Owners seek to understand dogs

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By Sean McGee, The Dover-Sherborn Press

Thurs. March 27, 2008

‘Doglish’ lecture packs a crowd

Must Love Dogs | Dog Walking & Dog TrainingSherborn — Bryna Davidow is forced to pause in the middle of her dog communication presentation, once again, as her own dog, Teddy, wanders away from the audience and down the hall in the basement of Sherborn’s public library. These escapes almost seem staged, however, as Teddy obediently, albeit not expediently, ambles back into view whenever Davidow calls him.

This past Thursday, March 20, Davidow, the owner and proprietor of two dog-related businesses, gave her “Doglish” lecture to a sizable, eager crowd of current and putative pet-owners. The lecture, attended by young and old animal lovers alike, covered a number of disparate topics involved with learning to become a better communicator with one’s dog, or dogs, as may be the case.

Davidow first had the idea of researching and presenting on dog and owner interaction while she was studying human communications in graduate school. A self-described pet-lover for life, she pursued her interest, gaining a plethora of dog-related knowledge over the years.

“I’ve always been a pet person; I had the opportunity to start my own business and I thought it would be fun,” she said.

Four years ago she did just that, creating a dog-walking, pet-sitting and dog-training venture called “Must Love Dogs.” While training, walking and sitting make up a large portion of the business, she gives lectures at various locations in MetroWest throughout the year. The bulk of the lecture focuses on paying more attention to one’s dog, being more patient with it and better reading its body language; thus, in turn, allowing for more control over the pet. For example, she noted that many people with dogs don’t know that when their dog turns its head away, or won’t look at its owner, it is trying to send a calming signal, such as “stop shouting at me.”

“People need to be more understanding [of their dogs],” she said. “They want non-natural canine behavior,” yet simultaneously they don’t realize that “dogs are always talking to us, they’re always telling us something [about what they need]” through body language.

“The average pet owner doesn’t get into this kind of detail, said Davidow. “By offering these lectures, I hope to make relationships between pet owners and their pets better.”