"The Peeing Post"
Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature
Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen
This newsletter is brought to you by
Dear Dog Friend,
Thanks to all of you who responded to the last issue! I am almost overwhelmed.... I would like to address the issues that are raised, but I cannot do it on an individual basis. However, by selecting some of the representative responses, I hope I can cover the essence fairly well...
In addition to those I want to bring now, I have at least as many I want to bring in a following issue, so we will continue this discussion of breeder responsibilities and the spay/neuterproblems also next time...
Mogens, I am just know catching up on my "Peeing Post" - and wow! I can certainly empathize with you.
I breed cavies for showing, and have often endured the wrath of "animal rights' activists" (whackos) who insist (1) I am a demon for being a breeder and (2) I am doomed to eternal damnation for not taking extraordinary actions to nurture weak or deformed animals. Honestly, being a responsible breeder means NOT perpetuating unthrifty stock.
I truly enjoyed your articulate and thoughtful discussion re: good breeder versus bad breeder. Kudos, sir :-)
Sandra J Buck
Thanks - I really have nothing more to add to that - I got a whole pile of similar responses....
I would like to congratulate you on your article on castrating dogs and bitches. You are spot on with your statements, but I am sure you have started a very controversial subject. Unfortunately, even in Europe castrating dogs/bitches is becoming more and more popular and is more and more recommended by veterinarians. People do it because the "almighty" veterinarian recommended it and also so that they do not have to carry the burden of being a hundred percent responsible dog/bitch owner. For many years already I have one non castrated bernese mountain dog male and a non castrated bernese mountain dog bitch. There have never been any unwanted puppies.
Thanks, Martha - the topic of "letting the vet take charge" is a very big one - for those who have not done so yet, please check out http://k9joy.com/education/healthcareforyourdog.php so you can get started on making your own responsible health care plan for your dog.
People are entitled to their opinions but those who advocate not spaying or neutering their pets for the myriad of reasons given have not really ever done any serious animal welfare work. Seeing animal after animal die, and not always pleasantly, because of serious animal overpopulation is horrific. People who say, well, I control my dog or that's my right are missing the point. Further, all my dogs have been spayed or neutered and most have been snapped from the jaws of death at the eleventh hour as well. I feed a raw diet, make sure they get plenty of exercise and they are in perfect health and in harmony with me and each other. Most people I know have never had a dog with a health-related problem from neutering or spaying, but I have known intact dogs that developed cancer connected with their testicles or mammary tumors in females that were malignant. I also have never had a weight problem with my dogs from spaying or neutering. It is the responsibility of the owner to exercise the dog and when that is done, the dog remains fit and at proper weight. And while we're at it, dogs are pack animals and part of the pack of their human. All mine, and I have 5, 4 of them large, live inside with me. They are part of the family. Let some of these people who think so much of their dogs that they don't want them spayed or neutered, bring them inside where they belong, exercising outside with their humans.
You seem to want to consider animal welfare generally, so, if you are serious, you should be considering this issue in a different light. Don't be a cowboy.
I appreciate your opinion, Mary - although I do not know what it means to "be a cowboy". But I do not think your view point represents any commentary to what I actually wrote.... However, I can agree with you a long way along the lines you stipulate. I completely agree that the vast majority of dog owners in North America are not what I would consider "responsible", no matter what they themselves might think. But I do not believe that spaying/neutering is "the way to go" - in fact, as I explained, my experiences from Europe clearly show that it is not necessary and it is not efficient. It is plain simply not a solution to the problem it claims to be a solution to. Now, this does not mean that I disregard the problem as not being serious. Far from. But I do disregard spaying/neutering as representing any effective or adequate means to provide the change we need in order to solve that problem. That's a completely different story that has nothing to do with what I discussed - but it could be interesting to take up another time...
There are many "bad" examples of intact males and females suffering from cancer. I totally agree. But you missed the point I made that this is the result of more than one factor, spaying/neutering being only one, feeding another, vaccination a third, preventative medication a fourth. What they all share in common, though, is responsible ownership and education. Or lack of those. My point was and is that spaying/neutering does not solve any fundamental health problem. It only masks the problemss created by some of the other practices.
