A while ago I, rather unexpectedly and with a feeling of “what’s going on here” attended a workshop at Toscanzahoeve about “Training an exercise as a means to an end” given by Peter Beekman.
My dog Lambik accompanied me, because we still want to improve our learning skills at educational level. I was the only non-behavioural therapist there. All the other participants were behavioural therapists for dogs. Oh, oh, what am I doing here?
It was a very educational day. Peter’s way of teaching is very clear; he gives examples and everything is experience-oriented. After this lesson, I looked at dog breeding again (not only about raising dogs, it encouraged me to scrutinize ways of dealing with other “issues”)
For example, there are standard ways to teach your dog to sit. However maybe it might be an idea to study your own dog to see what works best for your dog? You probably do not have a ‘standard’ dog and there is also a possibility that you are not a ‘standard’ owner … It is often the owner of the dog who is unclear which makes it difficult for the dog to understand what is required and so the dog appears to be disobedient. Let’s turn this around; what can I do as an owner to show my dog what the desired response is? This way you can help your dog in a ‘thinking process’. All this combined with positive reinforcement if your dog offers the desired response.
At one point the following was said: when corrections are used in an effort to create surety your dog will enter into a state of mind of “learned helplessness.” The dog has no option but to listen and obey. It is not something that is just specific to dogs, we see it in other animals, horses for example. The animal does everything that is asked of it, but there is no sparkle of personality to be seen. This also occurs in humans and can lead to depression and mental disorders.
I learned a lot during this lesson and would encourage anyone (not just behavioural therapists) to follow a course or workshop with Peter Beekman. Hopefully he will soon come back to Toscanzahoeve!
Osteopathy for horses and dogs