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Talking to Animals by Jon Katz

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Well I had my first Katz experience while looking for an audio book about dogs to borrow from my library. I didnt know......

 

Part of me wanted to stop listening after about five minutes, the other wanted to hear the rest of the train wreck. I wonder what the gentleman who had to orate this book thought to himself?

 

Katz assigns human logic and emotions to animals, and believes he is able to speak to them telepathically. Ive never been exposed to true delusions in published literary form until now. He says that more than one pet wanted to be killed because they werent enjoying their earthly existence. He communicates telepathically with dogs, cats, and a steer. He communicates images to them and they send images to him. One time he sent a steer onto a truck to be taken for slaughter by telepathically sending an image to him. They had a close, understanding relationship.

 

I did go back in the forum and find to my delight that Katz is well known to be a poor source for advice. This book was just published May 2017, so I thought Id give you all an update :)

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Katz would be laughable if he weren't so dangerous. Even before I knew how crazy and self-serving he is, I tried to read one of his books and just couldn't.

 

Glad you saw the truth so quickly.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Sounds like he's gone completely round the bend.

Not a bad thing in itself, the more credibility he looses, the better.

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15 years ago, I read a couple of his books in which border collies were prominently featured, along with life on the farm. They seemed OK. Then I read a more recent (maybe 10 years ago) book, and was disturbed by his 'ponderings'. Have not read any more. Based on your description, he has totally lost touch with reality.

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While I have read very little of John Katz's writing and do not believe he knows near what he believes he does about border collies and working stock my own experiences have led me to believe animals understand and feel more than most people attribute to them.

 

Is it human 'emotion'? Maybe not, maybe it is dog emotion but we can only know what we as individuals think and feel. Heck it is hard enough to figure out others of our own species much less different species. I have heard we use 1/3 of our brain. What would we be capable of if we used it all? Is telepathy in the realm of possibly??

 

How do you account for 'gut feeling'? Knowing something is wrong or feeling something- before you actually KNOW it. What about the well document connection between twins and triplets - feeling the others pain. Does that make logical sense?

What about near death experiences, what do you attribute the similarities to if it is not true?

 

There is much in this world we can not prove, can't touch and see. Why is it outside the realm of possibility that animals feel, hope, make choices... Again I am not saying it is 'human logic' but if you have ever worked with a border collie herding stock where they had to make choices for themselves how to accomplish a task there is some kind of understanding, forethought, planning happening. How do you account for a dog stepping between his person and pissed off cow saving their life if there is not an emotionally attachment there? Why would a dog place themselves in harms way. It isn't because they are stupid and don't know any better. They are fully aware a 1200 lb cow could harm them.

 

How is it that dogs will alert other humans of a problem - be that fire, sickness, illness, seizures...even without any training? Why? If they do not think and do not care they have no reason to.

 

Yes indeed my dogs communicate with me. They have let me know a lamb is stuck in the fence when I have sent them to gather the pasture. He could have simply ignored the lamb, brought the rest I would not have known. Yet he stopped his work and came to the top of a hill where we could see other. He looked at me, looked back, looked at me, moved back...It was as clear to me as if he could have called my name. He needed me to come down there. He led me to the lamb, I got him out the fence he continued his gather and brought everyone to the barn.

That is not the only incident, or only dog that I have had who has done something mind blowing.

 

yes animals communicate we are simply not very good listeners

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He did spend time talking about border collies in this book as well. Early on he said to never introduce a dog to playing fetch and chasing, or they will only become accustomed to it and expect more of it. Later, he states that in preparation for a BC puppy he was to get, he went out and purchased balls and toys so that the BC would have an outlet to use its tireless energy.

 

Denice, I actually don’t categorically disagree that there is more to the world and our relationships with our animals than what we can hear, see, or feel. I am skeptical when people look for messages that are not there or contrive and embellish them to sell a story.

 

What bothered me, was that Katz was trying to explain to readers that these animals didn’t want to live any longer, when the primary issues were behavior problems caused by Katz’s mishandling-such as with Orion. So he puts them down. Katz only describes situations in which the animals behavior is exactly what image in his mind he has projected to the animal. This is after multiple attempts at coercing the behavior in conventional ways. Also, the animals are sending images back to him. I stopped listening part way through the book, I’m not sure where we were at in the story. Katz admitted that he’d taken on way too many animals and was in terrible debt because of the farm he overinvested in. He abandoned his marriage to move to this farm for his BC. They were feeding his flock of sheep (I believe he said 31) individually so that there wouldn’t be fights over food. Do I believe his BC Rose woke him by nipping in the dead of the night because a ewe was lambing? I 100% do. He loses his credibility in other ways.