Finally, I did not say that you could not keep a dog in reasonably good shape if it was neutered. What I said was that a lot of people don't. That's a different story that in no way insults you or your way of managing your dogs.
Yes, dogs are pack animals - and they should live with us, not "around us". Your personal example should be the general rule.
Mogens -- you may not be "politically correct," but you are WONDERFUL!! Thank God for someone so balanced and logical when it comes to our canine friends.
I refer your site and your newsletter to all of my canine patients, and friends with dogs. I consider it essential reading, even if it pushes their buttons. They probably NEED lots of their buttons pushed!
Thank you for being there!
Thanks, Patty - I have no intention of being "politically correct" - so, yes, some people get seriously pissed off with me. That's their problem. Not mine. I have a right to my thoughts and my opinions, as well as everybody else. Information cannot hurt. But lack of it can...
I appreciate if "The Peeing Post" can "push buttons", if that makes people think...
This makes me want to repeat for everybody that you are always welcome to simply hit "Forward" and send any issue of "The Peeing Post" to any friends of yours, as long as you do not use automatic broadcasting technology to do it.
I have to tell you how much I enjoyed this newsletter. Your discussion about castrating was so refreshing compared to the typical protocol of " how soon can I get him neutered?" Boy, I bet the average vet doesn't have a lot of adoration for you!! I am owned by a 2 year old GSD who I do not plan to neuter, against the warnings and well meaning advice of most people I know. We travel in a motor home in the summer and have found a great campground in N.C. that is dedicated to dogs and my dog very much enjoyed the dog friendly environment. We became friends with the couple who own 4 Paws who are dog trainers from Germany and they seemed to be very fond of Apache. However at one point in our stay the owners began asking me if I planned to neuter him and I said not for the time being as I feel that neutering an immature dog can have adverse effects on his development. They quoted "medical statistics" about the likelihood of cancer and if I did not plan to breed or show him I was risking his life by keeping him intact. they also said that some of the other dog owners in the campground did not like my dog playing with theirs as he was too aggressive due to being unneutered. My dog is no more aggressive than a bunny rabbit but is a normal high drive GSD puppy who adores other dogs. these people obviously are not used to a raw fed, no vac full-of-energy youngster as everyone of the dogs we met were sad cases of overweight. arthritic and fearful examples of modern day veterinarian animal abuse.
My only concern was the possibility of someone having a bitch in season which would have meant serious precautions on our part but fortunately that did not happen. Which brings me to my question. Can you devote an article in your newsletter to how to train an intact male to refrain from the normal instincts of trying to breed a bitch in season that he might encounter? I cannot fathom how this is possible but am very encouraged by your statements that this can be done by training.
Thanks much for your out of the mainstream article about not castrating our boys, I plan to forward this to the owners of the campground I told you about, if I may have your permission. We hope to go back to 4 Paws this summer and am sure the first question I will get from them is "Have you neutered Apache?" It may not help much, knowing the nature of people who have believed lies & myths all their life but at least it will give me some ammunition to back up my position that keeping him intact is not a death sentence.
Thanks, Nancy - good to hear that you can think for yourself! No, you are right - I have been threatened with lawsuits several times from veterinarian associations, but I am also taking full advantage of my PPL membership, so nothing has ever come out of those threats....
I have seen quite a few "quoted statistics" showing that spayed/neutered dogs fare better than intact dogs do - but the common denominator of all those studies have been kibble-fed and over-vaccinated dogs. I have never been confronted with any serious study that eliminated the influence of kibble and vaccine, so my scientific mind tells me that those two are just as likely culprits as anything else! And my experience from Europe tells be the exact opposite of what those studies claim, so adding those two observations together makes a logical conclusion that says that the culprit is not the fact of the sexual organs remaining in the body - but it is to be sought in the poisoning of our dogs.
As to your question about discussing in "The Peeing Post" what exactly it takes to teach a male dog to submit to a human packleader, also when there are "delicious bitches" is the air, was asked by many others also....
