past.
But I have learned to deal with my dogs in a different way.
Dogs do not think like that. Dogs do not think like worrying human beings.
Dogs live in the NOW. If the NOW and the HERE is ok, they are happy. They do not worry about the future and they do not speak about the good old times. For them there is no better time than the present time. In my opinion that is true for us too. If you want to know more about that, read Eckhart Tolle The Power of Now and his second book A New Earth.
Worrying is a denial of the Great Spirit, do the Native Americans say. I think they are right.
Accepting what is and enjoying the present moment is the only possibility as the rest is only…imagination.

Let’s do something different.
I can also imagine that, in your imagination, you do NOT expect the worst but that you expect the BEST.
Having done lots of things in my life I have also an enlarged heart. So how do I handle that? First I only want organic food, no wheat, no sugars, no milk.
Secondly what I did with my body in the past is different from what I do today: I am slower, and I like being slower, but I am more connected to the Universe. I live more in the Land of Being than in the Land of Having.
As I learn to accept what is I have less fear and I worry less. It feels great.
Over the years I did lose more than one dog. Therefore I got to know the pain and the suffering. Today I think of the pain as a good friend. It still hurts, but I think the dog is only leaving behind her/his body and lives on in my memory.
Of course I do know that all dogs are mortal, just like we are. I accept that.
Now I want to ask you:
What is wrong with expecting the BEST for your dog?
Will you feel worse? Will the dog feel worse?
My answer is: NO, absolutely NOT.
On the contrary, if you expect the best, you are sending good energy to your dog and that will help the dog tremendously. He or she will pick up the good vibes, and good vibes will certainly influence his {and your} health in a positive way.

I really do not understand what the vet meant when he said that you should be careful with exercising your dog. What is careful? If he was specific he could have said something like: walk him not more than 45 minutes per day, or, twice 30 minutes per day, or…
Otherwise the word careful leaves it to us to make our own interpretation of what the vet said.
Let me make this comparison: If I as a marathon runner have to be careful, then maybe I will only run 30 km per week.
If on the other hand I am a coach potatoe, being careful would mean that I walk maybe 1 km per day.
I am always careful with whatever I do with my dogs, meaning that I always take care of them mainly by respecting them as dogs and not treating them as toys or spoiling them as if they were surrogate babies.
When one of my dogs got Leishmania I retired him from agility. That was taking care of him. But today, as he has been on the new medication Miltefosina, I do have the impression he is cured. Nevertheless if I walk him for 3 hours he will start limping. Therefore I will never walk him more than 2,5 hours. He has shown me himself a couple of times times what he can do and what he cannot do. I respect that and I limit my walks with him to what he can do without being in pain.
If my older dog does not want to come on a walk, I respect that. If she is eager to go she will show it to me.
That is being careful with my dogs.
Learning how to read my dogs helps me a lot in understanding them. Who knows my dogs best? The vet or me? I dare to say that I know them best.

So, if it would be my dog, would I keep him away from the walks?
No, I would not do that. My dogs are enjoying the walks. I would maybe walk for 30 minutes, turn back, install myself on a terrace of a bar and wait until the other walkers are back. The dog would still enjoy to walk in a pack and me I would still enjoy the company of my friends.

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener

Well-educated dogs are obedient dogs.
Obedient dogs are happy dogs.
Happy dogs have happy owners.
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It was a very windy day and I took shelter in a coffee shop whose owner allows dogs inside with their owners. Drinking a cappuccino I saw a lady with a young Spaniel and when our eyes met she nodded. As I did not recognize her, I got up, told my dogs to stay put and walked over. The lady explained she had been a pupil in my dog training school. While we started reminiscing it was clear that her young dog was a bit boisterous for the circumstances. Other customers were turning their heads and starting to make comments. For that reason I suggested to go for a walk. In a quiet area we took off the leads and let our dogs run. The lady talked about the problems she was having with her young dog. Meanwhile I saw how my dogs were ignoring the young one who was trying to get their attention. They knew how to handle the situation. The owner had more trouble doing the same. A bit later we each went our way.

A week later I welcomed another former pupil in my walking group. She brought the small dog along I knew from before but also a magnificent Berner Sennen Hund. During the walk I noticed how this lady had no trouble handling her big Swiss cattle dog. He came when she called him, he put his bum on the soil when she asked him to sit and she even showed us a stay exercise. This lady was obviously still applying what she had learned many years ago, while the other had….

Is the difference clear to you too?

Some dog owners want to learn how to handle their dogs and some will blame their dogs.
Some dog owners can become pack leaders and some will talk about their bad dog.
According to me it has to do with two things.
The first thing is the way we are as a person. If you are an anxious person it is very difficult for me to transform you after a few lessons into a confident leader. Speaking from personal experience I do know how long it takes me to learn new things especially if I have to change my own behaviour.

The second thing has to do with consistency. If I teach you how to behave like a pack leader, you have to be consistent for the rest of your life as a dog owner. You cannot stick to the rules for a while and then give up. Your dog will notice the change and do what his instinct tells her/him to do: If there is no clear human leadership in the pack, the dog will take charge.

Your dog is doing nothing else but what nature prescribes. This does not mean that your dog is a bad dog. I would even say that your dog is a very good dog because {s}he provides the leadership you are not displaying.

Do you recognize yourself in one of both examples.

Tell me your story. I am really interested.

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener.

Well-educated dogs are obedient dogs.
Obedient dogs are happy dogs.

Happy dogs have happy owners.

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