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, January 13, 2014

Are you having fun?

There is no question, training your dog is serious business. Having a dog that is comfortable with body handling, has some self control and can return to you when you call are some very important behaviors to master. However, getting those serious behaviors can still be fun! It all depends on how you view training and working with your dog! If you find it monotonous or something you HAVE to do, you will find it to be drudgery work. If you look at it as an opportunity to bond with your dog and marvel at his intelligence and stretch your own mental capabilities, you will enjoy the process so much more.

In my experience it is impossible to smile a true smile (not a smirk or a forced smile) and feel unhappy or angry. So when I train with my dogs I think about how much I love them, how much they make me laugh and I smile. Doing so also gives me more patience than I normally have which only enhances the training session.

You can be happy and silly and still teach the very serious business of recall, in fact it is of the utmost importance that you are happy and silly during this important process. Showing your dog that it is great fun to come to you only serves to increase and strengthen the behavior. I encourage all my students to harness their inner silly child and show their dog they are the most fun thing around! Of course, there are those scary times when you call your dog to you out of panic and it sounds anything but fun, but if you've worked enough with your dog and the experience has always been positive, the outcome is much more likely to be positive. Besides once your dog gets to you, your relief and happiness can come out and your dog gets a bonus of happiness at the end, despite the initial recall being a little panicked.

So smile when you train, use a nice sweet voice (even men can speak sweetly), and think of how much you love your dog while you are working and you will both find the training session to be enjoyable. Remember though, if you've had a bad day, are frustrated or upset for any reason, don't train! Instead, sit on the couch with a good book and cuddle with your dog, they will work their magic and make you feel so much better!