I wish I could say "yes", but I can't. I can certainly explain what it takes (and all that is covered in the video "The Dog's Social Behavior") and I can certainly also teach you what it takes (I have done that with thousands of students in my classes). But I do not dare to recommend your starting on doing it, unless I can see what you do and how your dog responds....
There are several reasons:
I am only human - I cannot do all this per correspondence....
And worse: if you fail to do it exactly right, because you either misunderstood the instruction or you did not pay attention to your own dog's signals, then you run a strong risk of either making the dog resent you or making the dog attack you! None of those are acceptable results, as far as I am concerned, and I do not want to accept the liability of having triggered that kind of result by assuming that everybody who reads "The Peeing Post" can actually do what I want them to do.
I think I have found a possible way, though - but it will only be offered to people who already bought "The Dog's Social Behavior" and "BrainWork for Smart Dogs" - and I will still put in a test that you actually learned from those two sources what I need to be sure that you learned. Otherwise, it is not responsible on my part to do it without seeing the instant results. The techniques themselves are not complicated. But understanding why and how they are to be applied for a particular dog in a given particular situation does take a huge understanding of a lot of behavioral knowledge from the owner's side. But join me at a camp course! We will definitely do it there.
Finally, from Annette in Finland, I got this fax which unfortunately came across in a technical quality that did not allow me to get her last name correctly - or her contact information - so I bring it here as I can read it, apologizing for the technical limitations, indicating with purple letters when I am guessing and with xxx when I am lost. I am sure I am getting the overall meaning of it, though - and it is too important to ignore because of such technicalities... (I wish you had sent it through the online form, Annette, by clicking on the peeing dog! That would have made things much easier...)
First of all, I would like to thank you for your interesting and "thought-provoking" articles about castrating and bad breeders. You articles have definitely made me consider more than a few things.
I genuinely appreciate your effort and agree than we should accept our responsibility for letting our dogs live as natural and species-typical as possible, thus respecting their own nature and needs - that responsibility is laid upon us once we decide to live with an altogether different species. However, there was one issue in the articles that made me somewhat thoughtful. As you mentioned, Nature cannot afford to mess with the genes because there is a species at stake. Nevertheless, when it comes to the leadership theory about the dog in the human pack, you somehow appear to have forgotten the aforementioned evolutionism, or may I say fundamentally natural condition.
In my opinion, it seems quite unnatural for dogs (or any other animal's behavioral pattern for that matter) to prefer humans as mate companions instead of their own species, because it would then, undoubtedly, result in that species' extinction. And in addition, I would like to ask if breeding should be allowed on the kind of dogs that have lost their ability to recognize their own species.
Somehow, it seems to me, that this "leadership" thing has gone a bit too far; we humans have suddenly decided that dogs perceive themselves as "four-legged" "furry human", and as 'members' of the human "pack", and on top of that, somebody has just happened to forget to tell them about it. Perhaps we ought to focus more on the kind of needs dogs have, and how to enrich their lives so that they could live as natural and species-typical as possible? Maybe we should not try to compare them to us humans, because we are, and we will always be, two different species xxxxx living together. I think it should be all about respect for the other species.
My intention is not, in any way, to advise how people should think, nor is it telling them what way of thinking is 'right' or 'wrong'. I only try to point out the possibility of seeing these things from another perspective, and consequently, with a lesser anthropomorphic*) burden.
I wish you the best and I would greatly value your reply in this matter.
*) anthropomorphic = assigning human forms or qualities to gods or animals [editor's note]
First of all: THANKS, Annette! This is indeed a topic worth some discussion, and I can see how my little comment can cause this reaction. I will be more than happy to clarify.
First, I should say that I did not mean to recommend that dogs should prefer humans for mating. If it came across like that, I must correct it. The leadership role, as I intended to describe it, does not include mating, only the right to decide who is going to do the mating. That's very different...
