Most dog owners are familiar with the "Dog Whisperer," Cesar Millan, who is seen on television transforming problem dogs into manageable and pleasant family pets. Linn Boyke is one of only three people trained by Cesar and he now offers a 30-day shadow program in Los Angeles. Lori Chandler of Pine and one other person were chosen to spend 30 days listening and learning as they followed Boyke on his consultations, his workshops and throughout each day while he worked with a wide variety of dogs.
For the first 10 days of the program, the students were not allowed to speak. At first this seemed strange and unnecessary to Lori until she realized that if you are talking, you are not listening. They quickly saw the need to find other ways to communicate, to feel like a dog. Only 25 percent of incoming information comes through the dog's ears, 15 percent comes through the eyes and 60 percent through the nose.
The course is based on dog psychology, which, Lori said, "is about relating to our dog in a way he understands and living in a manner that dogs can relate to similarly to how they relate to themselves. The dog must respect the leader who decides when he eats, sleeps, migrates and hunts in the wild pack."
Dogs need to be calm and submissive before and after any activity. If they are going for a ride, they need to wait quietly before getting into the car. When it's time for a walk, the dog should sit quietly while the leash is attached. If someone comes to the door, the dog must sit quietly while the door is being opened.
Cesar, in his programs, deals with lots of dogs and people with aggressive dogs. Lori learned that aggression is not fixed, it is managed.
Lori shadowed Boyke to 14 consultations with dog owners and their dogs during the program. All but one were successful in that the dogs showed immediate improvement and the clients were happy and motivated to follow the suggested methods.
"The last consultation was at the center and had a different outcome and it was a light bulb moment for me," Lori said. "A woman drove all the way from San Diego with her pit bull who had gotten into two fights and she was seeking help to remedy the situation.
"Both she and the dog walked in obviously shaken, partly due to the freeway experience. Boyke took the leash and within minutes, the dog relaxed and was walking calmly by some crated dogs.
"He asked me to let a particular dog out of the crate to test the degree of aggression. Hearing this, the client screamed and threw her hands in the air and over her eyes in sheer terror.
"Linn stopped the consultation at that point as it became apparent that it was about the client, not the dog. Her fear of an event that may or may not happen actually caused the very thing she feared the most.
"I knew then how important it is to help the client acknowledge that what is going on with them is also going to go on with the dog."
Lori hopes to help dog owners in our communities solve problems with their dogs so that dogs are not returned to the humane society. However, people must match their energy with the needs of the dogs. Too often, a poor match ends in disaster. Exercise, discipline and affection need to be kept in balance. Even lap dogs need exercise, says Lori. And dogs must be challenged to think. Physical and mental energy must be balanced.
Lori is presenting a short seminar to share her incredible experience at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Pine arena. There is no charge for this program, but you need to bring a chair. No dogs, please. A shelter dog that Lori has not met will be used for demonstration purposes. Call Margie Mansell at (602) 312-6992 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space. The Pine arena is on Old County Road. Watch for the red barn and horse arena.
Lori will also be at "Dog Day in the Park" Saturday, Oct. 21.
Remember the I Love My Dog show, sponsored by the Soroptimists, will be Saturday, Sept. 30 at Rumsey Park ramada #5. Registration is $5 for each dog and $1 to run the agility course. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The show starts at 10 a.m.