In 1995, I met a woman named April Frost at a workshop about dowsing. I was attempting to launch a writing career. April was attempting to expand her work as a dog trainer, teaching how to communicate with dogs on a different level of awareness, working with how they register human intention.
To make a long story short, at the end of the year I had acquired a literary agent (who was a big dog lover). And one day, she called me to tell me she was having problems with one of her Salukis. I told her about April's work, we went to meet with April at her training center, and within six months, she and I had a book contract with Harmony Books, which is a division of Random House. "Beyond Obedience" was published in 1998. And sixteen years later, it is still in print; you can find it on amazon.com.
Here's an excerpt:
"Visualization helps you clarify what you are going to ask of your dog. If you can imagine . . . how you want your dog to respond, you will create the kind of energy that will support your training. When you consciously visualize your expectations to your dog, he can read your energy and your body language even better than when you give only a verbal direction, or pull on his body for a response."
There are lots of amazing stories about April's approach in the book. The following one is from the introduction:
"Several months ago, I was teaching a weekend workshop on Awareness Training, an inspiring way to establish a bond of mutual respect and communication with your dog. People were sitting in chairs while I lectured, and a number of the dogs were resting in their crates until we practiced the next exercise--all except for a Borzoi named Shamir, who was having a hard time relaxing in the strange new environment. He whined and complained and kept turning around and around in his crate. Shamir was making so much noise that it was difficult for people to hear, and I finally realized that I needed to do something.
We had already spent a number of hours exploring the concept that the energy within our thoughts and feelings has a powerful influence on those around us and , further more, that we can learn to project these thoughts and feelings in supportive ways while communicating and developing a relationship with a dog. Because dogs are extremely perceptive, they easily understand when a projection is clear and focused. Shamir was providing a perfect opportunity to apply this knowledge in a practice situation.
I said to the group, 'Now I want everyone to focus for a minute on Shamir and visualize him becoming calm.' Silence fell, as all eyes turned to the dog and people created their own mental picture, as I had asked.
In less than thirty seconds, Shamir had stopped pacing, stopped whining, and now stood peering out of the crate in our direction.
I went on: 'Now see him lying down. See him being calm, quiet, and lying down.' Again, the room was stilled by the presence of one clear thought projected at the dog.
Shamir fidgeted for a moment, peered out at us again, then slowly lowered himself to the floor of the crate and lay there quietly while a video camera recorded the entire sequence for posterity.
As soon as Shamir proved the power of our silent intent by doing as we had asked, everyone began to exclaim in amazement, the concentration was broken, and he popped up again.
It didn't matter, my point was made. Communicating and bonding with any living being is multidimensional, with different degrees of sensory perception. The more the energy of intent is put into created a bond, the less need there is for words or other physical tools for communication."