Archive for June, 2009

This is a story about Poor dog rich dog!

Shortly after I arrived in Spain I met a man called Juan. He came to see me because he wanted to train his dog.

It turned out he did not need me at all. Soon we became friends and Juan taught me some very important lessons.

What struck me when we first met was the way he saluted me. He used to put his right hand on his heart while bowing slightly forward with a broad smile on his face. No one else in the village did that.

It took a while before I could understand him because my knowledge of the language of Cervantes was still very basic in the early days. After a few months he invited me to come along to his chabola. Not wanting to admit I did not know what a chabola was, I got in his old Skoda pick-up truck {called a bakkie in South Africa} and off we went for a long trip. After many turns over small roads the track got smaller and smaller until it almost became invisible. Close to a deep gulley Juan stopped the truck, got out and walked away. Following him I was struck by the stillness of the place. I was surrounded by rugged mountain peaks, saw huge boulders at the bottom of the gulley and a few stark bushes trying to grow in the hard and dusty soil. Juan Domingo gestured me to come closer to what was obviously his chabola. It was the back part of a lorry pushed against the rocky face of the gulley. Here my friend was living, without the use of tap water, bathroom, kitchen or electricity. However he proudly showed me a small plot where long-stemmed plants were growing. Don’ you recognize it? he asked. I didn’t. He smiled at me and said he used it for porros. It took a while before I understood it was his personal stock of marihuana.

This lovable man had come to see me because he wanted to train his dog. What could I possibly teach him? His request seemed strange because according to me he did not need me at all. The way he lived with his dog enabled him to do what no member of my dog training centre could do with her/his dog

Not one pupil could walk her/his dog off-leash although they were constantly yelling HEEL. But whenever I met Juan in the village his dog was always staying close to him although the animal never wore a leash. When Juan went for a drink in a bar, his dog would simply wait outside. When he was doing the odd job for a client, his dog would wait in the back of the old truck. Juan never had to say, let alone yell, anything at his dog. Man and dog fully understood each other without the use of words. They were a team, just like the members of a canine pack in the wild are a team.

Juan’s dog was for me the clearest example of a very happy dog.

A year later I got a phone call from a German person asking for help with a problem dog.

Arriving for my appointment I found an estate surrounded by a very long and high wall. At the massive wooden gate, I rang the intercom and announcedBruno der Hundeman.

The gate opened purring like a contented cat and I drove my small van inside.
At my right hand side was a vast and immaculate lawn surrounded by flower beds and palm trees. At the end of the drive-way I stopped in front of a huge and magnificent mansion. A maid came down the steps and said her master would soon be there.

I did not have to wait long before an impeccably dressed gentleman welcomed me with an extended hand. Over the following weeks I got to know him quite well, along with his wife and his young, gorgeous Saint Bernard dog. The huge dog was not a problem dog at all. He was simply bored stiff. Yes, theoretically he could run over an endless and immaculate lawn, but he was alone and did not want to do it. Yes, he was living in a fabulous mansion, but no other dog was ever playing with him. Yes, his owners were wealthy but were not interested in walking him. Yes, his owners were dressed in tailor made clothes but they did not even want to throw a ball for their dog.

In other words, the dog was not only bored but unhappy.

For weeks on end I visited the mansion and for each visit I brought along my own dogs. That was the best remedy for the ‘problem’ dog.  As soon as my pack jumped out of my van they did not have any problem running, sniffing, peeing and pooing. Each time I was picking up their droppings the lord of the manor would say I did not have to do it. The gardeners would clean it up, he said. They also did not have any problem ignoring what was for them a young and submissive dog who in vain tried to get their attention.

At the end of each session I was invited inside the mansion for a chat. I very much liked the delicious cups of coffee, served in a set of famous German porcelain, accompanied by heavenly home made cookies. One day my client asked me if I would like to see his hobby. Could I say NO?

He took me to the back part of his mansion. In a garage that was tidier than my study has ever been, he proudly showed me an old, classic Bentley cabriolet. I said hhmm and hhmm but did not have the courage to tell him his dog did not give a damn about the Bentley.

One rainy day I arrived at the huge wooden gate for another session, rang the intercom and…… the gate did not move. I called my client on my mobile but nobody answered. After a while I left.
Later I was told how the business empire of my clients had suddenly gone to the…dogs.

Anyway you must have grasped the point I am making. Haven’t you?
Juan did not have a mansion. He lived in a chabola and his dog was a very happy dog.
The young Saint Bernard was living in a beautiful mansion, but he was a very lonely, bored and unhappy dog.

See what I mean when I say how dogs are my teachers?

Where does your dog live? In a chabola or in a mansion?

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener

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

Stable dogs have stable owners.

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Maybe you know already that I like walking with my dogs.

Sometimes I wonder: Who doesn’t? But then I think of the millions of dogs that live their lives behind closed doors, gates and fences.

For me to walk with my dogs in the beautiful valleys of the Spanish hills is god’s gift.
Having done it for many years I discovered that the best walk is for me the walk in complete silence. What happens during a walk in complete silence is that my dogs are paying attention to me. Preferably I have them in front of me because that allows me to check where they are and what they do. But if one of them stays behind I walk on without saying anything. Of course, I can only do that when I am walking in areas where there is no traffic at all.

