WHAT IS A
WHAT IS A DOG WHISPERER?
The term Dog Whisperer is often referred to as someone who has a unique ability in communicating, observing, and creating a connection with a dog based on understanding and trust. It is based on knowledge, skill, and a unique ability to understand how a dog is thinking, feeling and their ability to understand the dog. It is different to dog training; it is the ability to understand a dog's true innate behaviour and psychology. A true Dog Whisperer is more akin to a Dog Behaviourist or Dog Psychologist.
There are many dog trainers out there who call themselves Dog Whisperers with no formal education in Dog Psychology. But more often than not, this is nothing more than just marketing in an attempt to make their training techniques sound different. The true Dog Whisperers harness their unique ability to know what dogs are thinking and feeling and couple this with formal education and training in Dog Behaviour and Animal Psychology. They also rely heavily on science-based best practices based on decades of research about animal learning, behaviour and psychology.
HOW DO DOGS COMMUNICATE?
A dog communicates without using words. A Dog Whisperer ‘hears what your dog is saying by looking at body language, personality traits, muscle tension, what behaviours that they are performing, plus many other minor cues - which are all important. They can often do all of this whilst reading a dog at a glance. To some, it can seem like they have some kind of unique power. This is what happens when you couple a unique ability with formal training and bucket loads of experience. They can make the most bizarre and extreme dog behaviour problems seem simple! With owners often saying things like ‘I can’t believe I didn’t see this myself’ or ‘I have tried everything over the years and seen countless dog trainers and it was staring me in the face the whole time!’.
WHAT DOES A DOG WHISPERER DO?
A Dog Whisperer is in tune with how your dog thinks and feels. As such, they know how to solve dog behaviour problems and can even prevent problems from occurring due to their knowledge of different dog breeds and different personalities of dogs. Their job is to identify where the communication between the dog and the owner has broken down and then intervene and act like an interpreter communicating between the two of them. Where a behaviour problem exists, they will develop a behaviour modification plan that is tailormade to address the specific situation between the dog and owner. A Dog Behaviourist’s job is to teach you how to lead and communicate with your dog positively to achieve a desired outcome or good behaviour.
DO WE 'DOG WHISPER' HERE AT ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR AUSTRALIA?
We most certainly do! Dionna Newton, the founder and lead Dog Behaviourist at Animal Behaviour Australia has grown up around dogs. Since childhood, she always had an uncanny ability to know what a dog was thinking and feeling. This is what led her to train as an Animal Behaviourist. A good Dog Whisperer will have a unique ability plus formal education and training in their field. Dionna is originally from the UK and has a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree. Her Honours project focused on animal behaviour. She started some training in Animal Psychology at university and then trained specifically on Pet Animal Psychology through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE) – a training college that specifically teaches Pet Animal Behaviour.
As an Animal Behaviourist, she is not a Dog Trainer or a Vet. She is an Animal Psychologist who works alongside your Vet. Her value is that she looks at what is motivating and driving your pet to perform the behaviour it is and then advises how to re-direct the unwanted behaviour to an alternative suitable behaviour that is acceptable to both you and your pet. She works with Pet Owners to find solutions to their pet's behavioural problems, but she also provides Preventative Consultations to enable owners to avoid problem behaviour from the start by enabling them to truly understand the unique personality of their pet.
Every Dog Whisperer loves dogs. Most prefer dogs to people! They do what they do to help dogs. They help them by helping you, the dog’s owner, to help them. You are the best person to help them. You just need to know how.
Dionna says ’if you love your dog then you are the best person to help them’. She can show you how to help them.
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