During a dog walking class in Jalón one of my pupils told me her dog is eating from a container.Ever used one yourself?

It is a big box you can fill with dried food. At the bottom is an opening and while your dog is eating, more food will flow automatically into the bowl.

Another question: “When do you think someone calls me for advice?”

Certainly not when the caller ‘s dog became European champion in obedience trials.

Most people call me saying something like “My dog needs some training”.

According to me there is a lot of truth in the Spanish saying “El perro es el reflejo del dueño/a”, meaning that “the dog is the reflection of the owner”.

What is being reflected by the dog?

The dog will reflect the energy and the behaviour of the humans (s)he is living with.

It is my conviction that dogs do not need training in the first place. Before you can train a dog, you need to understand correctly what the dog is telling you with her/his body language and behaviour. Then you can learn to communicate with your dog by means of your body language, your behaviour and your energy. Forget about the words. The less you say, the better.

As soon as you have a system in place enabling you to correctly communicate with your dog, then you can start educating your pet. The target of our education is that the dog pays attention to us when we ask for it.

One of the best tools during this educational process is my feeding ritual. Feeding your dog the way I describe it allows you to behave like the leader of the pack.

But how can you use my feeding ritual if you do not feed your dog yourself?
How will you get the dog’s attention if not you but a container is educating the dog?

In order to understand what I mean, let’s think dog.

A dog is a (descendant of a) canine predator. If there is food available for the pack it is the result of a chase and a kill of the prey. After the kill the pack will eat according to rules that reflect the pecking order. If your dog eats from a container, without you being present, it is my conviction that (s)he will experience this as a confirmation of her/his high position in the pack.

Taking the position of the leader will be more difficult for you if you use a food container than if you would feed your dog yourself.

No wonder I many times see food containers being used by people whose dogs are not paying attention to them. If you want to know more about educating your dog, why not come to a Dog Walking Class in Jalón/Alicante?

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener

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Dog walking CLASSES

Since 1995 I have been teaching dog lovers on the Costa Blanca how to behave correctly with their pets.
Classes sometimes took place in my own training grounds but also in a bull ring, on a football field, in the garden of friends or on a cricket field.
During all those years I had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of dogs and showing their carers how to behave as pack leaders.
On Sunday 13.05.2012 I start with a new combination of dog walking and dog training CLASSES. Price per CLASS/walk will only be the modest sum of 5 €. You will be able to learn how to clearly communicate with your pet and at the same time discover how to walk with a pack of dogs.
I am looking forward to meet dog lovers who are hungry to learn more about their dogs than they ever thought was possible. While learning how to observe your dog, you will discover what this beautiful animal is really telling you with her/his body language.
Starting on 13.05.2012 we will meet every Sunday morning at 10.00 on the parking lot behind the library/social centre in Xaló/Jalón. The library is the smaller building adjacent to the much bigger complex of the sports centre, located at the entrance of the village arriving from Lliber. As both are located alongside the river Xaló/Jalón we can easily combine exercising with walking in a traffic free area.

See you there.

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener.
Listen. Learn. Lead
690 19 29 76

