This is just a narrative of end of the year bits and pieces of information and news. First of all, there were dogs that passed over the Rainbow Bridge this year. No longer suffering, but eagerly awaiting our arrival. If you search “Dogs in religion” Wikipedia has an interesting article that explores dogs and how religions view them. “The Ancient Greek philosopher and critic of social mores Diogenes of Sinope was recorded as living with many dogs, seeing their freedom from self-consciousness and sincere enjoyment of simple physical pleasure to be admirable role models.” [Wikipedia, “Dogs in Religion”] I’m sure we all agree…
I’m usually called a dog trainer, although nothing could be further from the truth; I teach people how communicate clearly to their dogs so that we don’t fault them for not following the ridiculousness that can be human communication. Energy is everything in Canis Lupis Familiariis world. I got to see human transformation and meet some great fellow people trainers when I travelled to Cesar Millan’s (Dog Whisperer) Dog Psychology Center and ranch twice this year. Once as a student for Fundamentals I & II, and then was asked to return as a volunteer assistant for both classes. Environment is important and Cesar has an amazing piece of property where, the second you park and walk through the livestock pens, peace and comfort truly wash over you. Additionally, everyone is incredibly supportive and helpful and I love working in those environments. And yes, he is a peaceful, humble, and true animal behavior genius.
With that said, I have been concentrating on a different and more silent communication teaching for our humans and how they relate to their dogs. Behavior is inherent, and no wolfpack carries to treats to “calm down” dogs who misbehave. They instead create and then enforce rules/boundaries/limitations and nurture the “follow” state of mind. Humans who don’t do this will inherently fail – perhaps not immediately but eventually. You know what to change; challenge yourself to be a different – and better – Pack Leader.
Kamp K-9 Jax Bch served 494 clients in 2018 alone, up from 397 in 2017. This coming year I hope to reach more people through a number of group projects in the works. The Canine Leadership Class will still be offered, but the number scheduled this year will probably be reduced slightly. I will still do one-on-one sessions, but they will be spread out a little more than I have done in the past (sometimes doing 3 aggression cases in one day is not the smartest thing!). I have also been asked to be the Training Director for Dog Park Operations at the new “Brewhound”, a tap room and coffee/tea business to soon open. It will have a leashed area and an off-leash dog park area, and my vision is to offer customers a dog park that will be run as it is supposed to run where everyone has fun and provides a safe environment that prevents problems instead of intervention only.
My good friends and dog ohana Kamp K-9 HI and I have planned for a one-day workshop in “Canine Leadership: Pack Leaders in Paradise” on O’ahu somewhere between April 23 and May 7, TBA. Bertha is fantastic at creating big dog events with fun vendors. It is going to be fast-paced, fun, interactive, and – of course – will include a pack walk with the whole pack! Hawai’i is very dog friendly from the beaches to the area stores and restaurants and parks. The last time we were there in Kailua, Lisa and I counted 30 dogs walking with their owners on a loose leash in a follow state of mind. Only one was wild, and that was a little puppy. I recounted that observation to Bertha from Kamp K-9 HI and added that if we moved there I might not have a job. She replied, “Oh, that’s just THAT side of the island; you’d have plenty of work here!” We are really excited to be returning to not only see friends and clients from the last time but also to find my connections from Facebook and Instagram that are leaders in their businesses (Poi Dog Treats and 808 Raw Pet Food to name just 2) and explore future possibilities for training in the area to create great Pack Leaders in Paradise.
It’s not necessary to live in Hawai’i to create your own paradise with your dog. Stop being so human and Respect the Walk. The 3 keys to your relationship are Trust, Respect, Love (which goes both ways). Create rules and enforce them. And remember that we control Calm, Confidence, Joy/excitement, and Love. But you can’t create what you can’t control and still be a pack leader. Or any kind of leader!
Until next time, enjoy the time with your dogs – it’s relatively short lived so don’t make things difficult for them. And, if you have the wrong dog for your family, please give the dog a chance to go to the right home. That’s trust, respect, and love in action.