Monday, January 29, 2007

Gazehound's Animal Communication News: January/February 2007

*January/February 2007

Keeping in touch with the animals....
and the people who love them

The Beauty of "Training"

In a casual discussion, recently, someone seemed slightly surprised when I mentioned that I often recommend training plans when a pet is having behavior issues.  I guess, since I'm an animal communicator, the person assumed that I'd simply suggest "communication reminders".  It is a natural conclusion, but those who've been reading this e-news, or have known me, for any time will know that I consider interspecies communication  "one tool among many".

We animals, of all species, speak many languages.  Thought, vocal, body, emotional ... all of these ways of communication are languages that come to us naturally, and that we can observe and polish as we strive to understand one another better.  I consider "training" another language that we can share with our animal friends ... the repetition of a concept, to help the animal adjust to a way of life that makes living together more pleasant and easier on everyone involved.

To me, training is not just a way to "make your dog do what you want it to".  It's a means of communication that is very much two-way.  To be a good trainer, one must become a good observer, learn to read an animal, and know what is on its mind.  By observing and understanding the animal's body language and responses, we learn how the animal is reacting to the training, where we need to modify our approach, and when our friend is ready to move on to the next stage, among other things.  By scheduling regular training sessions, we spend true quality time with our friend;  we communicate with them, and clarifying our communications, in a very precise and easily measurable way.  Training sessions are great practice for our communication skills, for as we use positive reinforcement to let an animal know,  "Yes, you did understand what I wanted, thank you!", we are also sharpening our own powers of observation and timing.  We are using another entire language to enhance our understanding of our animals, their understanding of us, and our lives together.

I  am a fan of clicker training and other positive methods, as well as training approaches that embrace a deep understanding of the natural behavior of an animal.  Don't let my cats hear me say this, but all animals, of all species, can be "trained" if the training is done positively and in an understanding manner.  There are, of course, many animals who will respond badly, even shut down, to harsh training methods, but it is rare to meet an animal who does not appreciate positive reinforcement and praise.   As I've researched the clicker training communities on the web, for example, I've found people who use the method to improve their relationships with everyone from dogs and cats to rabbits to birds to zoo animals and  horses.  I have also  been researching natural horsemanship, such as the Parelli method, and learning more about how these horsemen use their knowledge and understanding of a horse's natural instincts and behaviors to become both partner and friend to the animal, and progress in a safe and respectful manner in their human-equine relationship. 


Although my own animals are
primarily trained in "basic social skills", in effort to help everyone live together in harmony, I know many people who use positive training methods to take them to the higher levels of competition, as they have fun with their animals while bringing the friendship they share to new depths.  The best trainers, the ones who have impressed and delighted me with their knowledge and positive attitude, all consider themselves as much a learner as the teacher, and affirm that they learn as much or more from their animals as the animals learn from them.  Their training sessions are true two-way exchanges that bring new life to the relationship.

If ever you wish to view a sublime example of communication, of how training together can truly make magic of an animal/human relationship, simply watch a high level dressage competition, or a finely tuned team at an agility or canine freestyle trial.  Now there is "communication" that can be measured, recorded, and preserved in the record books!

So remember, as you strive to understand your animals better, engaging in daily training sessions with them will not only lead to better-behaved pets, but a deeper and more satisfying relationship as well.



Don't forget that you can keep up with changes and info on rates, policies, and "other fun stuff" on my website:, and that you can find archives of this newsletter and other articles on my Creature Thoughts Blog:   

Special Offer to Benefit STOLA (Saluki Tree of Life Alliance):   As many of you know, I'm one of the founders of, and a past board member and President of, the national Saluki rescue group, STOLA.  For a limited time, I am making a $10 donation to the organization for every animal communication session purchased via a special page I've set up on my website.  For more information, or to make a purchase through this offer, please visit:



Pree has been quiet lately.  She seeks out either sunny or sheltered spots, depending on her mood, and although as sweet and cuddly as always, she spends more time these days curled up and snoozing, either alone or with her mother, Sachet.  Today when I went to look for her, to see if she'd like to share for the newsletter, she at first said she really didn't have much to say.  It was nap time.  Then, however, she thought that might in fact be what she has to say.

She says that part of the reason, perhaps most of it, that she's so enjoyed her naps and has been less active lately is simply because "it's winter".  Winter is a natural time of rest for many animals in nature ... some even sleep right on through it for the most part.  Even our pets often respond to the shorter days ... by taking longer naps!

Pree suggests that one thing her human friends out there can do to enhance their understanding of their animal friends, is observe how the change in seasons alters their behavior and energy levels.  All animals, even human ones, respond to the cycles of nature ... even though we don't always pay attention to the details of that response.

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Gayle Nastasi
Animal Communication Consultant
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