“how small a whisper we hear of Him!”
So I have discovered the Dog Whisperer. Well, I mean, “discovered” is probably the wrong word. He’s been around for awhile now. But I think his show has always been on a channel that we didn’t get. Now he’s on a channel we do get, and we have a puppy. Or a young dog. Or whatever you call them when they’re a year old, which is, what, 7 in dog years? Or maybe more. Seems to be that a few years ago they made dog math more complicated. Seven years for the first five years, then five years after that?
Anyhow, I am now watching Cesar Millan every Saturday morning, looking for tips on how to raise our sweet Calypso to be the best dog she can be. Of course, Cesar would probably tell me it’s about raising me to be the best dog owner I can be.
There are a lot of good things to learn from him. Like techniques, which we are already implementing with good results, but also observations, like the fact that a dog with its tail in an upright position is showing tension. Which is interesting, because they don’t always look like they’re tense. They might just be walking next to their owner, sniffing things and looking around, but if the tail is not relaxed, then the dog is not relaxed.
But one of the things that’s amazing is how well he communicates with dogs, without ever saying a word. His hand motions and body movements convey to the dog that he wants them to sit or back up or lie down or whatever. They respond immediately most of the time, and even those that don’t, respond a second or two later.
Part of it is that he knows how to “speak their language”. He knows the ways and behaviors of dogs and he acts accordingly. He recognizes the difference between an aggressive dog and a fearful dog, and treats them differently. He also knows that dogs will respond to him as the “alpha dog”, so he takes that role. And it works.
But it’s not just the method of communication, it’s the message itself. Simple, direct commands. And he doesn’t explain to the dog why he wants a particular behavior. Instead of a lot of talking that the dog isn’t going to understand, he provides uncomplicated guidance.
God’s like this, too, in a lot of ways. Unlike dogs, we can read, of course, and we have His Word. But He also seeks to guide us through His Holy Spirit in us. And that is very subtle. Quiet, simple leading. Without a lot ~ if any ~ explanation. And it’s up to us to listen to what He wants from us, and then to obey.