OUR COLLEAGUE MAREN KETTNER
“Communication with your dog“
Learn to communicate with your dog properly and analyse its behaviour. It provides lessons for other areas of life.
The magic formula is understanding behaviour and learning to communicate – two important components that are closely related in a consultant’s professional life as well.
Maren Kettner is a customer-oriented, flexible, patient, enthusiastic consultant, and she brings all these strengths to her hobby of being an animal trainer and psychologist. Maren is what you think of when you talk about capable women. She works as a consultant at Pitzek GMP Consulting and trains “problem” dogs and service dogs in her free time.
“Supposed misbehaviour on the part of the dog is often merely the result of miscommunication between the dog and its owner,” Maren says.
This is comparable to problems that occur at work. A dog psychologist provides specific tips and recommendations for improving trust between dog and owner and improving communication for the long term.
Interview with our colleague, Maren Kettner:
How did you decide to become a dog trainer and dog psychologist?
Lots of people have trouble with their dogs. That bothers me as a dog handler. Some “training methods” I have seen contribute to this problem. Besides, I have always had special issues myself, which is how I got into psychology. I like to use my knowledge and abilities to help dogs and people.
You have a companion dog yourself, and that isn’t altogether usual, is it?
That’s right. Fortunately, there are more and more service dogs. Unfortunately, there are also many trainers who capitalize on people’s distress to enrich themselves – and on top of that, they don’t work in a goal-oriented manner…
Bollernose Melwin, my dog, lets me know if my blood sugar is about to tank. This is an important job, even though I have a sensor – it always runs a bit behind real time – so I often don’t notice in time. My dog is always faster and better than technology! A four-legged life-saver.
So what exactly is the difference between a dog trainer and a dog psychologist?
I think that a good dog trainer is also a psychologist, one that serves both members of the human-dog team. My job is not just to teach the dog to sit, lie down, and heel (that is conditioning, which is what a trainer does), but also to assess the entire team and get them to communicate with each other. I have also encountered many dog owners with all sorts of depression.
In one case, I saved a marriage. The couple had been married for 20 years, and the husband moved out because of one of their three dogs. Fortunately, I didn’t know that until my visit was almost over.😉
Then there was a puppy that the vet had given up on after two weeks on drip feed. Fortunately, the family told me what was going on. As soon as I got off work, I went straight to their house. The husband told me about his wife’s depression and what it would mean if the dog didn’t survive. Bello wore a sweater at home because he was so malnourished that he was cold all the time. After a Reiki treatment, he got up, asked for food and water – and wanted to go outside and play. Today, he’s a very healthy dog. That’s all part of what I do. I could go on and on with examples.
In dog psychology, how do you communicate with a dog?
With body language. Many people have trouble reading body language.
And they often don’t even know what they even want.
And they are not clear in their communication. The dog has to guess what is expected of it and decide for itself whether to comply with the body language or the spoken language.
Why are there so many problem dogs? What’s going wrong?
Most of what’s going wrong is in people’s heads.
And unfortunately, lots goes wrong in animal protection services, too. Just the thought that animal protection services neuters or spays all the animals it gets bothers me.
The problems are endless. I could write a book about it.
What makes you an expert in this field?
My years of experience with dogs. I practically grew up with litters of puppies.
My “psychological studies” on people.
My sensitivity and analytical ability.
My adaptation to each situation and each human-dog team.
My scientific background, including in the medical area.
My ability to work energetically.
The interplay of all these factors.
Is there a generic tip you could give to any dog owner?
Lots of them. One of the most important is to let puppies go up and down stairs.
Sensitivity and patience are the most important virtues here, and they serve our colleague well at work, too. She meets misunderstandings with calm, structure, and clarity.