Deborah Suter

Architect, artist, craftswoman and researcher
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Mexican living in Carouge, Switzerland. Beginner in all things doggo, but super in love and enthusiast about my pup. Love to hike, ski, climbing, wheel throwing and eating :)

Is this technique going to radically change the way we interact with dogs?

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So, I haven't finished the book (How Stella learned to talk) but there is one thought on my mind since I started thinking about introducing my doggo to this method: isn't this kind of communication sort of contrary to what they teach you at doggo-school? Trainers have always told me (very generalized!): if you dog asks for attention, and you do not start it / don't have time, ignore him. For example: dog barks, you ignore until he is quiet and then praise / treat.
However, even though Christina never explicitly says so, she does the opposite. She pays attention to Stella every time Stella tries to let her know something, and explains to her why she can or can't do whatever she is asking for. So it is kinda like the way people are educating kids nowadays: they talk to them, explain them everything, ask them for their opinion on important choices, etc. When I was small, and I asked "why?", my mom responded "because I say so". That made me angry and frustrated!

Since I decided to begin to teach my dog to "talk", I have started explaining to him that sometimes he can't have what he asks for (more food, play, walk, etc). I have noticed that his frustration is less, and he is much calmer when I say "play later", than when I just ignored his attempts to engage with me, the way I was taught to do in dog-school...
I am starting to change the way I educate my dog: instead of motivating him with food, I talk to him. And I have the feeling that it is much more easy to interact with my pet that way than to try to bribe him into doing so.

I think this method is revolutionary and hopefully many many people will adapt it, as they did with positive reinforcement a couple of years ago. I hate to see depressed, absent, maniac dogs at peoples homes, just laying around, bored out of their minds. It saddens me that there are people that see animals just as an accessory, and do not want to give them the best life possible. When I got Gamma, my first dog, it was primordial to have a the best relationship with him. I didn't want him to become that sad dog in the middle of the living room, lying around waiting for someone to have mercy on him and interact with him. Someone told me once "don't worry, dogs sleep most of the day". I then found strange that my puppy didn't, he was always trying to engage, explore and play with me. "ignore him, he'll calm down"... I am happy to have been attentive to my dog and to have found this method!

What do you think?! Am I crazy?? Have you had the same experience or observations?
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