Lion Raising Tips

This baby lion reminds me slightly of Cabana. I know, lions are feline, Cabana is canine. Call me crazy.

Ahhh, it's nice to have my computer working and virus-free. But now that I'm finally able to blog, I don't really have that much to say!! But here's a loosely puppy raising-related post.

Recently, I read the book "A Lion Called Christian". Although the book was published in 1971, the story was made popular again by the video on YouTube, which I'm sure most folks have either seen or heard about.

It's an amazing true story (though rather short, about 3 hours long on audio). These two young Australian guys are visiting London, and they go into Harrod's Department Store. Harrod's is known for selling just about ANYTHING, and they happen to have 2 lion cubs for sale. The guys fall in love with one of them and decide to buy him. They do have to fulfill a few preliminaries, but still, it blows my mind how easily they were able to acquire him.

At first, Christian is a cute little fluffy thing--but after a few short months, he's strong enough to do serious damage to his owners, if so inclined, whether using his claws or his teeth. Although they had ZERO experience in the animal training realm, it's remarkable how the guys were able to train Christian.

They would run around in the basement of the furniture store where the guys worked, playing with balls and stuffed animals and other toys. They'd play and get all rowdy and rambunctious. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? But whenever Christian would do anything slightly dangerous, like nipping at them or chasing them, they would immediately stop playing. They didn't want Christian to have any inkling of the amount of power he had--and how LITTLE power they had.

By stopping whenever things got dicey, Christian learned not to direct any of his immense power toward humans. After the guys finally realized they couldn't keep this 600+ pound beast and found a way to release him into the wild in Africa, even years later, Christian was still gentle and loving toward them, as witnessed in the YouTube video.

The lesson I learned is how valuable the simple act of stopping is when training lions...and puppies. A few weeks ago, when Cabana and I were romping around in the backyard, Cabana got overly excited and nipped at my hand. She didn't make contact with my skin--but I remembered the trick that Christian's raisers used. I stopped playing with her immediately and took her inside. I think this has made Cabana much more careful about what is acceptable play and what isn't. She hasn't tried nipping me since then.

R  – (November 9, 2009 at 10:54 AM)  

What an incredible story!!!

I've done the same thing with Spinelli, without even realizing it. I noticed about a week ago that she'll gnaw on my finger, but it doesn't hurt. When she was a new kitten, she would gnaw my fingers and it hurt, so I would pull my hand away, and tuck all my fingers. Now, she is a licker, which is rare with cats. She lick my hand forever, and now sometimes when she's licking, she'll take my finger in her mouth and ever so gently gnaw on me, but it doesn't hurt.

So I guess it does work the same with k9s and felines ;)

Sarah and the Pack.  – (November 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM)  

I love this story! I am a huge fan of stopping play when things get too rough. One of my big pet peeves at work (animal rescue) is when people let puppies and kittens do naughty things like bite or play with things that are not toys, and then later complain how the dog is too rough, the cat plays with pens, or the dog chews on shoes. They don't always get it either, when I tell them that this is THEIR fault for encouraging a behavior when the pet is young that they don't want to see in an adult.

Very cool post!

Deborah  – (November 9, 2009 at 1:33 PM)  

That was a nice post and good advise. I love the story about the lion and the two men. Thank you,

Carrie and Waffle  – (November 9, 2009 at 1:45 PM)  

I've done that with the last two pups. The rule is they get to play only on my terms. even now with Waffle if she starts pulling, I stop and wait until she comes back to heel, often we look silly starting and stopping every 2 or 3 steps, but eventually she remembers the drill and we continue on.

Heather and Ellie  – (November 9, 2009 at 2:26 PM)  

I love that book! It's a great story. And the video is very touching, I recently saw it on Youtube.

mjtroygd  – (November 10, 2009 at 6:13 AM)  

I think that's amazing! The next time my guide dog Troy tries to nip at me I'll do the same thing. Also, there's someone who I know who lets Troy nip his arm, and when I try to explain why I don't like him doing it, the person says that it's all fine, but takes no consideration that dogs don't know the difference between adults and kids. Is there any way of stopping people from treating Troy as an ordinary pet in that regard? Thanks.

Cabana's Puppy Raiser  – (November 10, 2009 at 6:49 AM)  

Mjtroygd, thank you for your comment. I left you a reply on your blog. Welcome to the bloggosphere!!

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