Jan Fennell The Dog Listener - P1/2    
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I think if they could speak to us in words, I think they’d just say, “listen to me.”

Halo, kind viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. On today's program, we meet Jan Fennell, a renowned dog trainer from the United Kingdom. During her more than 20 years of working with and observing canines, she has learned to deeply understand their values and innate wisdom.

Author of the international bestselling book, “The Dog Listener – Learning the Language of your Best Friend”, Jan travels around the globe, offering consultations and courses on developing harmonious relationships with our furry companions. In working with dogs and their caregivers, Jan Fennell has developed a novel technique which she calls “Amichien.”

Communication in a relationship is more than just words. It’s a bond. And Amichien is taken from the French, "ami" meaning "friend", and "chien" meaning "dog". So it’s "friend of the dog". And it also showed that it’s just another language. Just as French is another language, German, Dutch, it doesn’t matter.

(I understand.) The dogs have a language too.

Jan spent many years observing dogs in their natural setting, learning to understand their psychology, values and driving forces. She noticed their behavioral patterns and instinctive reactions to situations. Using this information, she always works with a dog's natural instincts. and her open-minded techniques are radically different from traditional methods.

Well, traditional methods are where we enforce our will on the dog; the dog must do it because we say so. And also it does, in many cases, deny them who they are. With working this way, I’ve not discovered anything new, it’s just rediscovering what nature they had all along, which is they naturally work as a cooperative, based on the information you give them.

So rather than making them do it because I want them to, I make them want to do it because they want to. I make it possible for them to want to respond and cooperate with everything I ask of them, of their own free will and happily.

With the Amichien training technique, dogs are not only happier, but so are their loving caregivers.

Very few people want to be aggressive with their dog. When they find this, and I’m saying to them, “You are never going to pull that dog around again. You are going to “play-teach” everything. You are going to work with his nature. You are going to succeed.” They find that is what they want.

And a lot of people get very, very emotional because they can let go of all that pain of forcing their dog. And they can do what they instinctively feel is right, which is to help the dog. So it’s brilliant.

The work of renowned horseman, Mr. Monty Roberts had inspired Jan on her path. Author of the book, “The Man Who Listens to Horses”, Monty had conducted an extensive study on wild mustangs and learned their unique system of communication.

Well, it was ’89 when I first saw Monty, and then by 1990 I started to realize that what he’d got was something that I wanted. I thought there was some trick, some knack. How come every horse he worked with responded in the same way? It didn’t dawn on me, "It’s because it’s a horse". It’s not because of anything he was doing differently with each one; he was doing the same thing, because it’s the same language.

But what I loved most of all was the quiet, calm way he worked. And he would say things like, “Get the animal to want to, not because she's made to. Work with her nature.” If you’ve got a shyer animal, that’s okay. If she is spooky, so what, that’s fine. If he is more fiery, that’s okay. Never deny the animal being who he is.

Impressed by Monty's ability to quickly establish a harmonious relationship with every horse, Jan strived to do the same in her work with dogs.

I looked to Monty for guidance, and looked at how he had learned the language of the horse, which was to watch and observe, just quietly letting them show him the language of free living animals. So I had to study canines living free of humans. And of course that was through film and television work, amazing documentary. I couldn’t have done it without modern cameras and equipment because you couldn’t get in close enough to actually see what was going on. And the patterns started to emerge.

By nature, dogs live in groups or packs, and each pack has a leader. Dog leaders carry out their important role with great compassion and dignity.

I saw that leadership really is about responsibility for the others. It’s not about domination or authority and all that type of thing. It’s about being responsible for the rest of the pack. I began to see how leaders in their world are very patient, they’re very loving. Because they only survive if their packs survives. So it's in their interest to cooperate. They move as one.

They pick up on each other’s very thinking, especially when you’re non-verbal, you do that more. We all like to know where we stand, and so does the dog. So that is one of the things that leaders will establish, this pecking order which is really safety for them. You know, “I know where I stand, and that’s good.”

The cornerstone of Jan's dog training program is that the caregiver must establish himself as a good leader, someone who cares for his dogs and will take care of them when they are concerned or fearful. She explains one non-verbal way for establishing such a role.

A leader will actually carry themself kind of, “Yes, I can do this”, and will ignore undesirable behavior. I mean if somebody were to go up to our Queen and go “Halo Liz,” you can’t imagine her retaliating in any way. She’d probably just look very dignified and walk away, and one of her team would come in and go, “You can’t do that, you know." It’s that air of authority. Well, the dog loves that.

Many people with canine companions have credited their beloved animals with teaching them the important lesson of living in the moment. No matter what happened in the past, as soon as you call their name, dogs will come to you with happy smiles and wagging tails. Jan delved deeper into this noble trait to better understand dog behavior.

For them, it’s day by day. Because we might think, he's now six, three, twelve, and he must know he is always safe. He doesn’t, because in his world, the leaders can be gone like that. After every separation, whenever we come together, they must re-establish the pecking order. They have to do this. It’s not a fun thing for them; it’s not silly, it’s essential.

So when you come, when you reunite after separation, and that’s when you close the door, so if you’ve gone shopping, or if you’ve gone to bed for the night or even if you’ve just gone to the bathroom, you’ve created that separation. When you come back with the dog, just re-establish and walk in like you own the place.

In her consultations, Jan offers tips to enable caregivers to better communicate with their animal friend during training sessions.

If I wanted to teach somebody something, no matter what it was, I’d like that person to feel that I was going to teach them in a kind, calm way. Reward them, you know. "You have done well there, or that wasn’t quite right, let’s try it again." Remember you are calling your friend. There's no dominance here. It's my buddies. Here again, if he starts to mouth, I move my hand away. If you were to start (shouting) "Stop it, Stop it", it becomes a game.

It'd be okay.

It’d be a game, and he would do that to people he doesn't know. That's it now, just take your hand away and don't look at him as well. Move your eyes, because if you look at them, if you look around at somebody, you expect the words. That's communication.

Once we have deciphered dog language, it is quite simple to understand their simple-hearted wishes. Jan explains a non-verbal conversation which is taking place amongst her own dog companions.

It’s just a joy to watch them together. They understand each other, and the fact his tail’s wagging, and right now she’s saying "I don’t really want to." She’s actually showing him quite a bit of disinterest. She’s saying, "Right now I don’t want to play." You watch. And he’ll leave her alone in a minute. What will happen is she will probably lay down. There you go. And he’ll just walk away and think, "Alright, you don’t want to play right now. That’s okay with me."

Dogs are not excitable creatures. They just ask, "Can we play now?" "No, I don’t want to." “Go on, you do really." He’s being a bit persistent, but dogs are very persistent. But he’ll go away because….look, you see, it’s just like (No, not now.) "No, not now. So he goes, “Oh, alright then.” Do you see how easy it is?

If a dog could actually speak to us in human language, according to Jan, this is what he would tell us:

Listen to me and see where I am coming from. See that when a stranger comes near the house and I bark, I have to do this because I have to warn the rest of the pack of imminent danger, or the possibility of danger. And treat that with respect. It’s like any language, it’s like any being. You and I like to be treated with respect. We like to be listened to. We like to be shown kindness, consideration.

What type of dog is most suitable for children? How can we best integrate a new canine companion into our family life? To find out the answers to these and other questions, join us again tomorrow as we present the concluding episode of our interview with the Dog Listener Jan Fennell.

For more information on Jan Fennell, please visit:

Thank you for your gentle presence today for Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment, right after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. May you enjoy eternal harmony and happiness with all beings on our shared planet.
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