I’m never going to get rich from dog-training.  It would be wonderful if I was able to develop a bullet-pointed, annotated, technique rich, program that I could take on the road as a way to make a living.  Karen Pryor has her Clicker Expo.  Cesar Millan has a road-tour.  Michael Ellis has well attended seminars all over the country.  Roger Abrantes is known globally for his speaking engagements.  And there are lots more…

"I already know how to learn!  Now it's YOUR turn!"

“I already know how to learn! Now it’s YOUR turn!”

If  I developed such a speaking tour, each date would probably last less than 15 minutes, and my audience, (If they showed up at all) would feel as though I owed them more time for their investment.  I can give you the foundation of the Communicative Approach in just about 5 minutes, with 10 minutes left over for audience questions and a friendly meet-and-greet.  Write an entire book on the subject?  Five or six total pages does not a book make…The reason for this anti-marketing of myself and the Communicative Approach is simply this:  YOU alone are responsible to define, develop, and practice your communication with your dog.  The steps leading to that goal are straightforward, self-revealing, and they come from within YOU…Not a long-winded seminar, not a book, and not a DVD.  Not that I’m criticizing those talented trainers out there with something concrete that enables them to produce an actual “Program”, or  “Training System”.  They are certainly out there.  I recently reviewed Angie Winters new “3 Dog Days” dvd and it was wonderful…I love the Michael Ellis DVD’s produced thru the groundbreaking Leerburg company…and there are others.

But the Communicative Approach to Training Theory (C.A.T.T.)  does not make that approach possible.  The Heart cannot be fully instructed externally.  Your heart could NOT sit in a classroom and be taught to love,  develop relationships, or empathize with other living things in a meaningful way.  That comes from within you…That’s why this post carries the title above and this warning:

“Do Not Attempt This Technique Without Consulting Your Motives and Commitment. “

Many people “own” dogs.  Some because it’s a status symbol to have a cute little dog in your shoulder bag. (Think Paris Hilton)  Others because the dog is used as a tool to achieve some dubious and highly questionable honor or personal glory. (Think Michael Vick)  A few don’t think having a dog thru with any understanding. (“Hey…A cute little puppy!  That would be a great Christmas present for the kids!  What breed is it??”)  Others have the wrong motive entirely.  (I want me a dawg that’ll attack anybody that comes around my house or property!)Granted, perhaps Paris Hilton takes good care of her pup.  Or pays someone to do it for her.  I’m seeking evidence that her Chinese Crested is more than just another Helsburg Diamond to her.

But there also those owners/trainers that do pursue good training for the dog, and for themselves.  Yet something it missing.  I’ve seen them at schutzhund, agility, and formal dog shows.  The dog is incapable of socializing properly with people and other dogs, so they spend the balance of their time in a crate,often covered with a blanket to keep the dogs world insular.  The dog’s life is simply to perform when commanded.  They are trained as little robots…Thankfully, these types are not common.  Most Dog people at least try to develop a relationship that fulfills their dog.

So now I’m going to give you the only bullet-pointed list that goes with the Communicative Approach to Training Theory.  I will expand upon each of them in upcoming posts, but I hope you can think about each of them, and come to your own conclusions.  They work with  formal training methods, not replacing them.  You still need to learn about training.  But go beyond them, and embrace these attitudes, and you will  find success beyond your expectations!  (Note: These are NOT in order of importance.  That order can change and be adjusted every day)

* Love Your Dog

*Live With Your Dog

*Listen To Your Dog

*Learn With Your Dog

*Learn About Your Dog

*Learn Your  Chosen  Method Well

* Prioritize Play With Your Dog

There you go…The foundation of the Communicative Approach.  Next up, I’ll expand on each of these.  I believe that if we all practice these attitudes, our dogs will be better, our training will be better, and you just might learn something about yourself…Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to FOLLOW us!!!

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Comments
  1. Rebecca says:

    You have encapsulated what I have been unable to answer when I am asked, “How do you get a dog like that.” They are referring, of course, to the pretty little German Shepherd at my side, four feet on the floor, tail swaying at our latest adventure, natural grin behind slightly shy eyes. They generally do not mean her appearance, they mean her behavior.

    She came from the shelter with no idea what to do with people except put her feet on them, grab their hands in her mouth and slather their skin with “kisses” until they were a sopping mess. I expected that at some point my wild child would be ready for her public and raised her accordingly, mostly by expecting that she would behave and then helping her to understand what that meant in practical terms for her. NILIF works great in that respect. She is not yet 100% “trained”, but then, she also no longer thinks her name is “No.” or “Not again!”

    Sure, we went to a couple of really good obedience classes, but I also tried a lot of things to see what SHE liked. She did not like Treiball. The sheep did not enjoy herding nearly as much as she did (and for their sake we stopped). She does not yet possess the maturity or focus for tracking – oh look, a butterfly. 🙂 But Agility, she LOVES agility and she’s really good at it when she isn’t racing around the course flying over things at random. We are having FUN doing something together and I come home and brag to hubby that our little girl will now do 6 obstacles in a row before getting the zoomies! (Shooting for 7 next week.) The woman teaching the class commented about how both of us approach this with such joy. When my girl vaults a tunnel (again) and stands there with her TA-DA stance, tongue lolling out the side of her mouth, eyes shining – that is what having a relationship with a dog is all about.