The Horse Whisperer

An image of a gorgeous horse I took years ago that was used for a book cover.  

The weather has been hot, crazy hot; so over the past weekend when the temps. hit the high 90s we watched a couple of movies and documentaries.  Highly unusual for us to watch a movie midday but it was too hot to do anything else.  Flipping through the movies we stumbled onto Buck, the Horse Whisper documentary.  "Stop, I wanna watch that," I said.  So we did.  It was slow for sure but the behavior aspect and story is a great one.

By the end of the documentary I had several blog topics that I wanted to write about and a girl to feed.  It was 7:30 and Elsa knew that it was past her dinner time.  She'd enjoyed the afternoon of tv watching with her Dad; having been for a big burst of exercise in the morning, she needed some much needed rest as well, but it was time to feed the guns as they say.

I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary and Buck Brannaman brought up much of the same issues with  horses and humans, as dog and humans.  One main issue was anger.  Anger is something that I see in conventional choke collar training.  Instead of trying to figure a behavior out; choke collar training simply tries to stop it with the yank and choke.  

Anger also arises when we put too much expectation on a dog.  When humans don't fully understand canines and their natural behavior; it is often categorized as "bad dog behaviors," when in fact they are just being dogs.

In the Buck documentary, Buck Brannaman explains several times how anger should never come into the mix when working with horses.  

“[Be] gentle in what you do, but firm in how you do it.” – Buck Brannaman

Many people still use harsh methods in training dogs; some because they just don't know any different.  "Sherri, I wish I'd known," is a phrase that I have heard often.  Heck I've said it myself; "I wish I knew this earlier."  But life is about moving forward, not back.  We can learn from our past but we should not stay there and linger.  

When I was young and just learning about "harsh" training methods, there was so much anger.  If your dog didn't do what you wanted, we were taught to just yank on them.  The harder we yanked the worse the problem got.  Being young and uneducated about dog behavior at the time, I listened and followed along.  

A woman in the documentary who is also a horse trainer and grew up training horses with the harsh methods she had been taught; gave this quote about meeting Buck and learning from him.  I love it.  

"You don't realize how unjust it is until someone shows you a different path." 

This is so true.  Until you learn and allow yourself to evolve, you will never get it.  

I recommend watching the documentary, which can be seen on Netflix.