The Feral Dog Blog and our website demonstrate unique approaches to humane and compassionate dog capture and handling.
- The compassionate styles and methods of dog capture and handling presented by GWR are not taught anywhere else in the world. This approach has been developed by Dr. Mark over 20 years as a wildlife veterinarian working with captive and free-ranging wildlife including hundreds of wolves and teaching training courses for 20 years as well. Dr. Mark’s desire and purpose in developing this unique inter-connected, and compassionate approach stems from his field experience, his training in aikido (he is a first degree black belt.) ,and from his practice in traditional Lakota Sioux ceremony.
- The underlying messages and philosophies of this unique approach include:
- Dog capture and handling should be humane, effective, and safe for both handler and dog.
- Handling dogs in a kind and compassionate way will make the community and the world a better place.
- We are training Dog Handlers (Humane Officers, etc.) not Dog Catchers.
-Except for alpha dogs, dogs do not participate in the fight. They are trying to escape or protect themselves. The handler should not add to “the energy of conflict” in his actions, heart, or mind. In other words, Do not fight the dog.
-When handling dogs, you must first look at yourself. Dogs are extremely sensitive to humans. Calm and settle yourself and the dog will calm as well. This is the key to successful and compassionate dog handling. In this way we attend to the “ways of being” as well as the “ways of doing”.
- Truly see the dog for who he is. Use his personality and assess the best approach – trying the softest techniques first.
- Every dog is your teacher.
- The Y pole is an essential tool for humane dog capture and handling.
- The Y pole can be used for any fearful dog in an enclosed area when leashes do not work. They are simply a safe extension of the hand. The Y pole will lower the energy of the restraint, remove any harm to the dog, increase human safety, and can potentially replace most uses of the catch pole (snare pole) commonly used in animal shelters. And when personnel choose to use a catch pole, they will have more success if they use it like a Y pole. GWR and Dr. Mark are the only ones teaching the use of the Y pole with dog handling.
My hope is that eventually this approach to dog handling will be widely practiced throughout the world and other trainers will continue the message bringing new ideas into this humane approach.
Best wishes, Dr. Mark
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