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Talking with Dogs and Cats
Joining the Conversation to Improve Behavior and Bond with Your Animals
By Tim Link
New World LibraryCopyright © 2015 Tim Link
All rights reserved.
The Animal Connection
Since you're reading this book, I'm assuming you have or have had dogs and/or cats in your life. I'm sure you would say that you have a deep love and bond with each of them. Sometimes it takes a little time for them to work their way completely into our lives. However, for most of us, it was love at first sight and we don't want to think of what life would be without them. Their cute, sweet, and gentle faces always bring a smile to ours. Their soulful eyes connecting with our inner being and expressing pure love is almost too much to handle. Their individual personalities, joyful free spirits, and endless excitement for life are undeniable. It doesn't take long for them to win our admiration and bring about our complete and undeniable attachment to them.
Each dog and cat comes into our life for a specific reason and purpose. It's a much deeper purpose than just providing companionship. Yes, they enrich our lives in numerous ways. But over the past decade I've learned time and time again that there's a much greater purpose at work.
We all would like to believe that we choose the dogs and cats that are part of our lives. Originally, your choice of a dog or cat may have been based on a favorite breed. Or it may have been based on the type of dog or cat you grew up with. Your choice may have been based on the size of dog or cat you're physically able to handle. Maybe you're active and wanted a dog that could enjoy the outdoors with you, or maybe you wanted to provide a stable, happy forever home to a rescue cat or dog. Some people like small dogs, and some prefer large dogs. Some people prefer thick-coated dogs, and others prefer dogs with a short or more hypoallergenic coat. Perhaps you wanted a cat who would lie on your lap, being petted and brushed while you both relaxed on the living room sofa. Some prefer cats who are independent and who don't mind if we live a busy lifestyle outside the home. Whatever the case may be, we all believe we choose the dogs and cats we bring into our lives. However, have you ever had a dog or cat just show up on your doorstep or in your neighborhood and you've been compelled, for some unknown reason, to make the animal part of your family? Have you ever visited a pet-supply store during a dog- or cat-adoption event and unexpectedly taken a dog or cat home? Have you ever searched the internet for a new dog or cat and found that you had an unexplained connection with one of the photos, which resulted in your taking the necessary steps to bring the animal home? We think we choose our dogs and cats, but in many cases they actually choose us, and they invariably bring us unexpected gifts and teach us exactly the lessons we most need to learn at that time in our lives.
I originally chose our two standard schnauzer boys, Buzz and Woody, because the breed is known to be intelligent and easy to train. Schnauzers are also hypoallergenic, which was important because my wife is allergic to most dogs. Also, at twenty-five pounds, standard schnauzers seemed to be just the right size to run with in the park and small enough that we would be able to transport both of them in one vehicle, and, as they got older and their health started to decline, to carry them up and down the stairs without much effort.
I later came to realize that these attributes — the characteristics you can read about in dog books and see with your own eyes — were merely the superficial reasons for our choosing schnauzers. I grew to learn that there was more to it than that — that Buzz and Woody each had a distinct personality, their own purpose to fulfill, and their own lessons to learn when they became part of my life.
Buzz and Woody were more than just canine companions and play partners to me. They both taught me to appreciate the many blessings in life. They both taught me not to waste a single minute in life and to pursue what makes me happy — the things that bring a smile to my face and make me excited about waking up in the morning. Before Buzz and Woody, I had no real spiritual path. I barely took the time to focus on anything outside of work. Until they joined our family, I never would have considered leaving a lucrative corporate career to pursue writing and working with animals on a full-time basis. They each imparted individual gifts to me that I will forever be grateful for.
The cats in my life, Momma Kitty, Natasha, Rusty, and Ash — those that remain of a feral colony of eleven cats that showed up at our house — most definitely chose us. Before that, I'd never had a cat of my own because I've always struggled with cat allergies (though my wife had a Siamese, Little Bit, whom I got to know well when we first started dating in junior high school). I have worked with thousands of people and their cats. I've visited many rescue shelters, including a local humane society where I was president. I've always loved cats and wanted to be around them. But the right and perfect opportunity never presented itself.
Once our cats arrived on our doorstep, that all changed. I got to know all four of them well, especially Momma Kitty. I spend as much time as possible with them, and each has a special place in my heart. Momma Kitty is my constant companion when I'm outside in the garage, driveway, or front yard. She sits beside me and supervises everything that I'm doing outside. Our bond has grown stronger over the years, and I am touched that she has chosen me as her human companion.
Throughout the years, I have seen countless other examples of animals choosing their people and bringing unforeseen gifts to their lives. John was an alcoholic until his dog came into his life. His dog was in desperate need of training and structure, and John could not provide this type of attention while he was drinking. So he gave up alcohol to focus all his attention on training and working with his dog.
