Archive for the ‘Dog Training’ Category

The Flexi-Leash Fiasco

Posted on: January 29th, 2013 by Asia
Flexi Leash

Many people are huge advocates of the cumbersome flexi, retractable, extendable, or cord leash concept and have happily laid out anywhere from $15. to $50. or more, depending on the size they required, to purchase one of these dog walking devices for their favourite canine counterpart, and why not, after all, they seem to be just the thing for a great walk, or are they?

What the flexi-leash offers is (on average) a free range of 16 to 26 feet for the fur friend so that they can get plenty of exercise sniffing about and exploring while remaining safely attached to their human. Isn’t this great – or is it?

Unfortunately, while many people have been lulled into believing that they are doing a great service to their dog by purchasing one of these leads, exactly the opposite is actually true.

How can this be, you ask because this leash comes highly recommended at so many pet stores and all my friends use one.

While it’s certainly true that the flexi-leash can be purchased at just about every pet store outlet known to man and dog, and yes, they appear to be enormously popular because you see a lot of them around, the fact remains that the use of these devices are causing far more harm than the perceived good they offer to the dog at the other end.

Teaches Bad Manners

For starters, a well-behaved dog must be a follower, which means that at no time during the walk should your dog be romping 20 feet ahead of you, or lagging 20 feet behind you.

The walk is the time when your dog needs to be concentrating on following its leader and this is impossible with a flexi-leash arrangement.

Teaches Your Dog Not to Listen

Secondly, every dog must be safe and listen to its leader (you) so that they don’t find themselves suddenly in trouble, and this just can’t happen when the dog is so far away.

When you allow your dog to reel out on the flexi-leash, he or she is no longer paying attention to the leader, but instead may be so totally engrossed in smells, sights, and sounds that they might even forget you’re there at all.

Dogs can move at a speed much faster than the average human has adequate time to react.

I’ve seen it happen many times when a dog who is 20 feet or more in front of its owner is suddenly startled by another dog, becomes nervous or afraid and before you’re able to reel them back, a fight has already broken out.

Hazardous to Humans

Thirdly, the flexi-leash is a hazard to humans, both small and tall because often they are not seen and because of this they create dangerous tripping hazards, and if you’ve ever been wearing shorts and run into a flexi-leash, you will know the pain of that nasty rope burn.

I know someone whose daughter was tripped by the flexi-leash, fell down the stairs, and broke her toe and this is mild compared to other more serious accidents that have been caused by these devices.

Teaches Pulling

Fourthly, putting a flexi-leash on your dog encourages the dog to pull and be in charge of the walk, which is both painful for the human as well as potentially dangerous if your dog feels that it needs to protect the follower and decides to attack another dog, person or animal.

Dangerous for Dogs

Fifthly, there are many sights and sounds outside, and when your dog is so far away you might be distracted and not notice quickly enough that he or she has just spied a squirrel crossing the road and chased it out into traffic until it’s too late and your beloved best friend has just been struck by a vehicle.

False Sense of Security

Sixthly, the flexi-leash provides the human with a false sense of security that can quickly create an embarrassing situation as simply being attached to their dog becomes a substitute for not paying attention to what their dog is doing.

If you’re not watching, you can be certain that most dogs will be engaging in self-rewarding behavior which can then lead to the dog teaching itself to act inappropriately in most public situations.

Leash Laws

Seventh, we have leash laws that require that we have our dogs under control, which is just not possible when the dog is already 20 feet or more in front of you.

Difficult to Hold Onto

And finally, my eighth peeve is the actual handle of the flexi-leash which is not only cumbersome to hold, but can also become a weapon in itself that has the potential to cause much harm and pain.

For instance, I was sitting on a grassy hill with my dog one summer afternoon when a couple of children came by with their little dog who was attached to a flexi-leash.

They accidentally dropped the handle which snapped back while the dog ran and I received the full weight of the handle against the side of my head.

Thank goodness it wasn’t my eye and I only had a headache for the rest of the day.

So let’s recap in bullet form what we’ve learned about the potential hazards of the flexi-leash.

  • it places your dog in the wrong walking position
  • it teaches your dog to pull and be in charge on the walk
  • it teaches your dog not to listen to you
  • it places your dog in danger of approaching dogs
  • it places your dog in danger of traffic
  • it’s a tripping hazard to humans
  • it provides a false sense of security
  • it doesn’t fully comply with leash laws
  • the handle is cumbersome and can be a weapon

Bottom line, if you truly care about the safety of yourself, your dog, and those around you, dump the flexi-leash and get yourself a simple 4 or 6-foot leash that fits comfortably in your hand, keep your dog beside you when walking, and avoid all the potentially flexible problems.

Flexi® is a registered trademark with Flexi USA INC.

– Asia – Dog Whispering for 40+ years
© [Since 2008]

Are You Really a Rescued Dog?

