horse and dog
Getting to know you

Animal Corner: Beware of the dog!

Or should it read, beware of the owner? Dogs are expected to be loyal, trusting, loving … The list is endless. Do we, dare we, say that of the owner?

Controlling an animal through love alone appears not to be sufficient enough. We use devices, toys, whistles, whether inaudible or not. Food, treats, lures … There are many ways of capturing a dog’s attention. Maintaining it sometimes is a different problem. Training, teaching, learning … all skills required at both ends. Dog and human.

There are many experts who can be approached on the subject. Breeders, handlers … another endless list.

The same applies to humans. When we teach youngsters, we ask them to come out of their comfort zones, where they are naturally at home, to obey, react and behave in a certain way.

Transposing our human emotions onto dogs is very much the way we know. Understanding how dogs think would help. After all, a dog is a man’s best friend.

Do we assume that the dog knows automatically ‘what’ and ‘when’ and ‘how’? Patience, understanding, forgiveness … elements that are needed to apply.

Teaching a Water Dog how to swim? A Retriever how to fetch? Our friendly, furry, canine counterparts are here as a gift and should be treated with loyalty and respect.

Lisa Dowling specialises in one-to-one coaching, working with young children and adults, often turning to the animal kingdom for a positive result. “Horses are incredible at mirroring our innermost emotions. We can’t fool them!”

Lisa is determined to help those who need that reaching out. “Dogs, for instance, give unconditional love, they stay with you when you need them most. In time, blockages can be moved so that people learn to move forward in a positive direction. Reaching out to animals at moments of despair, or helplessness is not unusual.” How true.

“Sometimes, lost emotions, trust can be restored or re-built. Simply, through the natural contact with a four-legged friend.” Or not, as Lisa says. “It is entirely up to the individual!”

APAA’s president Jenny Clarke agrees wholeheartedly. “Gosh! Where would we be without our friends, feline or canine? They are our treasures, always there when we need a cuddle.”

Horses are a lot bigger and need a lot of attention. A huge investment in love. An innate sixth sense, whether large or small, all animals seem to share.

Date for your diary

May 21: Manu Snack Bar & Restaurant (aka O Pescador), Figueira, 11am-2pm. Classical, antiques. Paintings, ornaments, jewellery, books. Items for house and garden. Come, browse, have a drink. Why not book special lunch direct with Manuela (961 043 053)? For information, email [email protected]

Help with a problem? Email Lisa Dowling (BSc Psychology & Advanced Certificate in Coaching) at [email protected]

APAA, the Association for Protection of Animals Algarve, is here to help!