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Dog Running Zone
Having finished my class at DARG I drove to the beach in Hout Bay. I had never walked there before and wanted to put my feet in the cold water of the ocean, before heading for Dario’s coffee shop. Although it was a Saturday morning, the beach was almost empty. Enjoying the cool water around my ankles, the warmth of the sun, the light breeze and the view of the mountains all around me, I arrived at a spot where I saw a sign on my left hand side. I’m always interested in the information written on these signs. Coming closer I saw the text: “Dog Running Zone”.
Shaking my head I thought about how completely different this official was from the sitution in Spain. Over there sharks called “developers” have poured concrete over every Spanish beach and a bit later laws were proclaimed, prohibiting everyone to walk with dogs on the sandy leftovers. Over here I have never seen a beach full of high rise buildings, tourist trap restaurants, bars and shops selling Chinese junk. A beach is still a beach with water, sand, dunes and plants. And now I had discovered the Hout Bay beach with a “Dog Running Zone”. In Muizenberg, on the other side of the mountains, there is another sign on the beach inviting people walking with dogs to do it before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. What a difference with Spain!
Teaching in DARG has offered me the opportunity to clearly see the difference not between beaches but between two totally different kinds of dog loving people. In the many green belts where the wealthy Capetonians walk with their dogs I meet many confident, fast walking, friendly, assertive people with up to 8 (eight) dogs off leash. They do not wait for their dogs. They seldom call them. They walk and the clear message for the dogs is: “Hey, pay attention to me”. The dogs understand that clear message and follow the leaders. In these surroundings of the green belts I have never witnessed a fight between dogs. For that reason I started calling the “Alphen Trail” the “Alpha Trail” as all the walkers I meet there walk like Alpha leaders of their pack. They certainly do not need someone like me to teach them how to walk their dogs.
The other category of dog lovers are the many female volunteers who walk the dogs on the DARG estate. I see how the dogs of the charity pull them along all over the grounds. When the dogs stop, they stop and wait too. When the dogs jump up, they praise them by stroking them and speaking to them with baby talk. In these volunteers I see no signs of confidence, no calm assertive energy. In their faces, voices and in their body language I clearly see how they want to give love. Why? Because they themselves need love.
During the meetings with DARG’s president, she had asked me if I would admit her volunteers for free in my classes.
I agreed.
But both the president and I had made an assumption.
The assumption was that the volunteers would be interested in learning how to walk a dog properly. You know what happened when I started teaching? Only a few of the volunteers attended my classes once or twice and then disappeared. Walking over the DARG estate I had distributed business cards, inviting the female volunteers who did not attend my classes to send me an e-mail message, enabling me to send them my free weekly letters. I thought it was the least I could do to help them. Not one of them sent me an e-mail. The message was clear for me: They do not want to learn how to walk a dog. They only want to love the dogs. I suppose that loving the dogs the way they do it has a therapeutic effect on them, which of course is very good. Making the assumption that they also wanted to learn something more about how to behave themselves with dogs in my classes was my mistake.
Love and blessings from Bruno

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Dear friends,

It is my pleasure to announce to you that on Saturday 04.02.2012 I will start teaching a course of canine communication on the premises of DARG in Hout Bay (Cape Town).
Be quick to register because based upon experience it is best to have not more than 15 participants in one group. I repeat once more that it will not be an obedience course for dogs. What we will do is learn to behave in such a way with our dogs that they will understand us.
It is not about WHAT we say but HOW we say it. It is not about WHAT we do but HOW we do it. My assumption is that our dogs know everything about how to be a good dog and that “bad” dogs do not exist.
I will teach you how to observe your dog and how to “listen” to what she/he is saying by means of body language. The second step is learning how to clearly understand the messages your dog is sending you. Last but not least you will learn how to behave like the leader your dog would have in a canine pack.
Learning all that is not easy but it is very rewarding, as in the end, you will not only see the difference in your dog, but also in every other aspect of your life.
At least if you have the will to learn, if you refuse to go into denial, if you are persistent, patient and consistent.

Good luck and kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener.

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DARG – Main Road – Hout Bay – Cape Town – 28.01.2012 – 9.30 for 10.00
The charity called “DARG” (www.facebook.com/DARG.org.za) located on Main Road in beautiful Hout Bay (Cape Town), has invited me for a talk about

“How to live in harmony with my dog”.

