Monday, October 26, 2015

Will the Real Dog Whisperer Please Stand Up?

Yes, I have seen those TV “stars” who claim to be ‘dog whisperers’ but SHOUT in canine body language. One, especially, is cute, though, personality-wise, and also easy on the eyes.

But so is my neighbor-dog cute. She is a 4 year-old yellow lab named Mia. Cute name, too, huh?

She is a dog and she whispers so she must be a dog whisperer!

So, What is a Dog Whisperer?

A real dog-whisperer does not shout with his body but uses smooth movements and gives the dog a few seconds to comprehend. A real dog whisperer trains with body language and hand signals. Only when the dog understands that, does a real dog-whisperer use verbal cues but never issues commands (commands, when not complied with, are followed by punishment – on the other hand, a positive-reinforcement trainer offers a dog opportunities to be rewarded and if the dog does not comply [rarely], nothing happens)

But Who is the REAL Dog Whisperer?

Mia-the-dog lives in a condominium complex that resembles a resort. The dozen buildings are small with four units to a side (two sides) while sidewalks weave like paths among all the buildings – a really cute place to live - and relatively safe.

Mia loves to perch herself on the sofa with her head on the arm and gaze out the window, only occasionally falling asleep, most often after breakfast for a few hours.

But she wakens quickly when she smells or hears someone (or some dog) walking past on the paths between the buildings, which are quite popular. Then she barks. And barks. And barks.

Could it be. . . ?

Fortunately I have trained Mia the Dog to bark once and then whisper (woof), so maybe she really is the Dog Whisperer. I like a woof here and there and the neighbors also prefer a woof over a bark and a bark and a bark, ad infinitum.

Life is so much better for us and for the humans in Mia’s family – and for our neighbors, now that we have a Dog Whisperer.

“Raise with Praise”

 But the original real ‘dog whisperer’ is perhaps Paul Owens, a dog trainer (for 43 years) in California who is also a ‘puppy whisperer.’ He is also the author of The Dog Whisperer: A Compassionate, Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training, and The Puppy Whisperer: A Compassionate, Non Violent [sic] Guide to Early Training and Care, and The Dog Whisperer Presents: Good Habits for Great Dogs as well as dog training DVDs.  Owens, the real and original dog whisperer, became influential among dog people and positive dog professionals more than 15 years ago and even has his own training program to certify new family-dog trainers. Check him out! You’ll be glad you did!

And then you will turn your TV off – after all, one cannot learn how to train a dog merely by watching TV!

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