Animal Communicator, Cindy Smith

Cesar Millan—Discipline vs. Direction

I recently learned in the 21st Century Dog class taught by Kim Brophey, APDT outstanding trainer of the year, that dogs don’t learn if they are in a fearful state. The fight or flight state is a primitive, all-consuming response to fear, whether it comes from a person or a predator. In any training situation, it’s important that you stay calm so that you don’t frighten your dog. A relaxed dog can more effectively learn what you want them to do. If you find yourself getting frustrated, it might be a good time to take a break. A word about Cesar Millan’s approach: I like his emphasis on exercise, his “calm and assertive vs. reactive and emotional response to dogs”, and his discussion of embodying the energy of a leader. When he says, “Calm, assertive leader,” I translate that to mean: You need to know what you want your dog to do, you need to communicate it clearly, and you need to remain patient as they learn what you’re asking for. I wish he had said, “exercise, direction, and affection” rather than “exercise, discipline, and affection”. It seems people can be confused about his definition of discipline and interpret it to mean punishment. What your dog really needs is clear direction. Remembering that your words create pictures be sure to describe the behavior you want instead of the behavior you don’t want (“Quiet.” instead of “No barking!”).

We cats know that the placement of the litter box is critical for successful use. The same holds true for dogs. For dogs who must go to the bathroom inside, don’t put their pee pad next to their food and water bowls. If you must place both items in the same room, be certain that they are not near each other.

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Hot Pavement
As my sister, Sharon, would say, “Would you walk barefoot on that pavement?” She ran into a Great Dane being walked on a pier made of sizzling concrete. My sister touched the pavement and realized how hot it was. She mentioned it to the dog’s person, who touched the pavement, shrieked, and ran with the Dane off of the pier. Because we are usually wearing shoes, we can be unaware of how hot surfaces are effecting our dog's feet. Sand at the beach, sidewalks, asphalt parking lots, and wooden decks are just some of the examples of hot surfaces that we ask our dogs to walk on. Please be aware of how hot the surfaces are for your dog during the summer. My
assistant, Emmie, has noticed people coming off of the hiking trail and continuing their conversation in the hot parking lot with their dogs still on leash. When you finish that great hike with your friends and your dogs, wrap up that conversation on the shady trail rather than in the parking lot. And if you see someone who isn’t aware, gently suggest that they touch the pavement.

Hot Cars
We all know not to leave our dogs in hot cars during the summer. But some of us may not be aware that leaving a dog in a running car with the air conditioner going can result in a tragedy. There have been recent accounts of K-9 police officers who did just this. Their cars overheated. And in order cool the engine, the car automatically converted the air conditioning to heat and the dogs died of heat stroke. Shade doesn’t provide as much relief as you might think. On a day that reaches over 90 degrees, it is still too hot to leave your dog outside while you are at work, even if he can find shade.

4th of July
It’s a rare dog who enjoys fireworks. They would rather stay home, securely closed in the house, than go to the celebration with you (where they can get spooked, slip their collar, and run away). Stay mindful of this as your neighbors extend the celebration prior to and beyond the 4th.

Do-It-Yourself Animal Communication My new CD is now available. It's called “Talk to Your Animals in a Language They Understand”. This is the most basic and simple part of animal communication, and if practiced, can resolve lots of problems before they even occur. The cost is $12 (price includes shipping and handling) and you can pay by paypal - use the button below and don't forget to include your address.

Slippery Floors and old Dogs

As my sweet, older dogs become less steady on their feet, I’ve realized how difficult hardwood floors are on their bodies. Slippery floors are hard to lie on but even harder to maneuver on. I’ve solved this by going to a building supply store and buying rubber backed mats and runners to put in the traffic patterns in my house. (A decorator’s nightmare, but my dogs are happy!) 828-686-4564