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How do you account for 'gut feeling'? Knowing something is wrong or feeling something- before you actually KNOW it. What about the well document connection between twins and triplets - feeling the others pain. Does that make logical sense?

What about near death experiences, what do you attribute the similarities to if it is not true?

 

 

 

I work in critical care, and many of us have experienced a lot more than we’ll admit in that realm. I should stop here.

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I know some ppl who used to live near Katz before he moved.

 

Let's just say that they don't have a very high opinion of him as a person, of his knowledge about border collies, nor of his writing.

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Where Katz really, really lost me was when he put a dog down because he didn't want to confine it when he had visitors.

 

This was several years ago that I read this, maybe more than 10, but others on the boards have referenced it. The dog, (maybe Orion?) had bitten people, visitors to Bedlam Farm I think.

 

Rather than safely & comfortably confining the dog when expecting visitors, Katz had him put to sleep. His reasoning was something about "dogs hate to be locked away/his strong spirit will wither if he is away from me/he'll think I hate him" blah, blah, blah. What I read was, "Oh, it's too much work/I don't need to train my dog/I love nature and it's against nature to confine a dog".

 

Gah. I've had to walk away when somebody asks if I don't just LOVE Jon Katz, because he has border collies too, you know.

 

My dislike for him has nothing to do with any ideas about communications between humans and other animals, or his belief that there is more to the world than humans can know. My dislike is about his free & easy way of making up his own mythology about the reasons he kills animals he professes to cherish. He's a narcissist, and if he can't get it done the way he wants to, then he destroys it. He just uses pretty language.

 

Sorry for the rant, but malignant narcissism taps a sore spot in me.

 

ETA ~ I think that animals know much more about us than we know about them. They do their best, (and I think particularly the domesticated ones) to communicate with us. Too often, we are totally deaf and blind to what they are saying to & showing us.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Gah. I've had to walk away when somebody asks if I don't just LOVE Jon Katz, because he has border collies too, you know.

 

ROTFL Me, too!

 

I just refuse to get into it.

 

There was a kids' book he'd written in the collection of books for the students Bodhi & I do reading therapy work with. They'd grab it because it was a book about dogs. I think I endured it twice before I hid the book. Can't remember anymore what I did with it but I haven't seen it since. Fine by me. :lol:

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Can't remember anymore what I did with it but I haven't seen it since. Fine by me. :lol:

I'd have burned it 😉 and I'm one who loves and collects hardbacks..

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I'd have burned it and I'm one who loves and collects hardbacks..

 

:lol: If it'd been my book I probably would have. But it belonged to the school. I'm just glad I haven't ever seen it again.

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In my opinion, (1) thinking that dogs think like humans and (2) thinking that animals communicate with us in amazing ways and that in general there are more thing in heaven and earth that linguistic theories could dream of -- these two are not only two different issues, but two opposites: The first is reductionist (reducing dogs in terms of communications to quasi-humans) and the second is expansionist (trying to see and understand what is beyond the human system of direct communication).

 

I read Dog Year or something like that and I was appalled by the book.

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I don't think there is any doubt that we communicate in very subtle ways with our animals. I kind of doubt that it is magical. Dogs are so good at picking up on our body language and tons of other cues. My dogs know by the way I put my shoes on what I am going to do. I generally know what they are going to do because I have been with them for a long time and I can read their body language. We are really very good at communicating with each other.

 

I can pick up on people that I am close to. And probably my dogs and I can pick up on each other at times. I don't doubt that at all. There are lots of stories about animals doing seemingly impossible feats, knowing that their owners were in trouble even though they were far apart.

 

But I think what Katz is talking about is just plain dangerous to his animals. And it can be dangerous to the people who actually believe that what he says is true.

 

I saw a report on TV a while back about a man who wanted to start breeding a certain kind of cross breed of cattle. He bought a 4 month old bull calf. And he came to believe that he and this calf had a magical bond. Once the calf started to mature it began to show attitude. The man's cattlemen friends tried to tell him that once a bull started showing attitude it was time to sell it. But he didn't listen. He still thought he and this bull were attached by some mystical mind bond.

They found him dead. Stomped about 5 inches right into the ground.

