Archive for December, 2010

Many people cause huge problems for themselves and their dogs, because they have not learned how to communicate properly with their pets. This leads to tremendous misunderstandings, frustrated dog owners and unstable dogs.

What would these people, think about a Flemish guy (I am a Flemish guy too) called Bart Weetjens who is not training dogs but rats?

Look at what I found about him.

He is in charge of a project in Tanzania where rats are being trained to sniff out landmines so de-miners can more quickly and efficiently clear explosives from the ground. It takes two de-miners a day to clear a 700 square m minefield, but if they work with two rats they can sweep it in two hours.

Every hour a person is maimed or killed by a landmine somewhere in the world. There are more landmines in Africa than anywhere else. Finding and removing them is expensive and extremely dangerous.

Traditionally, dogs have done the job of sniffing out landmines. But rats are lightweight and less apt to set off a mine. They have an acute sense of smell, are not as susceptible to tropical disease as canines, are easily motivated by food, and they work well alongside humans once trained.

Rats are also much less costly to maintain than dogs.

The landmine-sniffing rats are trained Pavlovian-style. When a rat stops to sniff the odor of an explosive, the trainer alerts with a loud click (using a clicker similar to those employed by some dog trainers) and gives the rat a food reward.

Field training involves planting mines with detonators removed for the rats to detect. The rodents wear little vests attached to a cable that runs between two trainers.

The rats move in a straight line along the cable, and when they locate a position over buried explosive material, they signal by scratching the ground.

After nine months to a year of training, the rats find the explosives with amazing speed.

Rats are also being used to detect tuberculosis (TB) in lab samples. TB is a leading cause of death in Africa. A lab tech can only test around 20 samples a day, but a single rat can test up to 2,000 samples in the same day.

The uses for rats in detecting smells are limitless. The founder of the Tanzanian ‘Hero Rat’ project, Bart Weetjens, thinks the next frontier would be to use trained rats to sniff out narcotics or to search for survivors of disasters such as earthquakes or collapsed buildings.

How do you look at rats?
Still think they are disgusting and that the only thing you can do with them is kill them?


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This coming Sunday 02.01.2011 we will walk for the first time in a new year.
We will start for the TUNNEL WALK in Orba at 10.00 from the well-known parking spot close to the river bed. If you do not know where that is, that is ok too. I will wait for you till 9.35 at the oficina de turismo in Jalón and will drive past the Castel Vi in Alcalali at 9.40.

I have been told that the floor of the tunnel is dry.
Do not forget your torch.

Queridas/os amigas/os

El domingo que viene haremos nuestra primera caminata del año nuevo en Orba, donde saldremos a las 10.00 del sitio en el cauce del rio, cerca de la carretera hacia Fleix y Campell. Lo que haremos es la caminata del TUNNEL. Estaria util de traer una linterna.
Me han dicho que el tunnel está seco.

Un abrazo de Bruno

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I am reading a fascinating book titled “Life after Death” by Deepak Chopra and I am flabbergasted by what I found on page 215. I quote:

“Many pet owners will attest to the ability of a dog or cat to know what the owner is thinking. A few minutes before going on a walk, a dog gets excited and restless; on a day when a cat is going to be taken to the vet, it disappears and is nowhere to be found. These casual observations led the ingenious British researcher Rupert Sheldrake, a trained biologist now turned speculative thinker, to conduct controlled studies to fuind out if dogs and cats actually read their owners minds. One study was very simple: Sheldrake phoned sixty five veterinarians in the London area and asked them if it was common for cat owners to cancel appointments because their cats had disappeared that day. Sixty four vets reported that it was very common, and the sixty fifth had given up making appointments because too many could not be located when they were supposed to come in.
Sheldrake decided to perform an experiment using dogs. The fact that a dog gets excited when the time comes to go for a walk, means little if the walk is routinely scheduled for the same time every day, or if the dog gets visual cues from its owner that he is preparing to go out. Therefore, Sheldrake placed dogs in outbuildings completely isolated from their owners; he then asked the owner, at randomly selected times, to think about walking their dogs five minutes before going to get them. In the meantime, the dog was being videotaped in its isolated location. Sheldrake found that when their owners started thinking about taking them for a walk, more than half the dogs ran to the door wagging their tails, circling restlessly and keeping up this behaviour until their owners appeared. No dog showed anticipatory behavior, however, when their owners were not thinking about taking them for a walk.” (See Rupert Sheldrake: “The Presence of the Past: Morphic resonance and the habits of nature”, Park Street Press, 1995.)

According to Deepak Chopra, this suggests that the bond between a pet and its owner creates a subtle connection at the level of thoughts. Polls show that about 60 percent of Americans believe they have had a telepathic experience, so this result is not completely startling.

Having read this about animal telepathy, it is difficult to accept that many dog owners still believe that the problems they have caused for their dogs can be solved by “training the dog”.

I am very curious to know if you have experienced subtle connections with your dog at the level of thought.
Come on, drop me a line.

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Walking with the dogs

Have you been walking your dog today? Or was the dog walking you?
I do not walk my dogs.
What I prefer is to walk with my dogs.
If someone says that (s)he is walking the dog I sometimes have the impression the sentence reflects a state of mind whereby a superior human being is walking an inferior living being. It is as if the human thinks or feels superior to the dog. According to me this state of mind is only possible when the person is not fully connected to the dog.
By “not fully connected” I mean not fully understanding, not fully feeling and not fully respecting the dog.
Behaving like a real pack leader makes me feel fully connected to my dogs. I can talk to them by using my presence, my calm assertive energy and my body language. Then my dogs feel the stability of my presence, understand my language, pay attention to me and respect me.
You will understand that I am talking about mutual respect here.
This mutual respect brings about a feeling of real connection between me and my dogs.
We understand each other because we speak the same language, without me having to utter one word.
A few times I have taken the initiative to ask the members of my Sunday-morning-walking-group, to walk for 10 minutes without saying anything. It was a very interesting experience. First of all because some people cannot stop talking, not even for 10 minutes. Secondly because others who kept quiet, noticed how their dogs were paying more attention to them.
The best walk with my dogs is a completely silent walk.
I know that I am not the only one to have that feeling.
My very good friend Ellen writes to me about her solitary mountain walks whereby she feels a deep connection with her dog Luna.
Cesar Millan is not afraid to consider walking with his dogs as a spiritual experience.
I agree.
Do you have similar experiences while walking your dog(s)?
Do you feel that deep connection between you and your dog(s)?
Why not drop me a line about your experience?

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