A dog’s innate instincts are key to its obedience, expert says

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Manchester - posted Wed., Jul. 24, 2013
Certified dog listener Phil Klein spoke to dog-lovers at the Mary Cheney Library on July 22. He advises dog-owners to stop humanizing pets and learn to understand their instincts. Photo by Jennifer Coe.
Certified dog listener Phil Klein spoke to dog-lovers at the Mary Cheney Library on July 22. He advises dog-owners to stop humanizing pets and learn to understand their instincts. Photo by Jennifer Coe.

According to certified dog listener Phil Klein, a Manchester resident, the clues to having a successful owner/pet relationship with your canine stem from his or her wolf ancestry. Klein told a crowd of about 30 people at Mary Cheney Library on July 22 that it was time that they learn the “language of their dog” and understand its wolf pack mentality.

“You don’t have to tell me what breed it is,” said Klein, “because they all work the same.”

Klein teaches a particular style of dog training called Amichien Bonding, a methodology designed by Jan Fennell, an English dog trainer. The questions and concerns from the crowd came fast and furious throughout the entire presentation:

“How do I stop my dog from growling at me when he is near his food bowl?”

“My dog chews on all my shoes.”

“Our dog pees on the floor.”

The Amichien Bonding methodology of canine training is based on the belief that dogs are still innately tied to their wolf ancestors - that they think that someone has to be the leader of the pack, and it comes down to you or the dog. When, through lack of knowledge, an owner inadvertently sends the message that he or she will be subservient to the dog, the dog takes on the stressful role of leader.

Klein’s own dog, Abby, came to his family with behavior problems. “Abby was the first dog I had owned that made me realize that I didn’t have a clue about dogs,” he said. “She went from the dog we didn’t want to the best dog. My dog changed my life!” Now retired, Klein teaches dog training and speaks to groups for free.

Klein encouraged attendees to stop viewing their dogs as humans and see them for what they really are: canines. “We try to relate to them in a human way,” he said. “We are looking at the dog through our eyes.” This, said Klein, is incorrect. Sometimes, said Klein, their behavior doesn’t seem to make sense to us, or we even mistakenly interpret it as vengeful, but “their behavior is always logical,” said Klein, “to them.”

“They are happier if we are the leaders,” he advised. “Our goal is to convince our dogs that we have the right stuff to lead the pack, then the dog is no longer stressed out.”

Many owners were nodding their heads and remarking on the fact that this method was so simple and yet had eluded them.
Don’t use gadgets or violence, said Klein, and gain the dog’s trust that you are in control.

Some enlightening moments were had when Klein explained that from the dog’s perspective, when you go out, it’s like he is the parent and you are a 2-year-old leaving the house. He chews to calm himself down. You return and he is happy, “Baby is home!” The whole group laughed at this analogy, but, it rang true for many.

Klein’s advice: “Look at the world through the dog’s eyes. The thing that causes all the behaviors we don’t want is how we interact,” he said. “It’s not the dog, it’s us!”

For more of Klein’s advice, visit his website www.philthedoglistener.com.


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