Archive for July, 2011

In today’s world more and more people feel a growing longing to become closer to nature. As the leader of my dog walking group I can tell you that I have felt this need for decades on end. I live outside a small village amidst the Montañas Alicantinas, the mountains of the Spanish province of Alicante. It allows me to keep in touch with nature, and while walking to smell the flowers and the herbs, to bask in the beauty of sunsets, to feel the wind in my face, to feel spiritually connected to my dogs and to admire their natural elegance.

Today millions of persons express an interest in the wisdom of a people we now call NATIVE AMERICANS. When I was a boy we called them INDIANS, which was still a linguistic remnant of the mistake made by Cristobal Colon more than 500 years ago. They call themselves THE FIRST PEOPLE and they were certainly present in Northern America during thousands of years, long before white men arrived.
It is one of the most cruel ironies of our contemporary history that the more we, white men, lose touch with nature, the more we turn to wisdom hidden in the ancient traditions of THE FIRST PEOPLE looking for answers. White men are responsible for the genocide of the FIRST PEOPLE and the descendants of these white men are now turning to the descendants of the survivors, asking them for spiritual help.
In the ManKindProject we have been allowed to learn from the lessons taught by the FIRST PEOPLE. We are their humble students full of admiration, respect, love and gratitude.
All native inhabitants of the North American continent strive to improve their relationship with Mother Earth and her creatures. The spiritual goal of all Native American religions is to live in harmony with the Universe. As a result all objects and beings that surround the individual deserve our attention and respect.

While studying the significance of the four archetype energies (Lover, Warrior, King and Magician) that are present in every man, I discovered the link between the Warrior and a totem animal. That totem animal is the DOG, symbol of faith, loyalty and reliability associated with the Warrior energy.
According to Heike Owusu in her book Symbols of Native America, the dogs basic instinct is to serve his master and even though (s)he is often mistreated, (s)he always answers with love. Since the dog strives to be respected by its master, it is, of course possible to spoil it with the wrong training. Ultimately, the dog is the guardian of its master and willing to do anything for him, possibly even follow him into death. Traditionally, the dog is also the guardian of secret areas and ancient knowledge.
The dog’s heart is filled with compassion and it is willing to overlook human weakness. The dog can help bring these qualities to life in a person. The dog also teaches one to examine one’s loyalty to oneself and others. (from page 263)

Years ago I came to the conclusion that dogs are among my best teachers.
Allow me to repeat what Heike Owusu writes:

The dog can help us bring compassion and the willingness to overlook human weakness to life in a person. The dog also teaches us to examine our loyalty to ourselves and others.

If you do not believe this, that is ok for me. I accept that.

But I have a suggestion to make: from now on, when walking with our dogs let’s meditate (even if it is only for a few minutes) about which qualities they have brought to life in us.

With love from Brunothedoglistener.

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“Many dog owners believe that once they close the front door to go to work in the morning, their pet stretches out on the sofa.”
John Bradshaw, director of the Anthrozoology Institute at Bristol University, who has spent 25 years studying the behaviour of our pets, estimates that 1,5m dogs in Britain suffer from separation distress.(He obviously did not include the expat community in Spain)
“Being alone at home can be a real and ongoing crisis for dogs”, Bradshaw writes in his new book titled ” In Defense of Dogs”.
Well folks, for once it is not Bruno saying or writing it, but a professor…………so it must be true. As you can see from the title of his book he is defending dogs. Not humans.
It is my experience that so many nice (You do remember that “nice” originally meant “unknowing”, do you?) people are behaving with their dogs in such a way that their pets become traumatized.
If you are not receiving my weekly letters and you do not know how to teach your dog to stay alone at home, just send me an email. I will help you.
Bradshaw is also confirming another advice (regarding punishment) I have been giving thousands of times.
He writes: “Dogs cannot associate being punished with something they did even a few minutes before…Indeed dogs see punishment as a means of getting attention.”
So if you are still hitting your dogs with a rolled-up newspaper or with the leash, especially when you are treating them as your surrogate children, then you are only making it clear how frustrated you are. You will probably go in denial when I add that your dog will learn nothing positive from your punishment. He will trust you less and feel your weak energy, that is for sure.
I say this: dogs must never be punished.
The dog’s mother never punishes her pups. She corrects them.
Dogs must be understood correctly, just like Spaniards or any other person not speaking your mother tongue. Do not blame your dog (nor Spaniards for that matter) for not understanding you, when your communication is unclear.
If you understand your dog correctly you can educate her/him and at the same time you can learn a lot from your dog. You can learn things like honesty and clear communication, instead of complaining, blaming, criticizing, projecting, judging and condemning.
In the process of educating your dog you will become a better human being.

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My good friend Jeni from Oliva gave me a copy of a book written by James Herriot titled “Dog Stories”. I enjoyed every of the 541 pages of the book. Thanks Jeni.

More than a decade ago I started writing articles in several languages about canine education and communication.
According to me, the main obstacle for clear communication between humans and pets is the fact that most of us refuse to accept the dog as a dog. We mostly prefer to handle our dog as if it is a stupid, furry human being with four legs.

No wonder I was thrilled to find on pages 240-241 of James Herriot’s book, an example of how the world famous vet could understand the reason why a dog was attacking him. He writes about how he treated a small dog who had swallowed a sausage filled with rat poison. As there was no time to take the dog to his surgery, he grabbed a pot of mustard and diluted it with water to the consistency of milk. Then he seized the astonished dog, shot through the door and dumped him on the cobbles. He poured the liquid mustard into the side of the dog’s mouth whence it trickled down to the back of his throat.
I quote from page 240:

“After a single affronted glare at me the terrier began to retch, then to lurch across the smooth stones. Within seconds he had deposited his stolen meal in a quiet corner.”

Since then the small dog, remembering what the vet had done to him, started nipping him on the ankle as soon as his “enemy” was in the vicinity. The dog was indeed lying in wait for the human who made him vomit.
I quote from page 241:

“When I thought about it, I couldn’t blame Timmy. Looking at it from his point of view, he had been sitting by his fireside digesting an unusual meal and minding his own business when a total stranger had pounded on him, hustled him from the comfort of his rug and poured mustard into him. It was outrageous and he just wasn’t prepared to let the matter rest there. For my part there was a certain satisfaction in being the object of a vendetta waged by an animal who would have been dead without my services……So I suffered the attacks with good grace.”

Thank you James Herriot.
He was very clearly looking at what happened from the dog’s point of view.
He did not call the terrier a BAD dog. He did not blame the dog.
If the world’s best-loved vet could do this, are you willing to do it too?
Are you willing to look at your pet from the dog’s point of view?
Or will you continue to call your pet a MAD dog, or a BAD dog when he does not understand you?

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener.

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