A dog analyst Natsuki Saito and her beloved dog, Berry
To start the interview, we thank you so much to Natsuki for sharing her time with us. We also would like to share some brief information of Natsuki’s work. It’s called Dog-life adviser in Japan. You can take it as a dog therapist or analyst.
We didn’t know of this work until we met her. The basic purpose of this work is to help families who have a dog to build a good relationship with their dog and live happily. She analyzes dogs by using the study of statistics called “Jitsuyo-Banshogaku”.
Jitsuyo-Banshogaku is defined as the fusion of Astrology, Statistics and Psychology. To put it simply, it’s to analyze personality based on a date of birth. It was initially used to analyze people but you can apply it to dogs and cats. Date of birth is a special date you are meant to be met by nature. This study is more like a definition that tells human beings and animals are a part of nature.
Natsuki welcomed us with a cheerful smile at her warm place. Besides her energetic son and Schnauzer, Berry scrambling for sweets, we interviewed about her job based on dog personality analysis and her beloved dog, Berry.
Statistic shows dog’s characteristic
― Could you tell us about your work, owner-and-dog counseling?
I listen to owner’s concerns and I advise them about the characteristic of their dog by using the statistics of practical various forms study to build a better relationship between owners and dogs.
― What tells you about dogs in this study?
It tells dog’s characteristics such as values, personality, a way of living and temperament. We look at his/her temperament based on the Theory of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements in oriental medicine. Vets who have mastered this study can even tell what kind of disease he/she tends to have.
― How many different characteristics exist?
There are 21,6000 kinds in total, ①3 kinds in Values, ②12 kinds in personalities, ③10 kinds in a way of living and temperament. They are also divided into different types, Conscience (values and personalities) and Subconscious (a way of living and temperament). First type is visible characteristics from other people and the latter one is invisible. When you look at dogs characteristics, you need to synthesize ① to ③ and it clearly tells you what kind of skills or personality he/she has.
―What do you do at counseling?
I look at the result of the study of owners and compare it to their dog. If you have different type of values, even one word can lead you wrong. So, it’s important to know both sides.
I analyze their life-style and how they play and communicate with their dog by asking questions like “What is your dog like at the house?” and help them to clarify their concerns or questions about their dog.
3 different types in “Values”
―What if owners didn’t know their pet’s date of birth?
In that case, we can’t. To have accurate analysis and counseling, you definitely need a date of birth. I often ask owners about what they think of what the values their dog has. They are usually correct. There are 3 different types of Values Logical, Peace and Vision. Even in these simple categories, you can easily tell the differences.
・Logical = Convinced type. Gives value on own pace and self-pivot.
・Peace= Peaceful type. Group-oriented and gives value on balance.
・Vision= Desire type. Gives value on what they truly want to do or on their desire.
― It seems like you can tell what type of Values your dog has if you watch carefully.
Here is a good example. When you take a dog for a walk, you might stop and start chatting with your friend. Logical-type of dog always has his own pace, so he will be as to say “really? Give me a break.” Peace-type of dog loves being involved with his owner, so he will happily wait. On the other hand, Vision-type of dog is curious. If there is something attracts him, he will act as to say “What is that? I wanna see it!” no matter what owner is doing. He doesn’t care about other things.
Prejudice blocks us from looking at things correctly
― I think characteristics can be seen by breed, too. Could you tell me what you think about it?
I don’t analyze by breed but stick to look at who he/she is. This is an example from my counseling experience. An owner of a border collie said to me like “My doggy doesn’t act like a border collie. He isn’t smart either”. We have a set picture of border collies being smart, can catch a Frisbee or do whatever if you train them.
I looked at his temperament through the study and he was a type of dog that likes to take it easy and enjoy. However, as his owner was trying hard to train, fun Frisbee turned to be more like bearing the pain. After the counseling, his owner tried a different approach, and he started to enjoy.
Basically, if you have a strong set picture of dogs by breed, there is a big chance that you miss looking at a good nature of each dog.
― I see. Categorizing dogs by breed can be our prejudice.
If you’re a professional dog-trainer you can tell the differences of characteristics between dogs. But usually when you have a dog at home, you get information from the magazines or so called “INU no setsumeisho (dog instructions)” sorted into breed. Then, they have a set image on a dog and tend to be like “No, he wasn’t supposed to be like this. He’s different!!”
― So, dog’s characteristics and skills are also diverse.
It is like a proverb “桜梅桃李-OHBAITOHRI-cherry-plum-peach-apricot” each creature has its own good point. That’s why you need to make the best use of your good nature and strength. The body is genetically inherited. On the other hand, the mind isn’t. People often say “Oh, you’re like your mom” or “You’re like your dad” but these characteristics are built and influenced by your environment. So, it’s same in human and dogs.
