Ute horbach is no stranger to animals. The trained medical assistant (for humans) has been working together with natascha hahn in a veterinary practice in altershausen since 2004. "Natasha takes care of the physical well-being and I take care of the mental well-being", says ute horbach.
She has been certified as a behavior consultant and dog trainer by the ethological seminars of bavaria and has completed a similar training at the professional association of dog trainers and behavior consultants (BHV).
The 56-year-old has been caring for the whims of her master, mistress and dog for almost 13 years. Or better yet: about the communication between man and animal. There are quite a lot of misunderstandings.
Since the term "behavioral therapist" is used is not protected, ute horbach has a lot of competition who is self-taught. Anyone can become an "animal therapist name. Through tv shows like "the dog flusterer" or "dog pro martin rutter" many dog owners believe that they already know how to do it. When things don't work out, they come to ute horbach and are disappointed, because a change in behavior takes a lot of patience.
"The TV viewer usually only remembers that the human flicks twice on TV and the dog obeys, says ute horbach and sighs. The reality is different: it takes 200 to 500 repetitions before a new behavioral mechanism is in place. This requires discipline from man and beast alike. And then there were the misunderstandings in communication, for which ute horbach has dozens of examples up her sleeve.
Example number one: the dog begs at the table. Small cute dogs get a little bit thrown at them quickly – even by strangers. "Because he looks so sweet and is certainly hungry."
Rough dogs "need naturally a lot of food, which their masters and mistresses often give them too freely. If these rough animals were begging from strangers, the situation can also quickly become threatening. But more about that later.
Ute horbach's advice is to consistently ignore dog begging. Even more: "we interpret the behavior as begging. But this is not begging, it is demanding", she says. The clients' reaction to her advice was almost always the same: "it's not getting better, it's getting worse!" – "clear", woman ute horbach. The demand at the table takes place in three phases. If the dog does not succeed in phase one, he shifts up a gear.
In stage one the dog fixes his opponent with his eyes. If the human does not react, he puts his paw on his thigh or scratches his leg. If master still does not understand that he should finally print out food, the dog gapes. "Only the experience that all this does not help and that the human decides when his dog gets food helps", says ute horbach.
Do not make faxes
She herself has three dogs in the house. The three furry bundles hannes, emma and lotte were allowed to move freely in the house. "But when I want to lie down on the sofa, they have to get down immediately", she says.
Example number two: a dog barks at the mail carrier every day. When he brings a parcel into the house one day, he bites the delivery man in the calf.
Ute horbach means: "the dog has taken over the job to defend the territory against intruders. He finds the arrival of the postman very difficult: every day he comes to the house and touches the door. The dog barks, the letter carrier leaves. The dog considers this as a success experience. Because he does not know that the messenger would have left anyway. When the delivery man enters the house with a package and the barking, which is usually enough, does not drive him away, the dog may bite."
"To avoid problematic behavior, one must know the reason for it", explains ute horbach. When the dog takes on tasks such as guarding the property, he is really saying to his master: "you are probably not up to it, so I'll do it for you"." If the owner can't control this behavior, the dog's behavior will be very bad. "The hierarchy must be clear and the dog must know where his place is", underlined ute horbach.
Example number three: the dog jumps on his master or other people.
Most people do not attach great importance to paw prints on their pants. When a rough dog attacks old, sick or even children, the whole thing takes on a threatening component.
But the dog actually wants to achieve something completely different with this behavior. He wants to say "hello" in a friendly way say and lick the corners of the person's mouth. It means something like "I am very small and do nothing."
For these reasons it makes sense to teach the dog an alternative behavior. Ute horbach's advice: "turn away so that the dog does not manage to jump up". When he lets up, you can hold out your hand for him to lick and scratch him. This way the dog's needs are satisfied without forcing his will on the human being."
When rough dogs meet small children, ute horbach knows only one way: de-escalation. "When a child has an ice cream, the dog wants it, and the child throws its arm up in the air, screaming, it rarely ends well." In such conflicts, the dog usually wins out. Here it is more dangerous for the child to do without ice cream. "The education of a dog can not be in the hands of children, but must be done by parents", says ute horbach.
Deployment on all fours
As an interpreter between dogs and humans, ute horbach has been on her knees more than once – most recently in front of a family's aggressive dog. "The animal was tied to the radiator, and no one dared to go near it, she recalls . She, too, was buried with angry barking and snarling.
So the 56-year-old lay down on the floor and began to lick her lips, gape and blink her eyes. All from the dog's point of view signals for their peaceful intentions. The trick worked, the dog lay down and answered the appeasement gestures. Only the family needed a little to recover from the strange behavior of the dog trainer.