The Loved Dog

The Loved Dog

As everyone knows, I am a huge animal lover and especially obsessed with my rescue dog, Maverick. When I first got Maverick, I right away did all the traditional things you do for a puppy; potty train, leash training, and basic manners. I did lessons with dog trainers to teach the basics of sit, stay, lay down etc. and he learned all of this with flying colors. He never has had an accident in my apartment and taught himself to sit by the door when he has to go to the bathroom; basically a genius.

After we did all the basic training for the first year I felt that he was a pretty well rounded puppy. He is now a year and a half and has always been a good dog with the occasional barking when a stranger comes in my apartment. Almost two months ago, Maverick started showing signs of aggression when we would go on walks and see other dogs or people on the street. In the beginning, I took his pulling on the leash as excitement about the walk and wanting to play with other dogs, but it turned out to be more than that. His ‘excitement’ on walks turned into barking and aggressive behavior towards other dogs, leaving me tugging on his leash to gain some control. Shortly after this poor behavior on walks began, Maverick then took it a step further when he aggressively lunged toward a man in my apartment hallway teeth out ready to go.

When this happened not only was I beyond horrified that my dog would behave this way but I began right away wondering what I had done wrong as a dog parent, and the anxious spinning questions began. Should I have done something differently, was he protecting me or our apartment that he views as his territory, should I have noticed signs leading up to this sooner etc. Of course I began jumping to conclusions, and decided I messed up my dog and went wrong somewhere and now have an aggressive dog that was doomed and unfixable. I called my mom right away (yes on the verge of tears) and told her what had happened. After explaining my horror I then told her that I wasn’t going to have kids because if I raised such an aggressive dog, what would I do to a child!? DRAMATIC I know!

The Loved Dog

After my mom calmed me down, she told me she was going to call her friend, Oprah (currently she has 6 dogs), who knows and loves animals more than anyone we know. When we told her about the aggressive behavior from Maverick she said one thing “Tamar!” Oprah obviously has access to all the dog trainers in the world but said that Tamar Geller not only loves dogs, but understands that they are not just “animals” but members of the family. She also said she used Tamar to bring “manners” to her two, former hellion cocker springer spaniels.

Right away she emailed me the contact info for Tamar and I called her that night to schedule our first meeting. One of the first things she told me on the phone, is that she is not a traditional dog trainer; she doesn’t teach the whole sit, stay, down thing. She told me she wanted me to learn why my dog behaved the way he did and where it comes from and how to love him and learn from this incident. She also told me, this would not be a lesson only for my dog but it would be a learning experience for me as well, and boy was she right!    Over the next few weeks I am going to show you guys the dramatic change I have seen in Maverick and his overall demeanor. It’s seriously unreal. After the first lesson, Maverick was different. He started defensive, territorial and not allowing Tamar to even come near him. Instead of forcing herself upon Maverick, she spent an hour getting to know him and allowing him to get to know her and develop trust for her. By the end of the lesson, Maverick was rolling over on his back, begging for her attention and affection, and when she left, he sat at our door crying and waiting for her to come back.

The Loved Dog

I know a lot of this might sound cooky, but to train your dog with love and understanding, instead of aggression and anger, is so much more affective and life-changing for the relationship you have with your dog. It also teaches you a lot about your own behavior and energy and how that affects your dog. One of the first things my mother and Oprah said to me when I was freaking out about my dog, is that my anxiety and nervousness about his behavior translates to his energy and behavior. It really is true that your dog picks up a lot of what you put down, just like a child.

I share this with you all because I know so many of you have animals, and always want to know more about being a better person to your pet. I love to share my struggles and how I learn from them and grow, and being a first time dog owner (not as a child in my parents house), is a big learning process that never ends. Everyone who has a pet knows that they not only become a part of your family, but that the emotional bond you develop with your pet is so deep that you will do whatever it takes to better understand and help your pet be the happiest they can be. As Tamar says, “dogs are sent to us to open our hearts, teach us how to show up in the world & be training wheels for us to practice our communications skills with everyone in our life. Dogs make us human!”

 

A Little bit more about Tamar:

The Loved Dog method is based on founder Tamar Geller’s observation of the social behavior and spirituality of wild wolves in the desert of Israel.

At the loved dog, we want to empower the dog to be all that they could be and the owner/”parent” to be a benevolent leader.

In dog training, there are two extreme styles of leadership:

  • The Saddam Hussain style – where the leader is dominant and he makes everyone else be submissive and fearful.
  • The Ghandi style – where the leader empowers everyone to be more than they ever dreamed was possible.

At The Loved Dog we obviously subscribe to Gandhi’s method. We do it through understanding the WHY behind a dog’s behavior and find ways to answer his/her needs in ways that make the dog feel good while meeting the needs of the owner.

Most of the training is done the way the wolves do it, through games, where the dog is not only having fun and enjoying the training process, but also falls deeply in love with his/her “parent”.

At the loved dog, we are against any painful devices such as the prong collar or choke chain. We actually do all the training off-leash right away (in an inclosed area). Only when the dog knows the new behaviors, which happens very quickly, is when the leash is added to the already trained dog

We view the dog as a family member, instead of an accessory, and we see ourselves as his/her adoptive “parents”.  In addition, we see dogs as life coaches to humans. We believe that they often act as a mirror to us and guide us deeper into having the courage to show up and love fully. They teach us how love freely, unconditionally and courageously (even if we have been hurt before), how to be better communicators, how to see into someone’s heart and not judge their outside, not be impressed by superficial things, how to be better parents, partners, and leaders, and all around how to be a better person.

Tamar has The Loved Dog Center in Los Angeles, which is an award winning doggie daycare and a cage-free kennel. Tamar wrote two books: “The Loved Dog” (a NYT bestseller) and “30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog”, and has a DVD “Celebrate Your Dog”.

For more on The Loved Dog visit www.theloveddog.com

Facebook: tamar.geller

Instagram: theloveddog

One Comment

  1. Rakesh Arya says:

    Maverick so decent & obedient……..& u with beautiful smile .