Posted on: January 28th, 2013 by Asia
Are You Really a Rescued Dog

I was recently chatting with a local dog walker/sitter who told me the most shocking statistic about her business is that “…90% of the dogs I work with are rescued dogs with serious issues…many are aggressive…”

Curious, I asked why she didn’t suggest to the owners that they engage a professional for a dog whispering session so that they could learn through dog psychology all about how they can help their dogs regain balance and become the happy companions they were meant to be.

She replied, “I have suggested it to many, offered to take them myself but if they say no, that’s where it stops.”

Rescued Dogs Need to Regain Balance

Then I have to ask the question, “From the dog’s point of view, what’s the difference between living in a rescue facility or living in a home with a human who is just providing a different “kennel” when the human is not willing to address previous behavior issues?”

Rescuing a dog can present itself like a two-sided coin where one side or the other often lies hidden. Oftentimes the hidden side requires the assistance of a professional that can teach humans how to understand the dog.

On the one side, the human feels good about providing a dog with a new home because this act of compassion imbues the human with improved self-worth, and a sense of righteousness from doing a good deed for a creature less fortunate. Indeed wonderful human characteristics, but does this help the dog regain balance?

Are the Dog’s Needs Really Being Met?

However, the other side of this coin, and the one that is often forgotten or not immediately recognized or acknowledged by the human, is whether rescuing the dog was more for addressing human needs because if the rescued dog’s needs are not also being met, which includes being aware of and eliminating previous unstable behavior concerns so that the dog can become a stable, happy member of its new human pack, the “rescue” can be very one-sided.

Oftentimes a human will rescue a dog from the SPCA or local facility because they feel sorry for it being “locked up” and facing possible euthanasia or because of breed-specific persecution or because it looked dejected and sad or because it was frightened, or perhaps it reminded the person of a childhood pet, or the human was feeling lonely or sad…or any number of other human emotions.

What Are Good Reasons?

Although all of these above reasons are what makes us caring humans, none of these are good reasons for rescuing a dog. Good reasons would be because the human is willing to really provide for all aspects of their new 4-legged companions’ needs, which are dependent upon firstly addressing any behavioral issues that are already present or may arise in their future.

Dogs live much more in the moment than we humans, and once the humans understand what their particular dog requires in order to get back in balance, they will both be on the road to recovery and a loving, fulfilling relationship.

Unfortunately, what awaits many rescued dogs in their new home can be even more heartbreaking when the human, although kind and well-meaning, is not capable (because of personal circumstances, work commitments, health, lifestyle, age, etc.), of giving the dog what it really needs to be happy and so, the newly “rescued” dog ends up being further frustrated and unfulfilled.

Is a dog really rescued when the only thing that’s changed for them is the size, shape or colour of their four walls?

A Kennel is a Kennel

A kennel is a kennel is a kennel in any dog’s mind. They don’t care how large or beautiful your home may be, because, in their mind, it’s still their kennel when they’re left in it without you being there to provide the companionship and direction they need.

When you’re gone, they’re still locked up, they’re still left alone, they’re still frustrated, they’re still frightened, fearful, nervous, anxious, or aggressive because they still aren’t having their needs fulfilled which means they’re still unbalanced and unhappy.

To really rescue and rehabilitate a dog takes time, never-ending patience, and unwavering commitment.  Yes, it can be hard work because it demands firstly, an understanding of what’s required in a particular dog’s circumstances, and a skill set and understanding of dog psychology that most humans can learn, but don’t naturally come by.

Taking the time and effort to learn what your dog needs to be a well-balanced member of your family is priceless because a happy relationship with your dog reaps untold positive rewards that many of us don’t even realize and that simply can never be measured.

The very definition of the word “rescue” tells us that to rescue means “to bring (someone or something) out of danger – to deliver or save.”

Understanding What’s Required

Therefore, when a human rescues a dog but doesn’t follow up with learning how to bring the dog back into balance and harmony with itself and its surroundings, they have not brought this dog out of danger or saved it from anything other than possible euthanasia.

It’s a very sad situation indeed when canine guardians (humans) are not willing to make the effort to learn what they need to do so that these rescued dogs can become well-balanced and happy companions.

Are rescue facilities doing these dogs any favours if they are not following up and/or recommending professional help as a matter of course for humans who don’t yet understand what dogs really need in order to be happy and well-balanced members of their new human pack?

Do You Really Have the Time?

Unfortunately, many humans throughout their busy days just don’t have the time necessary or inclination required to invest in the consistent effort necessary to do what’s right for the dog and believe that a bowl of food with access to a yard will fulfill all of their dog’s needs. Our dogs require and deserve so much more from us humans.

Many a rescued dog doesn’t get their needs met, or their problems addressed, and as they pass from owner to owner, become even more unbalanced because the humans they happened to come into contact with, although well-meaning, didn’t understand what they needed to do to really help them.

