|Buddha and Kai|
Many people don't think of it this way, but our dogs are at "Liberty" with us more than in "Tack" I use a Liberty to Leash principle that closely resembles my Liberty to Line (Leave out the Mounted for dogs!) progression for Horses.
We spend so much time with our dogs just enjoying each other's company that we build those un-shakeable bonds with them. When we bring that to our horses, we create the same thing. Oh it would be so easy if our horses could just be in the house with us! I know some of you would if you could. Some of you may have! With our horses, we have to go into their house (pasture/paddock) to build the same Connection.
When I work with dogs, I use the same free form, organic, in context style I use with the horses. Training is done in the moment and is flexible and fun. It is adapted to each dogs personality and nature even beyond their breed. Though I do take breed traits into account, I find many dogs and horses that defy their breed characteristics.
You may not have known also that I do Self Selection (Zoopharmacognosy) with my dogs as well. It is equally fascinating to see what they choose in the herbs and essential oils. Since I have several animals, It makes me feel good to be able to offer them what they individually seek. My French Bulldog takes a wide variety of things that my Boston doesn't take. if I were to treat them the same, My Boston would get many things he didn't want or need.
Recently, Buddha, my Boston had some digestion and bowel issues and my vet recommended I give him Pumpkin, Sweet potato, or Yam. I tried Sweet potato and he wouldn't eat it at all. I then tried Pumpkin and he ate a small bit and then wouldn't eat anymore. I offered him Yam and he gobbled it up! He picked which one was the right one for him and I had no trouble getting him to eat it by itself. I felt good because I knew he was getting enough and it was what he needed. I offered each thing on it's own not mixed in food so I could see what he really wanted. This was especially important because he is a very finicky eater.
During Fiona Habershon's (http://fionahabershon.com/) sessions, if she sees and animal wants a certain herb in small amounts she will often offer several similar herbs side by side to make sure she gets the exact right herb. Sometimes an animal will take something that is close to what they need in a small amount but it's not quite right. If you put some other similar herbs side by side, then the animal sorts through and goes "Yes! that's the one I wanted" And gobbles it up.
With that, I wanted to announce that Fiona is coming back to the US this spring and we are planning details as we speak. I will keep you all posted as we firm up dates but it looks like the end of May. We will be doing some workshops together for Spring Tune ups. As usual, It will be Unique, educational and fun experience. If you have any stories to share about Self selection or any other comments, please share!
*Try Self Selection at your risk
Feb 9th: 1 day FDH workshop at Silver Moon Farm, Greenville, NY
March 21-22 FDH Privates and Lessons over 2 days. Charlottesville, VA
May 4th: FDH Confidence for trail riders workshop. Windhorse International Bethlehem, CT
June 20-24: FDH UK Clinic at The New Horse, Motcombe, UK