During the walk my dogs are paying attention to me and I am paying attention to them simply by looking at each other. They know when I stand still, go left, go right , walk on or walk back. This way of walking is a clear copy of what a pack of canines do on their walks, which are course not ‘walks’ but hunting expeditions.
Do you think the members of a pack of wolves are chattering away when they are chasing a deer? The answer is obvious.

As my dogs are my teachers, my walking experience with them gave me an idea for a Sunday morning walk with the members of the local chapter of the University of the Third Age.

Before we start I welcome the newcomers and repeat that each member of the group is responsible for her/his dog. Meaning that whenever there is the need {car, cyclists, joggers, etc…} each member of the group calls her/his dog to come close and wait for the release signal.

This time I added something.
I asked the group for help with an experiment.

My suggestion was that we would walk as a group without uttering a word during five minutes.
Off we went.
Most of the members stayed quiet but a few could not even keep their mouths shut for that short period.

After five minutes I stopped the group, jumped on a rock and commented on what we had done. According to me we never before had, as a group of human beings, been as close to our dogs as today. During these five minutes we had really been hunting like a natural pack that communicates through body language.

The most exhilarating part of my experience was that a few members had also noticed something. They had noticed that their dogs were paying more attention to them.
That was great.

For once we had not walked as a noisy, chattering group that is not paying attention to anything else but the sound of their voices.

You can call a silent walk with your dogs a spiritual experience, as it not only allows us to fully enjoy the natural environment, but also to listen to our own soul.

A noisy, chattering group on the other hand is a perfect reflection of our society.
In our society we are being bombarded with sounds and images.
If you are 65 years old today, you have on average been sitting in front of a TV-screen during 15 years.

If you are 18 years old today, you have on average been bombarded by 250.000 different TV-commercials.

Is that brain-washing, yes or no?

In addition to TV, there are the noise and the images of the movies, the computer, the computer games, the mobile phones, the car radios and the walkman earpieces.

We fill our minds with so many images and so much noise that we cannot listen to our souls anymore. No wonder there are millions of children suffering from what is called ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder.

Animals do not live like that.
They do not know what ADD is.
Neither do our dogs know what that is. They still know what it is to communicate in silence.
When one of my dogs starts sniffing in a more intense way, the others come close because they know she has picked up a special scent. When one of them sprints away fast, the others know she has seen a rabbit and follow her.

Somewhere I have read the following:

Silence is the language of the universe. Everything else is a bad translation.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Come, give it a try.
If you have a dog, next time you walk with your pet, go to a quiet area and walk with her/him without saying anything.

If you do not have a dog go for a silent walk on your own or with a friend.

Listen to your own soul, listen to her/his soul and listen to the voice of the universe.

See what happens and then send me a message about it.

Good luck with your silent walk.

Kindest regards from Bruno Goffin

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It happens quite often that members of my Sunday morning walking group bring along friends or neighbours. One Sunday I got to know a lady who walked with our group for the first time. Walking next to me she started telling me a story. It was the ‘sad’ story of  an abandoned dog. She had seen the dog in the area where she lives and asked me what she could do about that dog.

I gave her an answer she might not have expected.

Instead of commiserating with her I told her a story from the collection made by the Greek writer Aesop in the sixth century B.C.

This story is not ‘sad’ and it goes like this:

A gaunt wolf was almost dead with hunger when he happened to meet a house-dog who was passing by.

-Ah cousin, said the dog.  I knew how it would be; your irregular life will soon be the ruin of you. Why do you not work steadily as I do, and get your food given regularly to you?

-I would have no objection, said the wolf, if I could only get a place.

-I will easily arrange that for you, said the dog. Come with me to my master and you shall share my work.

So the wolf and the dog went towards the town together. On the way there, the wolf noticed that the hair on a certain part of the dog’s neck was very much worn away, so he asked him how that had come about.

-Oh it is nothing, said the dog. That is only the place where the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up; it chafes a bit, but one soon gets used to it.

-Is that all? Said the wolf. Then goodbye to you, master dog. Better to starve free than be a fat slave.

We tend to think that a dog’s life is always better when{s}he is living in a human family. This might be the case if this human family offers the same stability a dog will always find in a canine pack..

But let’s make an effort and forget just for one minute our misplaced thoughts of our so-called intellectual superiority.

Let’s forget that we are destroying mother nature. Let’s forget that we have created a society of Having while dogs live in a society of Being. Let’s now think like a dog. Suppose the human family{s}he is living with is for him/her nothing but a very unstable pack. We know that is the case with millions of human families in the Western world. In that case wouldn’t the dog be happier if {s}he could live with other {abandoned} dogs in the wild? There is no doubt in my mind that these dogs would very soon be living like stable members of a stable pack. Without any unstable, anxious, fearful and stressed human beings nearby.

Don’t you think so ?

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener

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

Stable dogs have stable owners.

00 34 690 19 29 76

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