Having worked for decades with droves of dog lovers I came to the conclusion that the training of dogs becomes only possible when we do something else first. First and foremost we have to understand our dogs.
In order to understand our dogs we have to learn their language.
How do dogs speak? Do they speak English, or Zulu, or French, or Xhosa, or Spanish? No, they do not speak a verbal human language. But they speak something we can easily learn to understand and that something is “body language”. It is a language we speak ourselves every day without consciously noticing it. Linguists tell us that whenever we use words, we lie most of the time. To lie with words is easy. But have you ever tried to lie with your body? That is much, much more difficult. Or let’s look at it differently: With our body we speak the truth, most of the time. Now that is very interesting. It means that if we learn to read the body language of our dogs correctly it becomes very, very easy to understand them. It becomes easy because dogs always speak the truth.
As soon as we understand our dogs, we can communicate clearly with them without having to deal with misunderstandings like pulling, obsessive barking, chewing furniture… you name it.
When we can clearly communicate with our dogs, we can educate them in such a way that they accept and respect us as their pack leaders. If they accept and respect us as their leaders, we are sure they are paying attention to us when we want it. That is what we need. Ever tried to educate a dog (or a human) who ignores you?
As soon as our position of leader in the pack is clear, then and only then can we start training our dog in agility, fly-ball, nose work, man work, carting etc…
If you want to know how we do that in Hout Bay (Cape Town), I kindly invite you to come along to DARG on Main Road, at 9.30 for 10.00 on Saturday 28th of January 2012. Please call in order to reserve your seats on 021.7913903 or 021.790 2050 because we have a limited amount of chairs.
See you there.
Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener.

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As nature intended. Cape Town 15.01.2012

This morning we had breakfast at Tashas in Constantia Village on the Cape Peninsula. For a change I ordered toast with goat’s cheese, avocado and tomato. While eating we were talking about the possible link between our blood type and the ancient history of humankind. We know that the theory of Peter D’Adamo is not based upon what is called “scientific evidence”, but here I go with a very simplified summary.
When our oldest ancestors were still hunters and gatherers their blood group was O. But as soon as humans became nomads following their cattle on its never ending travels to new feeding grounds, the blood group A came into existence. When our ancestors, in what we now call “the Middle East”, started with a new thing called “agriculture” the blood group B was born. I do not know if author Peter D’Adamo is right with his theory but I certainly do believe that I am what I eat. Here are a few examples. If I eat bread with cheese before going to bed I definitely have a bad night. When I eat a mix of bananas with prunes and apricots during my early morning walk, I have a feeling of walking with a brick in my stomach for the major part of the day. Visiting a restaurant and having a late dinner with friends means that hereafter I will not sleep well. Let alone what drinking a few cups of coffee (or glasses of wine) would do to my system.
I also believe that, having reached 68 years of age, I can still do long walks and practice martial arts because I love locally grown organic food and have never smoked. It is my opinion that driving a very expensive car is utterly ridiculous but every day I want to have a Rolls Royce in my belly. I want the same for my dogs. I can feed them the cheap S.H.I.T. pellets manufactured by people who hate dogs and love money. Or I can feed them natural, organic food. For a few months I have prepared their fresh raw food myself. I went to the local butcher, mixed the meat with vegetables and rice and served it. But then I found a much more convenient solution, “as nature intended”.
I got to know Cheryl and Chris Davidson from Muizenberg on the Cape Peninsula. Not so long ago they started feeding their dogs and cat a natural raw food and immediately saw the difference in their pets. Talking to friends about the visible changes that occurred with their animals they soon discovered there was a market for this kind of pet food. That was the beginning of a new family owned small business “As nature intended”. To cut a short story even shorter: I do not prepare the meals for our Muensterlaender Lupa anymore. Instead I love driving down the short distance between Wynberg and Muizenberg, have a look at the ocean, feel the wind in my face, buy the pet food from Chris, have a chat with him about their growing business and then I head home after a cup of coffee in Kneads bakery. To give you an idea of the price: One meal costs us 14 Rand, which is about 1,4 Euros. Of course that does not include the price of the cup of coffee in Kneads. But don’t worry if you do not live close to Muizenberg. Chris told me he just bought a new van for deliveries throughout southern Western Cape. And who knows? This might be an idea for a new company on the Costa Blanca! More info on http://giveadogabone.co.za/
Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener

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A fine lady walking with us on Sunday mornings asks my advice regarding the coming visit of her first grandchild.