― Could you tell me what kind of concerns you receive at counseling?
For example, “Other dogs can but not my doggy”, “I kind of feel that my doggy is stupid”, “We are trying Dog Agility (a dog sports that a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race and compete both in accuracy and time) but I don’t know if it’s appropriate”, “I’m not sure if group feeding is okay. It seems like they don’t like each other and fight”
― Do you see some owners at counseling who has a wrong way of looking at their dogs?
Well, some owners don’t realize a good nature of their dog and says “My doggy is stupid” but this crazy part can often be a part of their good characteristics.
How do you praise your dog? It’s different by the type of dog.
― You praise your dog in training. Do you need to do it properly?
It’s same as 3 types of Values, you need to praise differently depending on what type your dog is. He gets motivated and self-affirmed if you do it right.
For instance, Peace-type of dogs like to be appreciated. They will be happy with “Thank you so much”, “I’m glad you waited for us, thank you!!”
― How about Vision-type and Logical type?
Vision-type loves “You’re genius!!”, “You’re amazing!!”. He will be happier if you exaggerate. On the other hand, Logical-type is to be convinced. He will be like “Are you making fun of me? “ if you exaggerate too much. So, you need to be logical like “Okay, you did this that’s why you made it!! You’re good”.
― It’s probably not that difficult to exaggerate or not. How do you show “Appreciation” and “Do specifically”?
Dogs can grasp what we say much more than we think. It’s more effective if you tell clearly straight to the point.
There was a dog that always cried whenever the owner leaves him even for bathroom. I advised the owner to tell him like “I’m going to the bathroom. I will be happy if you can wait for me until I’m back.” That one phrase changed him and he started to wait. Just one word or phrase canmake a change.
― How are owners different after the counseling?
They all give a huge hug to their dog saying “Oh, I didn’t know that. I’m sorry. I will try to look at your good nature and develop your ability”. I think they have more love for their dog once they realize how good they are.
Sharing the life with a dog
― What makes you think it is nice to do what you do for work?
The best thing is when I hear that their relationship with their dog got better!! I started this job because I thought it would be nice if you can live not only physically but also mentally closer to their dog.
― So, you learned dog training at school before?
Yes. When I was a student, I saw the reality that so many dogs are abandoned and gassed. That experience also made me feel like I would like to be any of a help by counseling.
I would like to do this job before they have a dog. If you can find a dog that will suit to your life-style, you will have a good life and relationship with your dog. And I think that will decrease the number of “I can’t have him anymore” situations.
― How long have you had dogs?
We always had a dog since I was 9 years old. The first dog we had was a Siberian husky. After he died, we always had Schnauzers. Berry is the third Schnauzer we have had. I can’t think of the life without a dog anymore.
How to build a good relationship with your beloved dog.
― How would you describe the personality of Berry?
She is already 13 years old. She has a relaxed life at home. But I can tell she likes to work and move. My third son is still little and crawls out to the hallway. Berry just follows him and softly bites his bottom barking as to say “Hey, come back! You can’t go there.” It always looks like she is teaching him. Usually she is just like “Me? I don’t wanna take care of him.” But she comes and helps when time comes. (laughs)
― So, she is a good help?
I think she naturally has a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to her mission. In the study, she is a Vision-type so I think she wants to be like “Me! Me!!”. However, she knows that we have a baby boy now and tries not to show off too much about herself as to say “I know I can wait. You have a baby.” So, once I get my things done and call her, she sparkles her eyes and acts as to say “Yeay!! I was longing for this!!” (laughs)
― Do you have a tip on how to make a better life with your dog?
I think it’s important to accept him/her as who he/she is. Try not to stick to what you want to do with them or what you want them to do. Try to find good characteristics of each dog. It’s up to how you take it. I think it’s important to see them not as a pet but a partner.
― If you think that way, you will be able to give a respect on what’s valuable for them, too, right?
That’s right. Scolding or giving up won’t always help you. Just try and think of what they really wanted to do or say when they are being naughty. If you can take it that way, you will be able to build a good relationship with your beloved dog.
< DOG’S PROFILE >
Berry / Schnauzer / Female
Born on December 28th, 2002
Natsuki Saito / Dog life adviser
Born in Tokyo in 1982 / Background, Graduated from Tokyo Pet Community college. Met Great Dane and started learn dog-training / Career Experience, Worked at dog-café. Became interested in service industry. Worked at Tokyo Disneyland / Current, She is married with 3 boys and works as dog-life adviser. She enjoys raising boys and has a good relationship with her beloved husband and dog, Berry.
JBAN PLACE DOG LIFE -ドッグライフ- http://doglife-jban.com/
interview, edit Tomoko Komiyama
photo Jun Takahashi
translation Chiyoko Kimura