Welcome to my journey! This blog is about my adventures in dog training, pet therapy work, rescue work and life with my menagerie of animals. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Are you having fun with your dog??

In answer to my own title question I would have to say that for the last two months I have NOT been having fun with my dog! I know, bad trainer, bad owner, bad friend! Life gets crazy sometimes and when school started for my children my life was no exception! I have been right out straight for two months. The only time I really spent with Beanie was during training class or pet therapy visits. Sure we live in the same home but my mind was always so preoccupied that it was a miracle I remembered to feed him!! Our training consisted of learning a routine that we were to perform with the other Sidekick trainers, needless to say at times it was very stressful and frustrating. If you've trained dogs for any amount of time (and if you haven't here's a little tip) you know that when you are stressed and frustrated your dog knows it and the whole training session is shot and not fun for either of you. Best case, you just have a poor session, worse case you chip away at your relationship. I should know better, Beanie is so tuned in to me that he shuts down when I get stressed and frustrated in a training session. I learned that early on in our training. We trained at a place he was not comfortable in and where they were trying to have me make him do things he didn't really want (or need) to do (this was NOT with Misti or Sidekick by the way) and so I had to consciously decide to teach him my way, teach him the things I thought were important and lower my expectations so we had success. It worked brilliantly and of course he passed his CGC and his Pet Therapy test! This routine was really straining us, not because it was hard but because I felt it had to be perfect! I have a Pyrenees, not a golden retriever or a german shepherd or a border collie, I am lucky Beanie does any of the stuff he does for me. Somewhere along the way to learning this routine I forgot that. Luckily I remembered in time to salvage our training and make the routine a success, but more importantly I had a wake up call that I need to be gentler to myself and to him and if it's not fun then we shouldn't be doing it or I need to figure out how to make it fun again! That is my responsibility as an owner and as his friend and trusted companion. Fun should be the next best thing in your relationship with your dog, right up there with love and trust! So go hug your dog and play a game, it won't be time wasted!
Here is the video of our routine:

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