Intention and Attention - Father Marc

The ability to deal with dogs, our fellow human beings, and even ourselves in self-examination doesn't just come naturally. It isn't inherited genetically. It is an acquired skill, a body of acquired skills. We have to learn how to do these things. First, we have to have the intention, "Yes, I want to learn how to live with my fellow man in a better, more mature way. I want to learn how to live with my dog in a better, more satisfying way." However, the good intention isn't enough. You have to have the knowledge of what to do and when to do it. You must then practice these skills in an efficient manner so that you are successful. If this approach is followed, the art of raising a dog or a puppy can be acquired by anybody.

When we begin to work with dogs we realize that there are many things in ourselves to overcome. We have to overcome our indifference which might say, "Well, training the dog doesn't matter. We're getting along all right and I can put up with a few difficulties. I just don't have time, I have something to do that is more important. He'll survive, he's a dog, he knows how to live." We may also need to overcome our misunderstanding of what the dog's needs really are. Often we have difficulty seeing what is really in front of us. For example, the dog may be sniffing the floor because he wants to go out and do his business. If we ignore that, if we're blind to that, we will end up with poop on our rug. We may misunderstand what the dog is doing and think he is going to chew the rug. So it is important to pay attention and try to understand what the dog is saying to us, because the dog can't use words to communicate his needs.