It is still an interesting question to ask, "what is natural?".... In some way, man is part of Nature too, so man's creations are also "natural"! We cannot do anything without it being within Nature's fundamental laws. Yet, if we discard everything "man-made" as "not natural", then we cannot have dogs, because dogs are not natural, as they are indeed partially man-made! The ultimate consequence of such a point of view is called "wolf conservation" or "bombing society back to the stone age"!!! There are powerful organizations in the USA working for all pet dogs being "returned to nature", by making it unacceptable to have any animals as "pets". The full consequence of this will be that we quit farming, because all our domesticated animals are, at least partially, "man-made"...
I do not advocate any of those two extremes. There is a balance point in-between. Where exactly that balance point is can be very hard to tell.... But the keyword for finding it is balance!
Everything in Nature is about balance. Nature never supports extremes. Between two opposite extremes, there is always a point of balance - and with only two extremes involved, it is even so nice that there can be only one point of true balance...
But this goes only when we consider a short time-span. In the moment we include large time scales, like evolution, then the point of balance moves all the time!
So, for discussing this, we really have to consider two things:
Are we currently at a meaningful balance point, short-term?
Are we moving in a direction that will improve or sustain a meaningful balance also in the future?
And, once again, we are not likely to all agree to what exactly a "meaningful balance" is.... Our opinions will vary with the degree of knowledge we have about things that pertain to this. For this reason, we cannot discuss any absolutes about "right" or "wrong" - simply because we do not know everything that will impact this. Yet, we can apply what we do know...
In order to fully understand the topic Annette brings up, I have to share some knowledge with you that is not generally known. A more complete discussion of this is given in my video "The Dog's Social Behavior" (it is a 2.5 hour information dense video, so there is no way I can cover everything here), but let me give you some of the most important conclusions that are vital for understanding this.
Dogs are not born to know or recognize their own species. They sure have the ability to do so, but Nature has made things differently. It was discovered in the late forties and early fifties by Konrad Lorenz, whom I have the utmost admiration and respect for since I was a child (I count Konrad Lorenz as one of my most important mentors).
The principle Nature uses here is called Imprinting (Lorenz called it "Prägung" - which is the German word used to describe how coins are stamped out of a piece of metal plate; the English translation does not really reflect that very well...) Lorenz discovered Imprinting when he was hatching geese. For geese, the process is extremely simple: When the little gosling hatches, it expects to see its parents! Nature has coded its genes in such a way that whoever it first meets outside the protected world of its egg shell will be identified as its parent! It will take such a strong notice of this in the first few minutes after hatching that this impression will never be erased again - the gosling will, for the rest of its life, associate these kinds of creatures with "its own species".....
Lorenz' "mistake" was that he incubated those geese - and watched them hatch because he wanted to study their behavior! The result is well-know: he could walk down the streets of Vienna with that flock of geese following him everywhere he went! He had become their "parent" - in accordance with their own instincts. And there was no reversing it. They recognized each other - but they were, for life, stamped in their own brains as "human geese".
Lorenz later showed that dogs have a completely similar mechanism for recognizing their own. But it is somewhat pushed in time. Puppies do not really "enter" the world until their senses start to work. They are born "prematurely", in a way - ears and eyes are not fully developed at the time of birth, so they cannot receive sense impressions from the world that will allow them to recognize other living beings as their own. But when their senses are fully functional (at about 3 weeks of age), this Imprinting process starts, just as for the hatching gosling! For dogs, it has been shown that the process last about 4 weeks, in comparison to just one day for the goose.
Now, my leadership concept is based on accepting Imprinting on humans as something very desirable. (As I explain in the video, Imprinting is not the only process of Nature that matters here - there are at least two more that work in a similar way - but let's leave those for now, as they only make the principles more complex to discuss.)
It is very relevant to ask if this really is "natural"? One might argue that Nature did not intend humans to interfere with this process that was designed for working so well for natural parents. The consequence of that view is that we should not have dogs! Because: no Imprinting - no dog in a human family! "No Imprinting" means that the dog will be scared of people and will have no way of enjoying human contact of any kind - a wild animal!!! Such an animal cannot enjoy life as a human companion or "pet", so keeping such a dog as "a dog" is simply cruel.
