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'Snuffelen (‘sniffing): “Training dogs according to the rules of nature with the Roedel®method”, Part 2 Hondenleven, (Magazine, Dogs life) by Judith Lissenberg

The second part of “Training dogs according to the rules of nature with the Roedel Method” is no easy dog-book, but it certainly is interesting. It supports the dog education methods that Arjen van Alphen and Francien Koeman uncovered in their first book; how dogs communicate in scent and body language and how you can translate this into human actions.

In this latest well written edition, the authors, who work with their dogs in the Belgian Ardennes, go into more detail on the social learning process of dogs; the natural upbringing, which teaches the dog it’s natural standards and values.
According to Arjen and Francien, you cannot get to the more ‘fun things in life’ (fun and games) until this ‘pre-learning’ stage is over and done with. Their message is to consider the dog’s perspective more; “it is the dogs’ right that you look at it the way it really is; a very social being that lives in a social context in which very strict standards and values are taken into account”.
In order to experience the dog’s world, we need to take of our human-glasses and put on our dog-shoes. This isn’t always easy. For instance, let’s take a look at the following statement: “My dog is so sweet, social and submissive; if he had the chance he’d lick everyone’s ears out.”
The authors’ opinion on this: ‘From the human point of view, the person who made this statement is right. However, when you look at this behaviour in dog language, you get quite a different message. One thing that every dog learns from birth onwards, is that the physical care of one of a higher ranking by one of a lower ranking always starts with…the ears.”

Along the lines of over 600 (!) photographs, this book clarifies a lot. How dogs weigh in through urine and faeces. How important their first period in the litter is, and their relationship with the mother and the breeder, who will take over more and more of the mothers tasks as time goes by. How scent- and body language are linked to each other – diagrams illustrate this- and how important tactile actions (touches) are for dogs. And how a one of a higher ranking is responsible for the protection and security of those of a lower ranking, without giving in to challenges and confrontation.

After having read this book, you will definitely look at your dog in a whole new way.
Starting to take the ‘rule of three’ into account, a system -very complicated to humans- dogs live their whole lives by, doing everything in patterns of three steps. Or starting to take notice of the difference between left and right; if a dog starts with its left paw, it is motivated enough to carry out a certain task. However, if the dog starts with its right paw, it is clear that this motivation is missing. Incredibly interesting topics that deserve to be worked out into even further detail. This calls for a part three!

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