I put together this gallery of photos from nearly 300 shots I made of these dogs playing last week. The three of them play together most week days. The basenji comes and goes on the scene. The others have refined their play to a very elegant, ritualistic and above all polite interaction. I must say that it gives me extraordinary pleasure to see so much dog spoken and understood. That is not to say that it lacks intensity; it does not. They are so comfortable with each other that they are able to know the precise moment to suspend the action. I have not needed to intervene in their play very often of late, except for the basenji who gets very aroused very fast and bears close monitoring. I’ve been watching this group very closely now for quite awhile and I find that I can make sense of good deal of the communication between them. I find it fascinating that when dogs are playing they make all the same moves they use when they actually hunt and fight. But it is understood that this not the real thing. It is play. It is play because at the outset they have sent each other very clear signals, by means of their extremely complex and amazingly sophisticated body language. “Now we are playing.” So they self-handicap to fit each other’s capabilities. Among mammals, humans and dogs are the most playful species by far.
Entries from October 2010
October 26th, 2010 · No Comments · Photo Gallery
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October 17th, 2010 · No Comments · Book Reviews
I first read “Bones Would Rain from the Sky” about five years ago when I was searching for approaches that I could use in the training of a difficult dog. At that time I was not ready for this book. It was much more subtle than my understanding of the human/canine bond could apprehend. I was still overly concerned with the mechanical and concrete aspects of life with a dog. When I came across this title in the library catalogue I recalled that I had read it but couldn’t remember it. As I went through the material I realized that it would not have seemed that useful to me or even have really made much sense to me five years ago. Much of what the author had to say sounded quite familiar, not because of my previous reading of it, rather because it reflected a good deal of what I have learned by experience living and working with an amazing variety of dogs. It was an astounding validation of my self- directed experience and research. I would recommend this book to you if you feel ready to deepen your relationship with your dog. Suzanne Clothier self identifies as a holistic dog trainer. To give some idea as to just what this means I offer the following quote, from the opening of her chapter called “The Quality of Connection” : “When we enter into a relationship with a dog or any other being we are seeking a connection or, perhaps more accurately, what we feel as a result of this connection: comfort, love, acceptance, peace, joy. What we are seeking and striving for is a quality of connection that is – hopefully- a mutually pleasurable state, a dance of two spirits moving in agreement.”
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