I suggest a different approach to finding the balance. To me, we have a good balance when our dogs reach the highest possible potential level of satisfaction of their fundamental needs through living with us. And if we can take better care of the dog's needs by also satisfying our own needs more fully, then we have a great win-win situation for both species! However, taking care of the dog's needs must have priority over taking care of man's selfish needs. Anything else is irresponsible exploitation.
When we have an Imprinting of a dog that makes humans as least as important to it as other dogs are, then we do indeed have such a win-win situation....
It is a necessary fact that we do take care of all responsibilities as "parents" for our dogs. We have to. We can thus establish better balance in the dog's mind by us also being recognized by the dog as such! That means: strong Imprinting on humans! And I am serious also about this: Only if that Imprinting on humans is stronger than the inevitable imprinting on other dogs (litter mates and parents), can we truly make our dogs enjoy life (with us humans) to the fullest! If we raise them in a way that makes them crave a canine parent and canine companionship we cannot provide for them, we are causing unnecessary suffering. If we instead make sure that we fit so well with the dog's perception of what a "parent" should be that it has no desire for looking elsewhere for satisfaction of all those emotional needs related to this, then we provide a much more solid basis for this dog enjoying it's life more fully - and that we too will have more enjoyment of the dog! Win-win! For both species.
The next relevant question now is, "is this sustainable?" And the answer is "yes". We are not altering instincts or genetics. We are only applying those, on an individual dog-by-dog case. We can, in principle, at any time, revert to "nature" by abstaining from imprinting those puppies on humans - and we are instantly back to wild dogs! So, we are, in effect, not altering the genetics by doing this, not even on an evolutionary scale. We are just taking advantage of those genetic properties, for the dog as well as for ourselves. I seriously have no ethical problems with that - but I do have serious ethical problems with it not being done - because it will cause more unsatisfied needs and hence less happiness for the dogs that are exposed to less-than-optimal imprinting on humans.
I think that should address one part of Annette's relevant concerns. There is another one that is equally important: the sexual behaviors. How do they fit into this?
Let me first make this clear: I am not at all suggesting any kind of transferring human values or properties to our dogs. There is no anthropomorphy in my approach. I am only suggesting that we actually follow the dog's own nature! But that we do it fully and not halfhearted.
This takes that we study what wolves and wild dogs will do. Let me just be brief on that: they do not mate in chaos! They take a long time (several months!) to develop a relationship first - and mating is very far from being a matter of "just meeting and then humping", as modern breeding practices have promoted for no other purpose than human convenience!
What counts for this development of a relationship in a wolf pack is leadership. Social status in the pack. Sexual behaviors are subordinated social rules and social structure!
Hey - we should not be foreigners to this! Humans do the very same! Anyone who support their own teenage kids in having sex with anyone they please whenever they please may object. Anyone else will reveal themselves as hypocrites if they do...
Acknowledging this parallel between human and canine nature is not anthropomorphic, as it might first appear, based on lack on knowledge about the dog's natural behaviors. It is recognition of a shared natural principle that exists in both species.
Annette has a very valid point though. If this social control of natural sexuality is driven to the extreme, it can and will lead to all kinds of perversities that no longer are supportive for the species! Nevertheless, even the famous Victorians were not able to neither stop nor curb a continued growth of the human population.... In fact, during that time, the European and North American populations grew faster than ever before in history!
I do not think we need to worry too much about sexual deviations that go to the extreme of being incapable of reproducing the species. The reason is that it is self-limiting. If development of sexual perversities go too far so the individual no longer can mate in a way that leads to reproduction, those genes that cause this will never spread to the entire species. It is interesting to note here that Konrad Lorenz' studies of geese shows that a natural population of geese will contain about 4% homosexual ganders! They, of course, do not produce any offspring - but they sure have some serious social powers in the flock by being a pair of two strong males, compared to a normal pair of a strong male and a weaker female. Obviously, there are some serious advantages for Nature in allowing for "deviation" from the standards - the flock certainly has some advantages from those pairs that can focus their entire attention on dealing with enemies of the flock, leaving "normal" parents to focus more energy on their parenting. (Just on a side note: wouldn't it be nice if humans would be equally accepting of deviations in natural preferences that do not harm others, but actually could be an asset for society?)
