|He's telling you something|
Communicating with your animals, understanding them and finding ways to help them to understand you is what the term “whispering” is all about. The approach that I take to whispering with my animals is very much like the approach that I take to teaching and developing people. Many of the same principals apply.
The first secret that I want to share with aspiring whisperers is the importance of understanding your subject. Take time to observe the bird’s behaviour. What they do and don’t do, when they do it and why. So, in the words of Steven Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Successful People, seek first to understand and then be understood.
|Contentment - Dodger chilling out at the bird bath|
My starting point when working with animals, or people for that matter, is to look, listen and learn. Understanding, habits, behaviours, drive, motivation, fears and social structures, as well as methods of communication, influence and reward, are an essential foundation to any future development.
By understanding how animals communicate with each other, and the messages that they send, we can identify how to communicate effectively with them. In order to get them to engage with us, we must first establish our credibility by gaining trust and rapport.
|Understanding cockerel behaviour|
Trust and rapport can only be developed once our animals have learnt to feel safe and familiar with us. It can take a long time to reach this point with some animals and birds. Once we have it, however, and are able to comfortably engage with our animals through eye contact, touch, and food rewards, then we both have a basis to communicate with each other. As we learn the animal’s language, we can show each other what we want and what we don’t want, and our desires and theirs can be understood and respected.