Dog Training and Your Relationship With Your Dog
My best friend is incredible! She?s one of those rare types who hangs on every word you say. She?s content to be quiet when I need stillness, even though she?s one of those high-drive types. All I have to do is call and she?s there in an instant, no matter what she was doing before. She puts me ahead of all her other friends, never fails to make me feel special, and is a redhead just like me. But she?s not a person, even though she?s sure she is. She is a butterfly dog; a Papillon.
When I brought this eight-week-old bundle of joy home, I didn?t know what to call her. I?m not very good at naming anything, so I usually just observe for a couple of weeks and let the animal name itself by its personality. This puppy?s name became evident in nothing flat: Tazzie. She whirled around the house, jumping up on furniture five times her size, zooming and zipping and totally charming me. She was, indeed, a Tasmanian devil pup. I quickly realized the athleticism of this dog and knew I?d have to find her a ?job? when she got a little older. High-drive dogs, that don?t have ?jobs,? will certainly find other outlets for their energy and those outlets aren?t usually things you would enjoy!
You already have a burning love for your puppy, but what is your relationship like? Does it come when you call it? Does it sit or lay or stay? From your first class, at your dog training school, your relationship with your dog begins to change. I will warn you, however, that anything you want to teach your dog won?t come just with a once-a-week class, even if you have the best dog training school in the world. You have to practice with them, just a little bit, every day.
Tazzie was a very food-motivated dog, so the fact that she got food every time she did something right made training a blast for her, all by itself. And this happened every day! Bonus! She made fast friends at her new dog training school, so going to class was fun as well. She got to where she would whine, as soon as we pulled in the parking lot, until I finally got her out of that car.
So now you?re taking your dog to classes in a place they love, and you?re working with them every day. During that time, you?re paying complete attention to them, teaching them to pay complete attention to you, and they get their favorite food as icing on the cake. This does incredible things for the bond between you and your dog. They learn to focus on you, no matter what, and good things will come. They get praised and fed, or praised and allowed to tug on a toy, whichever motivates the dog more, so your relationship can?t help but blossom.
Ever since Tazzie and I started training together, she has claimed me as her own. When my other two dogs want to sit on my lap, she?ll push them out of the way to get the best spot because, I am her property, as far as she?s concerned. I do give the other dogs personal time as well, but I have to put her in a sit/stay or a down/stay so she?ll let them come get love.
She is, by far, the one I can trust the most, not only because of her training, but from the bond we gained through the training. She never takes her eyes off of me, since we began at our dog training school, and it serves us well in the agility ring!
If you want to forever alter and solidify the bond you share with your dog, find yourself a good dog training school, for whatever discipline you prefer, and go for it. With a little time, money, and patience, your relationship will become a forever relationship. If you do, your dog will turn out to be your best friend too!
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Melissa Buhmeyer has been involved in dog agility training for two years and is co-founder of www.dogtraining-school.com/, a dog training school resource site for aspiring and professional dog trainers.