Sadly, many rescued dogs, even after finding a new forever home, are still left to fend for themselves as best they can within an alien, human society that doesn’t truly understand what they need to be happy.

When these dogs are “rescued”, will their humans be doing all they can to ensure that the dog’s needs are being met, or will these dogs simply have to endure a life of instability?

Dear Dog – My wish for you is that you are, in every sense of the word, truly a rescued dog.

– Asia, Dog Whispering for 40+ years
© Since 2008

What is Dog Whispering?

Posted on: January 25th, 2013 by Asia
What is Dog Whispering?

First of all, let’s get straight about what “Dog Whispering” is NOT because some people seem to have the amusing idea that the term “dog whispering” refers to some sort of hocus-pocus, California crazy, psychic connection where the person doing the “whispering” has the eerie ability to read the dog’s thoughts and convey these to the owner, like some sort of psychic medium talking to the recently departed. Rest assured, this is NOT what “dog whispering” is all about.

Teaching Humans to Speak Dog

While a good “dog whisperer” indeed does have the ability to “read” the dog, this is not accomplished through any sort of dog/human mind meld, but rather through a combination of keen observation of body language and understanding of how this relates to the dog’s genetic behavior in the dog’s world of Mother Nature.

There are no bad dogs, just misunderstood ones trying to communicate with their humans. A large part of dog whispering, or dog training, is actually teaching humans to speak dog.

“Dog Whispering” can be difficult to define because it’s a combination of intuition born out of having spent many years observing dogs and their social behavior in their natural environment and then interacting with them at their instinctual level of understanding through the use of energy and body language, just as dogs would do amongst themselves running as a pack in the wild.

“Dog Whispering” is specific and very effective because it plays on the natural instincts and communication tools that a dog already knows and understands. Rather than reacting negatively to your dog’s perceived bad behavior, a “dog whisperer” can teach you how to lead your dog to the positive, good behavior you desire.

What Can a Good Dog Whisperer Do For You?

For instance, a good “dog whisperer” can recognize where the miscommunication between a dog and owner is causing a particular problem and then create a plan specifically designed to help eliminate the problems in each individual case.

Although “dog whispering” is a relatively new term for dog owners with respect to teaching their dogs to behave properly, in fact, it has been around for a long time, the term first coming to the forefront through “horse whispering”.

Effective Communication

The ability to effectively communicate with your dog can help to make any type of training not only easier but also much more effective.

In fact, there is little doubt that you can gain more control over your dog by utilizing this type of method and then integrating these techniques into your daily routines.

When you can communicate with your dog in a way that your dog actually understands, anything is possible.

Disney Expectations

Unfortunately for many of the canines in our lives, as humans, we were raised on a daily diet of Disney cartoons in which animals have the same thoughts, ideas, feelings, expressions, and understanding as humans – when in reality, you and your dog are not living in a Disney cartoon and dogs don’t understand human language.

Therefore, although dogs can certainly learn to understand the sound of some words when humans persist in endlessly chattering with their dogs, the conversation is for the benefit of the human, because dogs communicate through energy and body language, not speech.

Rather than shouting confusing human words and commands to a dog and forcing it to somehow understand what you want of it, dog whispering is a much more natural approach to training or eliminating unwanted behaviors because it connects directly with the dog through body language and positive associations, at the canine level of understanding.

Dogs Are Not Humans

What many humans fail to understand when bringing a dog into their life is that dogs are a totally different species, not four-legged humans and that dog brains are NOT simply smaller versions of the human brain, complete with the myriad of human emotions, with the same capabilities to think, rationalize and solve problems.

Thankfully, for us humans, dogs are extremely agreeable to living within our alien human world.

When humans are capable of being truly honest with themselves, often when a dog is brought into a human family, this is for the fulfillment of a human need and although humans are indeed well-meaning and most often loving toward their canine family member because humans think like humans, there can be little understanding or consideration of what the human should provide (beyond food and shelter) in order to fulfill the dog’s needs.

From the human point of view, most behavioral issues that seem to surface out of nowhere are directly caused by the human failure to understand what the dog is “telling” them or consider what the dog’s needs really are.

Communication Breakdown

Once there’s a communication break-down between you and your dog, frustration and the command style of shouting orders don’t really work because when you get angry or frustrated your dog continues to be confused and may end up simply doing what you say (maybe) as a way of avoiding some sort of negative punishment which can then lead your dog to both disrespect, mistrust and even fear you, all which are very unstable legs upon which to build a solid relationship.

The reason “Dog Whispering” techniques are usually more effective than many traditional training methods is that it’s much more natural to communicate with the dog through energy and body language, at the instinctual level, which they already understand because this is forming a basis of mutual understanding and respect through a simple connection with the natural way a dog thinks and feels.