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Jessica Lange's role in Broken Flowers may have been inspired by Katz

 

Because she says she communicates with animals? Or is there something else to suggest this? (I haven't seen the movie.)

 

If it's just because she talks to animals, there are plenty of people, many who do it professionally, that could have been inspired by. I know a couple of them. ;)

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The context missing from that clip; she is a self absorbed "animal talker" and her clientel (who have more dollars than sense) enable her to be as full of herself as Ceaser Milan is.

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Reading the reviews on Amazon of JK's book is ... interesting. A depressingly large number of 4 and 5 star reviews, but a significant number of 1 and 2 stars as well. The most interesting of which details how Katz started a Kickstart campaign to bilk people out of their money to donate toward Katz's purchase of some fancy schmanzy camera that was essential to providing adequate illustrations for his book. Bottom line ... pretty much what you would expect. Thousands of dollars raised and presumably spent, scant evidence of its use, much less necessity, in producing the book.

 

I'm embarrassed to say that I paid money for his "A Dog Year Book". I thought he was a doofus at that point, but relatively harmless. Everything from Katz since has been a downward spiral from doofus to narcissist con artist.

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There is much in this world we can not prove, can't touch and see. Why is it outside the realm of possibility that animals feel, hope, make choices...

How is it that dogs will alert other humans of a problem - be that fire, sickness, illness, seizures...even without any training? Why? If they do not think and do not care they have no reason to.

 

Who said it's out of the realm of possibility that animals feel, hope, make choices, or that they do not think and do not care? No one here, that I can see.

 

Experience has convinced me that animals feel, hope, make choices, think and care. Experience has also convinced me that Jon Katz is full of baloney. These two opinions are fully consistent -- in fact, the second almost follows from the first.

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Who said it's out of the realm of possibility that animals feel, hope, make choices, or that they do not think and do not care? No one here, that I can see.

 

Experience has convinced me that animals feel, hope, make choices, think and care. Experience has also convinced me that Jon Katz is full of baloney. These two opinions are fully consistent -- in fact, the second almost follows from the first.

Agree completely with this.

Katz disgusted me from the very first reading, and I never finished the first book he wrote. I wanted to go find all the copies of all his books and burn them, and I wanted to slap him silly.

 

I do get into it when someone praises or even says they are reading his books. I go at it gently, not showing the fury I feel toward him and the harm he has done. Sometimes the person listens to me and actually views him in a different way. I find that the people who like him do so out of ignorance, and some can actually be "shown the light". In the same way that I think each dog I manage to help counts for something, each person I can influence in a good way counts. Maybe that person will pass the information on.

 

I love the way my dogs know me. They can tell when I stand up or walk into the room that I am about to take them for a walk, and they get excited. To me, I have done nothing different from the way I always stand up or walk into the room. But they see subtle changes in my face, my walk, my smell, who knows...and they know what I am going to do. And there are many other things.

 

I can tell the dogs something and they know what I mean. Recently someone who had never met my dogs before commented to me that she had just told them something and they responded as if they knew what she said. They are just so good at reading people that it seems they understand English.

 

I can tell when one needs to go out before he or she goes to the door. I know if Kit is roo rooing at me because she wants to play tug, and when it means she has to go out. And many other things.

 

Nothing magical about any of it and it's neither supernatural nor psychic. Just close observation by both sides, coupled with a genuine desire to know and understand each other. And that, to me, is far more lovely and beautiful than if it were anything else.

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Many years ago I stepped into sheepdog culture. I was animal ignorant and stubborn. How to do it and what I was seeing were patiently explained to me - again and again until I got it. I was the world’s slowest learner. Why, given so many willing, generous teachers would anyone chose to remain ignorant?

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Why, given so many willing, generous teachers would anyone chose to remain ignorant?

Katz isn't interested in learning. I'd say money and admiration drive him. He'll write whatever version of reality suits his purpose, not caring that he completely contradicts himself a couple chapters or books later. The way he treats his animals is terrible. The lazy, dishonest and careless way he treats the craft of writing is also abysmal.

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Katz isn't interested in learning. I'd say money and admiration drive him. He'll write whatever version of reality suits his purpose, not caring that he completely contradicts himself a couple chapters or books later. The way he treats his animals is terrible. The lazy, dishonest and careless way he treats the craft of writing is also abysmal.

 

 

^^^this.

There are none so ignorant as those who will not learn.

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