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Showing posts from October, 2016

The Animal's Point of View

How often do we really consider things from the animal’s point of view when we work with them.  Even if we don’t formally train them, do we imagine what they are going through?Consider, for example ‘horse riding schools’ where people are taught to ride horses – as though the horses are cars.  “Pull up here when you want it to stop… bump it here with your heels when you want it to go…”Or the general advice that is provided, and implemented by dog behaviour specialists.  The packaged insert that says – “Dogs should not sleep on your bed.  They need to know that you are the boss.”These are two obvious examples of how we apply ‘one size fits all’ methodology without considering the sentient being in front of us.  But there are less obvious situations too.  Where we actually fail to see what is going on because we are too busy in our own agendas.We have stories that get in the way. We don’t feel worthy or need to prove ourselves to the world, so when the dog gets out of hand, we see it as …

anthropomorphism - putting human qualities onto animals. Is this a concept we can use?

Us animal people work to ensure the best for the animals in our care.  That is why we do what we do.  Sometimes, we care too much to see things with the clarity required.  This oftentimes happens when we are faced with a challenge in relation with them and we justify or excuse the challenge with a label, and then look no further for understanding.  My new puppy friend Sage has killed a chicken.  For someone who is practising vegan eating, this is a hectic occasion.  I am so sad for the chicken and feel so bad that this bird and all the others have been usurped from their confident roosts at the front door.  There are ducks and geese in the yard too.  I could excuse Sage’s behaviour, and label her as a killer or a problem dog.  I was advised by a friend to tie a dead chicken around her neck for a week.  I could find a new home for Sage because she is ‘a menace’.  Is there an alternative?  We are working on this.  Suffice is to say the chickens have been rehomed in the meantime, while I…

Moments without comparison are perfect

Hearts may not heal.

Conditional Relationships

In our modern lifestyles, success is paramount and the moment is forgotten.  We are striving to achieve.  It is bred into us from extra maths and ballet lessons at the age of 6 to the successful degrees we will achieve to the best job and the smartest car.  It can be a stressful life.  Our self-worth is conditional.  We are only judged to be enough, if we are that wall street banker, or the owner of the cool car, or if we wear the best labels.  And we document the journey to stardom in selfies that reflect an apparent barrenless existence.  Perhaps we know how stressful it can be to be in relationship with someone on the off chance that they will make us feel better.  We work to make them happy.  Or make them feel proud of us.  And we do this, usually because we have – at some stage, been parented by someone (not necessarily a parent), who made us feel less than, and only worthy – on condition that… .  Animals, according to popular theology – are there for our gain.  Does this theolog…


A week away in a foreign land. Where the interactions have been abundantly insightful and the lessons for me, once again, enormous. When teaching ethical communication with animals, one cannot help but reflect. Feel clear and ready to ensure my daily reality is refreshed.

So this a blog to thank the Czech Republic animal lovers. And to encourage other animal lovers out there to visit this generous place.

Imagine a place where dogs are allowed in the subways and busses. Where the city funds initiatives to teach school children how to effectively meet dogs on walks. Where every park space is always littered with people sharing moments with their best friends.  Where there are water bowls for dogs wherever you go. Even in the zoo. Where it is common that dogs are allowed to live in apartment buildings. Where I share a train cabin with two people and a dog. Where a family home visit includes a visit with dogs and cats. When in the middle of my seminar in the dog school we are interrupted …

Sage welcome home

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

Travelling wannabee

When I travel I feel free to look at the world differently. I pack clothes I don't usually wear. And wear earings from the bottom of my jewelry box and even apply make up now and then.  I choose to skip the evening ritual cigarette and will communicate information to friends and family that I usually would not share. 

I also find the odd moments where I experience stress. I will leave much earlier to catch a bus and a train than is necessary. Much much earlier. And when I am meeting with people my introvert heart hammer thuds in my ears. I consciously calm myself down. Search for what is familiar and easy. Break down what needs doing into steps. Work to avoid crazy anticipation angst.

What does this have to do with animals? Seasoned theorists may have noted some training lingo already.

This is my lesson. The animals in my life require adventure. Not once in a while. But everyday.  Just small incremental fun times where they get to experience something novel. Why?

Because the more f…