Humans who may have tried a variety of “training” techniques yet were unable to achieve the desired results and decide to give “dog whispering” a try, are often so amazed at the positive and rapid transformation that occurs in a very short period of time, that “dog whispering” done properly can seem like magic.

The bottom line is that we humans, more often than not, seem to forget that dogs are very good at being dogs, and unfortunately for them, are not very good at becoming humans.

Therefore, dogs only become unbalanced and stressed out when they are brought into a human family and expected to look like dogs but behave like humans without any regard for what they really require in order to be happy dogs.

A good “Dog Whisperer” knows that working WITH Mother Nature, instead of against it, by teaching humans how to speak dog, which will restore balance to their best friend, can have far-reaching, positive results because restoring balance at the instinctual level of the dog world usually also results in restoring balance and harmony to the entire family and the surrounding neighbourhood, too.

Just Love is Not Enough

Possessing a lot of love and affection for dogs alone will not make you a “dog whisperer” because the love of dogs is just one part of a complicated combination of skills necessary to be a good “dog whisperer”.

There is no special course or training you can take in order to become a “Dog Whisperer” because if you don’t have the right kind of energy and a strong, instinctual connection with the canine world, no amount of training will help you.

Some of the traits necessary for the makeup of a good “Dog Whisperer” include being a natural-born leader and problem solver with highly honed skills of observation.

Also very necessary is a love of dogs, no fear of dogs, an understanding of dogs at their instinctual level, calm, assertive energy, exemplary teaching skills, unflappable confidence, patience, and persistence, plus an unshakeable belief that there are no bad dogs, but rather only misinformed humans.

Couple all this with a strong desire to help relieve dogs under stress while creating a closer canine/human bond, a belief that there is always a solution that will help alleviate unbalanced situations and an inventive mind to find the solution while creating a comfortable situation for counseling humans and encouraging them to get in touch with their own truths, and you will have developed a solid framework for becoming a good “dog whisperer”.

It takes time, usually many years, to evolve into becoming an effective “Dog Whisperer” because it’s equivalent to learning an alien language. However, the rewards are very much worth it when you see the amazing results that can be achieved when you help another dog and its humans return to a naturally balanced way of being.

Who doesn’t want a much happier dog, a stress-free home, a peaceful neighborhood, and a greater understanding that will create a strong, loving bond between two very different species?

If you want to take your dog training to the next level then consider a dog whispering session with us. Click here to learn more! Thanks.

– Asia
Dog Whispering for 40+ years
© Since 2008

What Happens at Your House During Your Dog Whispering Session?

Posted on: January 13th, 2013 by Asia
What Happens During Your Dog Whispering Session

When you’re waiting for the Dog Whispering team to arrive at your door, you’re probably wondering what will happen. Don’t worry – it will be a fun and educational time for everyone.

Case History Interview

When the K-9 Super Heroes Dog Whispering Team arrives at your home, we first complete a comprehensive case history interview of you and your dog, your past dog history, and the family dynamics, including breed-specific characteristics and DNA traits, how your dog came to live with you, any changes in circumstance, what you perceive as problem areas and what your goals are.

Hands-On Training

We then spend as long as it takes with your dog and your family addressing the challenges, teaching you new dog whispering techniques, and showing you how to redirect your dog’s unwanted behaviour(s), which includes teaching you and your family how to work with Mother Nature and learn how to provide your dog with the leadership that is paramount for a happy relationship.

Once we are confident that all areas of need have been addressed, we leave you with new techniques for you and your family to practice every day with your dog which will make you AND your dog much happier.

Written Report and Homework

Whew, that’s a lot of info! But it’s OK because we put it all in writing for you, complete with pictures, to keep as a forever, personalized reference, specific to you and your circumstances, including extra suggestions, support, and encouragement. It’s like having your own personal dog whisperer “whispering” in your ear whenever you need reminding.

Follow-Up Visit

To be continued…After two weeks of practice on your own, we come back for a refresher visit, during which time we review you and your dog’s progress and address any areas of uncertainty.

Exclusive Extra Client Services

Now that you’re a K-9 Super Heroes Dog Whispering client, you have access to our exclusive services (Dog Sitting and your home, Dog Walking (Victoria area only), $75. refresher visits, and endless free Sunday Pack Walks).

You can come along any Sunday to our Free Pack Walk in Victoria. Here you and your dog(s) can get even more practice and a little tune-up if needed while enjoying the camaraderie of a friendly group of dogs and humans. We e-mail our Pack Walkers a Sunday picture of the happy group every week and you’re always welcome to call or e-mail us if you have any questions.

Call the K-9 Super Heroes Dog Whispering Team today and we’ll help you learn, among other things, how to use Mother Nature and dog psychology to help your best friend become your K-9 Super Hero.

– Asia
Dog Whispering for 40+ years
© Since 2008