Are you the cause of your dogs problems? As a professional homeopath, I am quite passionate about homeopathy and its wonderful abilities. But there are areas where no treatment can work, however good or appropriate. And one of these areas is when there is a maintaining cause.
If you constantly eat badly, you can never expect good health. This is more true in pets, with all the commercial pet food, than it is with people, who may occasionally have a decent meal.
Another area is understanding the species.
Most people have no idea what natural dog behaviour is all about. Instead, they think the dog should comply with their (human) requirements.
Hang on a minute, aren’t we supposed to be intelligent? Why then aren’t we the ones who adapt to our dogs, rather than expect them to adapt to us? After all, we invited them into our homes and lives.
Dogs have a very strong social structure and if this is not maintained, all sorts of problems can result. I’m sure you know of people who treat their dogs too harshly, and others who treat their dogs too leniently.
What’s the right mix?
Dogs are pack animals. Within a pack is only one pair of leaders, the alpha male and alpha female. This means that the majority of dogs are followers, not leaders.
Dogs elect their leaders on the qualities they can bring to the pack – wisdom, safety, good hunting skills, etc.
To be a good leader, you have to exhibit the same qualities. This means that anger and irritability are a no-go area. No dog respects this. In fact, no animal does.
Anxiety and fear don’t show good leadership qualities either. And don’t imagine you can hide them from a dog – you can’t.
But most importantly, you need to think like a dog, to understand the language of dogs. Your behaviour needs to reflect this. I know of no other person who has grasped this so well as Jan Fennell. Inspired by Monty Roberts (one of the first natural horsemen a couple of decades ago), she learned ‘dogese’ from watching hours of videos on wolves and their relationship with each other.
It’s inspiring, illuminating, easy to grasp and simple to apply after you understand you need to change habits of a lifetime…
Her website is Jan Fennell, the Dog Listener
She has trained people from all over the world. She has had her own shows on TV, she has written books and created DVDs.
A few years ago, a dog came for a consultation. He was excitable and constantly raced round the clinic, barking. We couldn’t hear ourselves think, let alone discuss the problem.
I had recently read Jan’s book and seen a few TV shows. So I decided to put her ideas to the test.
Outside the clinic door is a short corridor. Each time the dog barked, I shut him in the corridor. As soon as he was quiet, often only seconds, I let him back in. When the barking re-started, he was shut out again.
He rapidly learned. I think it took about six times, after which he sat beside his person, quiet, still and calm.
I had not become irritated, or used my voice, let alone raised it. We were able to proceed with the consultation uninterrupted.
It may only have taken about 10 minutes, but the impact on the dog (and on us) was profound.
Other areas of having a naturally healthy dog are easy in comparison. Learn about the causes of your dogs problems before you treat them.