Michelle was going through a divorce and had lost all motivation and joy in her life. Her grown children decided to adopt a dog on her behalf to provide her companionship and to take her mind off the challenges she was facing. It worked! Michelle became happy again, and the dog gave her a newfound purpose in life.
Aaron spent all his time working and, as a result, his health was declining and he had stopped socializing with other people. One day, a dog showed up at his doorstep. He felt sorry for the dog and decided to invite him inside. After several days, he decided to take the dog with him to his office. He would take many breaks during the day to walk the dog and get exercise. He met new people and formed new friendships while walking his dog. The dog helped him get physically and mentally healthy again.
I know that our dogs and cats choose us and show up in our lives for a specific purpose. And sometimes their arrival represents what my minister refers to as a "universal two-by-four to the head," making us change unhealthy patterns or learn the exact lessons we need. Once they are a part of our lives, we can recognize and appreciate why they arrived at that specific time.CHAPTER 2
Giving the Animals a Voice
Animals are a vital part of the family, and they can have a significant impact on our lives and who we are as people. Many households have more dogs and cats than people living in them. So why shouldn't the animals have a voice, too?
Animals can communicate and understand one another and often form strong bonds. My two schnauzers Buzz and Woody were inseparable. Buzz was the fun-loving dog who never let much bother him and always went with the flow. He never caused a fuss, and put up with Woody's dominant personality. Woody was extremely loving with his family and the people he knew well. But it sometimes took him a while to accept modifications to his routine and introductions to new people or animals. Buzz never faced these types of challenges. If Woody was unsettled, Buzz would simply sit quietly beside him until he calmed down. Buzz would lean his body against Woody's, as if he were providing a comforting hug.
One time we introduced Woody to a new pet sitter at our home. He had met pet sitters in the past and knew that it meant we were leaving him with them for the day or while we went away on vacation. On this occasion, he became extremely vocal and wrapped his two front legs around one of my legs as his way of trying to keep me from going. His body trembled and his pointed ears lay back. I had to kneel down, hold him tight, console him, and communicate what was happening. After about ten minutes of my conversing with him, he finally calmed down and understood that we were only going to be gone for the afternoon. My wife and I often spent additional time communicating with Woody to make sure he understood everything that was happening around him. Thankfully, he was intelligent and caught on quickly.
Buzz, on the other hand, greeted the new pet sitter happily, wagged his nubby tail, and allowed her to hug him. This was not Buzz's usual way of greeting people, but he knew that Woody needed to be shown that this person was there to play with and watch over them and that all would be fine. Usually, Buzz didn't show this type of outward emotion and was not vocal with Woody. He would simply sit quietly until Woody felt his calming energy. I am convinced that he communicated with Woody during those times and sent him reassuring messages.
Buzz was usually quiet. He only responded with a slight rumble if we weren't connecting with him when he needed something or when he was displeased. Woody was vocal and often barked, howled, or, if he was really upset, released what sounded like a panicked scream. Often if one dog in a household barks or howls, the others will join in. Thankfully, Buzz knew that Woody was the more vocal of the pair and rarely felt the need to chime in. This balance worked well for them throughout their years together. Buzz allowed Woody to be vocal, while he chose a different, quieter way to get his message across.
Each of our four semi-feral cats has a voice in how they handle matters within their kitty family. They also have a voice with me and aren't hesitant to express their preferences about their care. They purr as they rub against my legs to show me that all is well and they are happy. They meow loudly in disgust when I'm late with their food. They protest loudly when I'm working in the garage, sweeping, or making any other noises that bother them.
Their nonverbal communication comes through clearly, too. For example, when I'm outside in the backyard walking or playing with the dogs, Momma Kitty will sit silently next to the back gate when she needs something. From past experience, I know that this is usually an indication that she needs more food or wants to let me know that the other cats haven't shown up yet. Suddenly, I'll receive a feeling, like a strong message, telling me that Momma Kitty is communicating with me and trying to get my attention. I'll stop what I'm doing and look toward the gate, and, sure enough, she will be sitting there. The dogs don't receive this message from her, only me, since she knows I can hear her and will check with her to see what she needs. Thus, she communicates specifically with me, not with the dogs or any of the other cats in her family.
It is important to stay connected with your animals and aware of what they are doing at all times. If you wait until they sit right in front of you and vocalize or behave in an undesirable way to get your attention, you may miss out on what they are trying to tell you. Don't assume that all is well in your animal's world because they aren't demanding your attention. Often they are trying to communicate with you by simply staring at you or coming near you.
It's important to listen to your animals. Spend quiet time with them, stay connected with their energy, and open your mind and heart to any messages they are trying to share with you. After all, they definitely have preferences when it comes to their wants and needs. They are a vital part of the household and should have a say in everything that happens.