Let us turn the table around and view this from the other side. What if we were to promote and support our current breeding preferences where dogs will mate with each other, no matter what the chosen partner is? How many breeders get upset or annoyed when the bitch "won't stand" - even though she had no chance of getting a relationship built with the stud?
Well, if this were to happen in a naturally living dog pack, it would lead to chaos and conflict and inability to raise all those puppies! It would further seriously impede the pack's ability to function as a pack - so it would reduce the amount of food that could be made available. In other words: it could seriously threaten extinction of the species!
Still, this is what breeders generally want - and promote, whether or not they are aware of it. They do not want to leave it to the dogs to decide whom they want to mate. They do not even want to wait more than a couple of hours on the sexual act taking place! They have no time to allow for any social bonding first. They just want the "bang" here and now! And they most definitely have no interest in letting the dogs have any say at all when it comes to choice of mating partner...
Anyone recognizing this from human history? Or from reality is many current cultures? J
Anyway, my point it this: Nature has created dogs and humans alike in this regard. Social structure and social rules must have priority to sexuality. By ignoring this fact for our canine friends, we actually promote a serious imbalance in what Nature has created - and if we do not even try to curb it, we are heading for this problem growing out of control - to the detriment of both species. If we do nothing to test our dogs' ability to accept this priority of respect for social rules coming before satisfaction of sexual desire, then we are indeed promoting an undesirable change of genetics! However, by testing that our dogs truly do respect that social rules have preference over sexual satisfaction, then we at least have a chance of knowing if we are actually preserving the balance Nature created....
Now, I am fully aware that this kind of "complete leadership" is not easy to attain for a human. But I wanted to point out that it is possible. And I hope I have also explained that it is not of anthropomorphic nature (transferring human properties to animals) - but it is actually a necessary and powerful means of preserving the balances in Nature. It is not a matter of making dogs human - it is a matter of accepting, in full, our own possible role as leaders in a dog pack, so we can provide the maximum support possible for preservation of the dog's instincts and fundamental nature.
I know, this is the opposite conclusion of what people will arrive at when they do not know the principles for how the dog's social behaviors and the instincts behind them function... And that fact, of course, makes it extremely difficult to discuss these issues in a public forum of people who choose to not learn about this before they enter the discussion with their opinions, as the case is for those fanatic groups that want to make it illegal to keep animals as companions. Balance is not to be found by going from one extreme to the other.
Want to try out these principles in real life - with your own dog?
This invitation is for real. It is what my camp courses are all about. Letting you have a serious peek into this wonderful and fascinating dog world. On the dog's terms. With you fitting yourself into the dog's perception of things. Not by forcing the dog to adjust to our human world, but by us getting into the dog's mental world, and, from there, possibly influence its choice to also fit what we want. But all the way though this is to be done on the dog's terms.
One of the most amazing aspects of this is that it gives us a very powerful mirror image of some very serious features of human nature that we all too often ignore or simply are unaware of.... To experience this, we need to get "out of our box". Mentally, we cannot just do that. If someone tells you to stop thinking of a pink elephant, then you will think of a pink elephant! The human mind cannot comprehend a logic negation. But if someone wants you to stop thinking of a pink elephant, the way to go is to stimulate your mind to think of something else, like a blue alligator! That will do it! We need a mental reference - a box. But when we "crawl into another box", we are, in effect, leaving our old box - and we now have a much greater ability to envision things about ourselves that we did not pay attention to before.
I know - this is not generally the main motivation for people seeking to train with me. But it is always the ultimate objective I am working on, with the practical training being a valuable tool for achieving this. Even though it is nice to solve behavioral problems (it always feels good to experience that something annoying ceases to happen because the reason for kit was removed), it is even nicer when this is accomplished through a serious improvement in the communication between man and dog, and this enhanced communication so clearly makes both parties happier. And it is nicer yet, when this also facilitates a development of a much deeper relationship that both parties will enjoy more fully. This development of "connection" is so hard to describe in practical terms, but that is what I mean. And the ultimate joy for me is when the person can see this and use it to make more sense out of a complicated and confusing world. It simply makes the world a better place to live on for all of us.
