Saturday, May 15, 2010

Healing people training dogs

(The dog in the photo is a dog available for adoption and not the dog referred to in the following story)

There is a woman I walk with from time to time. We take our dogs and go on long nature walks discussing life and business and the state of the world and our families. I noticed that she was having trouble getting her dog to come when she called her. I offered up advice. I said you should use three separate tones of voice with the dog. 1) a friendly, happy talk tone, praising good behavior, 2) a matter of fact,direct, command tone, such as "come"3) a growly tone when you have to say "No" and stop the dog in it's tracks if it's about to run off and get into trouble. It's the growly tone that sort of mimics a mother dog to her pup. Well I told her this advice on three separate occasions and my friend is a very bright woman with advanced degrees and yet she wouldn't try out the advice. Hm, I thought, this is interesting. I'm not one to push advice once I've offered it. My feeling is I offered what I thought might help her and explained the reasoning and need to be consistent with the commands to her. I thought to myself, this is interesting, she heard the advice but for some reason isn't interested in seeing if it would work.I just let the issue go and continued to view the problem silently to myself. Her dog would come to me but I was consistent with it and used the three different tones, so she could see that the advice actually had some effect. One day we were talking about our childhood memories and she explained that there was a lot of anger and yelling in her house, and it was very scary and uncomfortable for her growing up. Bingo, I made the connection. This was the reason why she could not use the growly tone with the dog because it brought up so many bad memories for her and made her feel uncomfortable.We discussed the insight and it registered with her. I asked if it would be okay for me to discuss this in a blog post and she said fine, as I thought it might give insight into the training issues of others. So it's not just dogs we are training but at times we are helping people to remain in the present state and perhaps help heal some past issues. I can't say that the problem is completely resolved but at least there is light shed on the issue, and some understanding . Healing takes time and dog training, depending on the dog and owner can take time as well

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