Archive for March, 2009

Once more I had the privilege of working with a very good teacher.

His name is Victor.

He is a small but very elegant and extremely fast dog. Joan and Harry are very good friends and when they went on holiday I offered to look after Victor for a fortnight.


Although I  knew Victor from before I only noticed how shy he was when I took him home. I did NOT smother him with affection and I did NOT try to comfort him. That would only have strengthened his shyness. I simply ignored him, offering him space to adapt to the new surroundings. He did.

I encountered one problem during the first day of his stay. That problem was caused by my own pride. I assumed that no dog runs away from me. That was my mistake.

Starting our first walk away from home I let him off the lead and what did he do?

He ran off.

Only by cornering him could I catch him.

From then onwards I asked my male Labrador to help me on the walks. I attached Victor’s lead to the collar of my dog, making running away impossible for Victor. It worked.


Each morning I bring food to a flock of sheep in a nearby corral. When I open my gate the Labradors run out, start sniffing for signs of wild boar and follow me on the uphill walk. These surroundings were at first too much for Victor. It took him a week to muster enough courage to follow me all the way. I did not put pressure on him but allowed him to make up his mind. Each day he would follow me over a longer distance before running back to the safety of the house.

Each time I came back I always ignored him. I did not ask him to justify what he had done. Nor did I blame him for not following me. It worked wonders for his confidence because after one week he ran along with my Labradors.

According to his owners Victor was very choosy as far as food was concerned.

We never thought that feeding him would be a problem. We were right.

We applied my feeding ritual with Victor just like we do with our two Labradors. It took Victor only a few hours to get the message. The first morning he did what he must have done at home: he ate a few bits and walked away from his bowl. When he came back his bowl was gone. When he was presented with his bowl in the evening…he emptied it in one go.

Victor had no more eating disorders.


Before confronting him the first time with our two cats I put him on the lead. When he saw them entering the room he growled. I corrected him. He growled again. I corrected him a second time. That was it. For the rest of his stay he ignored our cats and they ignored him. It took him less time to come to that conclusion than my own male Labrador.


Reading a newspaper I saw how Victor intended to jump on the sofa. I stopped reading, growled and stared him down. He turned his head to the side, decided not to jump, turned around, walked to his bed and lied down. He never tried again to jump on the furniture.

Can you believe that if Victor ever wants to come back he will be more than welcome?

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener.

Well-educated dogs are obedient dogs.
Obedient dogs are happy dogs.
Happy dogs have happy owners.

00 34 690 19 29 76

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It was a very windy day and I took shelter in a coffee shop where dogs are allowed inside. Drinking a cappuccino I noticed a lady having trouble with a young Spaniel. When our eyes met she nodded. As I did not recognize her, I got up and walked over to her table. She explained having been a pupil in my dog training school, a long time ago. While we started reminiscing it was clear that her young dog was too 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. Reaching a quiet area we took off the leads and let our dogs run. Watching them I saw how perfectly they knew how to handle the situation. My dogs were simply ignoring the young dog. That calmed him down immediately. The owner was not able to do anything with her dog. It did not come as a surprise to me when she started complaining about her bad dog. A bit later we each went our way.

The week after I met another former pupil. She came to my walking group with a young 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. She was still applying what she had learned from me many years ago.

Is the difference clear to you too?

Some dog owners make an effort and learn how to handle their dogs.

Other dog owner will not make that effort. They prefer blaming their dogs.

Some dog owners can become pack leaders.

Other dog owners cannot become pack leaders. They prefer calling their pet a bad dog.

According to me it is all comes down to two questions.

The first question is the way we behave as a person. It is very difficult for me {your teacher} to transform an anxious person into a confident leader. Especially if you only spend a few sessions with me.

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

Your dog is only doing 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 offering.

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.

00 34 690 19 29 76

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Do you like walking with your dog{s}?

I do.
Do you like having a drink in the sun with your dogs resting at your feet?
I do.

Over the years I have been experiencing something strange that is happening to me when I am having that drink and I want to talk about it.

Wherever I have been sitting with my dogs in a Western country, there has always been someone wanting to stroke my dogs.

Have you ever experienced the same?

I repeat that it happens to me in Western countries. On the contrary when I lived in Africa there has never been a black person wanting to touch my dogs.

The scenario goes like this.
The sun is shining, I am minding my own business, enjoying a cup of coffee on a picturesque ‘plaza’ and my dogs are sleeping at my feet. Suddenly a ‘nice’ person approaches us, stops and starts cuddling my dogs. The person does not look at me, let alone speaks to me. After a while the person is fulfilled and walks on without noticing my presence.

It is then my task to make my dogs lie down and resume enjoying my cup of coffee.

I have a theory about this phenomenon and I want to share it with you.

In our Western world we have created a one hundred percent materialistic society. We have completely lost the strong link that existed between us and Nature. Having been cut off from Nature we unconsciously feel the craving of an emptiness deep inside.
The guys in the advertising industry know this.
For that reason they will brainwash us on a daily basis with things like ‘If you feel bad eat this’, or ‘You will be happy if you buy this’. It is true that if we feel bad and eat some comfort food or buy some useless stuff we will feel better for a short time. But the good feeling will disappear quickly and then we will feel the void inside all over again.

The guys in the advertising industry know this too. Therefore they will bombard us again with promises about feeling better if we eat the next lethal hamburger or buy the next useless gimmick.

This vicious circle leads directly to the destruction of ourselves as a species and our planet Mother Earth.

I think that women feel the void inside much more acutely than men do.
In any case the vast majority of the cuddlers of my dogs are women. According to me they feel the emptiness in their hearts, project their craving for a connection with Nature unto my dogs, cuddle them, find them soooo sweet, feel the fulfilment of the cuddling and then…walk on.

You no dot have to agree with me.
Of course not.
But I have two requests for you.

First, if you meet me and my dogs, please talk to me and ask if you can cuddle them. It will be my pleasure to get to know you.

Second, there is the request of la ONCE.

La ONCE is the Organización Nacional de los Ciegos de España Or National Spanish Organization for the Blind.

Here comes a short list with their requests regarding our behaviour with guide dogs for the blind. I can very easily imagine that similar organizations in other countries also want us to behave with respect when being close to guide dogs.

  1. Never offer food to a working guide dog and never call her/him.
  2. If you want to touch or talk to a guide dog first ask permission from his human companion.
  3. Do not let your dog{s} or your child{ren} come close to a working guide dog.
  4. Do not touch the lead or the harness of the working guide dog.
  5. Remember that a guide dog is the eyes of the human companion. Never obstruct a guide dog entering a building or public transport. The law gives absolute priority to the guide dog.
  6. Do not be afraid of a guide dog. They are never aggressive and do not transmit diseases.
  7. Seeing a guide dog wanting to cross the street, stop your vehicle at a distance in order to allow the working dog to do her/his job.
  8. When using public transport make way for a guide dog and her/his human companion.
  9. Guide dogs are clean dogs. They will never evacuate on pavements.
  10. If the human companion of the guide dog is selling lottery tickets, buy a ticket.

If you know of a person who is working with a guide dog please send me his or her story.

Thanks for your help.

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener.

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Well-educated dogs are obedient dogs.
Obedient dogs are happy dogs.
Happy dogs have happy owners.

00 34 690 19 29 76

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