"Connecting" is quite simple with a dog - when you understand the dog's natural terms for doing it. Dogs do not have those darn inhibitors that can been fed into our brains from society since we were born! Dogs respond to a natural invitation to connect. Their instincts tell them to do it, so we get an instant response of positive nature when we attempt it! We cannot always count on such an instant response from another human.... Sad, but true. However, it has been my experience that, when people get to understand this because they had this great experience with their dog, it also helps on all the other frontiers as well.
The real challenge for me as trainer/coach is that the ideal world with great imprinting is not reality for very many dog owners. In my experience, 90-95% come along with dogs that have a much-less-than-desirable Imprinting on humans - which causes a lot of frustrations in those dogs - which in turn cause a lot of behavioral problems that could have been totally and completely avoided or easily eliminated with a better Imprinting. However, we cannot change the Imprinting. Once done, it is done. Irreversible, unchangeable. We have to live with it as it is given to us from the breeder. But still, understanding the principles for how those fundamental social instincts work still allows a lot of room for improvement for most people - and every single extra piece we can add to that will make the dog's life more enjoyable as well as the owner's life. So it is a win-win proposition to work on this, even if the "starting material" is less than optimal.
This is also why I really do not like the traditional ways of doing dog training. Obedience training is the worst. It really does nothing for the dog! It only aims at making the dog a predictable robot that has no brain of its own. How can that promote building of "connection" between man and dog? The truth is that it rarely does... It only curbs the dog's natural behaviors, and it makes it more difficult for the dog to adjust to making the relationship with the human better. There is no room in this for the dog to enhance satisfaction of its own needs.
So, that's why there is no such thing as standard obedience training or "show training" with me! Sure, we can teach a dog to sit and heel and retrieve - or to make a posture. But it has to be done from a perspective of fitting into the dog's needs - so the result will not necessarily be the "perfect" performance a judge will award his best marks! But it will for sure be fun. And it will for sure work reliably when we are done, because it will be done in a way that makes sense to the dog.
And all this is Annette's "fault"! J She started this philosophy discussion - but I appreciate the opportunity to dig further into it - because I find it extremely important. And I am sure we can continue the discussion when we see each other at the camp - remember, deadline for the one on the East coast is just 10 days away - so do not hold yourself back if you want to participate - the spots are filling up, and there will be no such thing as exceeding the maximum of 8 students....
Check the details at http://k9joy.com/dogtraining/campcourses.php - and remember that you can bring family (or friends) along at no extra charge if they do not train the dog but help out in the class when we need it.
Cheers and woof,
If you have any suggestions to contributions or contents of The Peeing Post, or some comments or questions pertaining to this issue or in to dogs in general, I will be happy to know about them. If I can find an answer for you, I will!
You can reach me by simply clicking on the peeing dog
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P.S. As I am finishing this issue, I got an idea I would like to bounce on you...
I am comtemplating driving across the continent from BC to Maryland for the camp the first week of May!
For the purpose of transportation alone, and considering also my time, it is financially crazy to do that. But it would not be crazy if there were enough people on the way that Anita and I could visit....
With "visit" I mean this: If you know of someone in your area that would have an interest in me doing a seminar or workshop for a group of people that could range from 10 to several hundred, and we could find a way to make ends meet, then I would be happy to plan the trip so we could make that happen! It could also be a matter of just dropping by and saying hi.
The people I imagine could benefit from this would include:
This list is not exhaustive - if you know of anyone who can and will arrange for a group of people to spend an evening on such a purpose, then we can find a way of doing it that will make it a win for all involved parites!
The likely route would be starting from Idaho around April 12-20 and then doing the trip across the US to Maryland, aiming at being there no later than April 28.
The return trip could be heading back west through Canada from May 10, including even Montreal.
If you need some inspiration to what kinds of seminars/workshops I typically give, you can find an overview at http://k9joy.com/dogtraining/seminaroverview.html - but we can arrange anything I feel qualified to teach, so that overview does not represent any boundaries.
If this has interest for you, let me know before March 01, so I can take it into consideration.