We need to better communicate with our dogs and cats so they better understand what is happening around them. They should be able to share with us what makes them happy and what causes them stress. They should have the same opportunities as anyone else living in the household to know what is happening, what they need to do about it, and why it will ultimately be best for them and everyone living in the home.
Now, I'm not saying they should rule the house, garage, yard, or any other part of the home ... though, truth be told, I often feel that my life is centered on my dogs and cats instead of the other way around. Really, that doesn't bother me at all as long as they are happy. We, as human companions to our dogs and cats, are responsible for doing what's best for them. But at the end of the day I still want them to have a say in matters that will affect them. Believe me when I tell you that they often understand matters much better than we do. They usually know what we expect from them and work diligently to follow our instructions. It's up to us to listen to them a little more closely, to communicate better and build the best relationship possible with them. After all, an open line of communication is the best route to achieving a healthy relationship, regardless of whether it's with humans or animals.
It's up to us to continually strive to make their lives the best they can possibly be. Achieving a deep bond and relationship with each of our dogs and cats is essential to living a fulfilling life with them. What better way to build the best relationship possible with our dogs and cats than learning to communicate with them at a much deeper level? We should strive to look beyond the traditionally accepted methods of communicating with them and look for ways to connect more deeply with them.
While structured training, hand signals, and verbal commands are vital tools in helping your animals understand what you need from them, by also using carefully chosen positive keywords, visualization, and positive energy, you can connect with them at a much deeper level. We can communicate what we need from them and see the positive results that come from communicating at this level. At the same time, by opening our minds and hearts and trusting what we receive, we can become better at hearing and understanding what they are trying to tell us. We can share a deeper understanding and relationship with our dogs and cats. We can then provide them with the voice they so deeply deserve.CHAPTER 3
Talking to the Animals
Now, let's dig in and start talking with our dogs and cats! The three simple steps to effectively communicate with your animal companions are:
1. Say what you want out loud.
2. Mentally visualize what that looks like to you.
3. Communicate using a positive tone and positive energy.
Let's look at each of these steps in detail.
1. Say What You Want Out Loud
Many people ask what I really mean by "talking" to animals. Surely I don't mean that we have a direct verbal conversation like a human would have with another human, do I? The animals can't possibly understand the words we're saying, can they? They don't hear words like we do, or speak our language, do they?
But the truth is that animals do understand us when we communicate verbally with them. They sense our meaning and moods on other levels as well, but they are perfectly capable of processing verbal information. We should talk to the animals just like we'd talk to any person. They do understand what we're saying — and so much more.
2. Mentally Visualize What That Looks Like to You
Though we can communicate with animals verbally, as we do with people, one of the most exciting things about interspecies communication (the ability to communicate with any animal) is that we can express ourselves and receive information on other levels. Animals communicate on a more intuitive level than humans do. It doesn't matter if it's a dog in a pack, a cat in a colony, a horse in a herd, or a goose in a flock. They all communicate on a telepathic level: they can connect with other animals' thoughts, wants, needs, and feelings. They know exactly what's going on with each other without ever making a sound.
Excerpted from Talking with Dogs and Cats by Tim Link. Copyright © 2015 Tim Link. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of ContentsForeword by Victoria Stilwell
Introduction: How You Can Join the Conversation
Part I: Understanding and Communicating with Your Animals
Chapter 1: The Animal Connection
Chapter 2: Giving the Animals a Voice
Chapter 3: Talking to the Animals
Chapter 4: Trusting What You Receive
Chapter 5: Telepathy Basics
Chapter 6: Respecting and Understanding Each Unique Animal
Chapter 7: Past, Present, and Future
Chapter 8: Animals’ Emotions and Sensitivity to Our Energy
Chapter 9: Animals as Barometers
Chapter 10: Training and Communication
Chapter 11: Keeping Animals Informed
Chapter 12: Behavior Changes
Part II: Addressing Animals’ Needs and Behavioral Challenges
Chapter 13: Jobs for the Animals
Chapter 14: Socialization of Animals
Chapter 15: Separation Anxiety
Chapter 16: Changes in Routine
Chapter 17: Cats and Litter Boxes
Chapter 18: Excessive Barking
Chapter 19: Riding in the Car
Chapter 20: Storms, Fireworks, and Other Loud Noises
Chapter 21: Crate-Training
Chapter 22: Making Outings Enjoyable
Chapter 23: Walking on a Leash
Chapter 24: Dogs and Cats in the Yard
Chapter 25: Digging Dogs and Cats
Chapter 26: Show Dogs
Chapter 27: Equal Treatment
Chapter 28: Company Is Coming
Chapter 29: Baby Is Here
Chapter 30: A New Pet Has Arrived
Chapter 31: Sharing Toys and Treats
Recommended Reading and Supplemental Material
About the Author