Hi Bruno,

One thing I would like to pick your brains one if you do not mind is this: We are retired and therefore spend all our days with Jack who is the best companion we could wish for. Although not the best behaved dog in the world we can visit friends and he is always welcome and he is content to sit quietly under tables when we have long leisurely meals – so basically he suits us fine. However I am very concious that he is the centre of our attention and as such I have to accept spoilt. We are expecting our first grandchild in December and I want to do everything I can to prepare him for the influx of a tiny visitor that is bound to take attention from him. We did this successfully 30 odd years ago when we had our first baby with a 5 year old Samoyed who accepted and soon became devoted to the baby. But our grandchild is only going to visit us and I think this might be more difficult for Jack to accept. I am as confident as you can be that he would never intentionally hurt a baby but he is a 35kilos bulldozer. I had thought of buying a doll and nursing it and playing with it on the floor to get him used to the idea of not walking all over it!! The floor has always been “his territory” – that is where we play with him and have lots of cuddles etc. You will be pleased to hear he does not climb on the settee or bed, but we do role around the floor with him and it is a nightly game before bedtime.

Sorry for the garbled message – I hope you understand it. I don’t want to wait until the little one visits us, and then decide we have a problem. Any thoughts on the doll idea?

Thanks and hope to see you soon

This is my advice regarding the visit of a grandchild and how to prepare your dog for it.

1. According to me spoiling a dog is cruel. His parents never do it. No animal is ever spoiling her/his children.
Spoiling a dog is in most cases caused by our feeling of lack. The solution is to work at your personal development, to start listening to your true self, to stop sailing down the river called Denial, in order to reach an ever higher level of awareness. Your dog is showing you the way. He does not need your love. You are needing his love, or so you think. It will be my pleasure to help you find the right behaviour.

2. Find some neighbours, family or friends who have (small) children and introduce them to your dog. If your dog is showing any signs of aggression with them you need professional help.

3. If your dog is sleeping in your bedroom, place his bed outside that room and if need be put him on a lead and restrict him to another area.

4. You are absolutely right with your excellent idea about the doll. Walk around with the doll and speak to it as if it is your grandchild. When changing the nappy of the doll, always put the dog in sitSTAY or downSTAY. Let him sniff and watch the doll and praise him for being good.

5. Now this is important: USE DIFFERENT WORDS AND A DIFFERENT TONE OF VOICE, for the dog and the baby.

6. Dogs must not be allowed on furniture. Certainly not on furniture near the grandchild. Now is the time to change your behaviour if your dog was allowed on furniture.

7. Move the dog’s bed around from one place to another and from one room to another, in order to teach him to STAY wherever you want him to stay.

8. Teach your dog to be alone. For instance leave him in a room, close the door and go back after 10 seconds, then after a few minutes etc… until he can stay alone for half an hour.

9. Stop all wrestling games, tug-of-war games and all games involving chasing with your dog. The floor is your territory. Not his. You will allow your grandchild to walk on the floor. Not your dog. If that is not clear for him he might challenge the child.

10. If you have not done it yet, start practicing the Bruno Dog Feeding Ritual. A grandchild will have to be fed several times a day. In order to avoid what we call “jealousy” from your dog, feed him also not twice a day but each time your grandchild will be fed. Feed him after the grandchild has been fed.

11. If you have several dog toys scattered all over your home, then that is big trouble. One of my basic rules is to NEVER leave any toys on the floor for the dog. These objects are not toys for the dog but PREYS and he considers the toys/preys to be his property. Everyone having an unstable dog has bought lots of toys for the spoiled dog. Many people do this because of the feeling of guilt, especially when they do not spend quality time with their dog or when they have not taught him to stay alone for a while.
Take not only all dog toys away, but also everything else a dog can consider as his prey like shoes, slippers, socks, etc…
Use only one toy when playing with your dog and hide the toy after the playful session. If the dog picks up anything from the floor, take it away from him and shout at the THING. NOT at the dog.

12. Start pulling the ears and the tail of the dog and praise him for letting you do it. Invite other adults and children to do this too under your supervision.

13. If possible ask for some bedsheets or unwashed clothes from the grandchild to be send to you. Let the dog smell them and praise him for it. Leave the sheets and clothes in the area where the grandchild will be.

14. When the grandchild arrives, put your dog on a leash and let him smell the child while keeping the leash in your hands. Leave the trailing leash on the dog for several days in order to enable you to correct the dog quickly when the need arrives.

15. Dogs like the smell of used nappies. Keep them away from the dog. Otherwise you will be in for a surprise.

Always willing to help.



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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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