I have been taught so much by my dogs over the years, not just to put tempting items on higher shelves.
I did a lot of things right, but I have done a lot of things wrong too. I grew up with dogs so took it for granted that it was pretty easy to own one of my own…
This was pretty much the case throughout the life of my very own first dog, I bought him for £60 from Felixstowe when I was at college. A little Jack Russell mix. He was a dude, of course. He was easy, as easy as a Jack Russell can be. He had a mind of his own but was a loyal, unless we saw a squirrel, badger or rabbit! He slept on my bed, stole the covers and could hear a can of tuna being opened from 100 metres!
However, fast forward a fair few years, about 12 in fact and along came my Boxer/Mastiff/Lab mix. OMG. The best dog ever, still makes me emotional thinking of him. He was a challenge, he was huge and strong with it. But gentle, kind, so loving and most of all forgiving.
So for the first time in my life, I needed help to get the two of us communicating safely for his well being and consequently mine!
Big shout out to Jonathan Woods Vets who put me in touch with Lapford Dog Club, another big thank you to Sara and the amazing team of trainers. With their guidance, lots of work and time, we went from strength to strength. They helped me bond and communicate with the big chunk. Life was good. We had blips and issues but primarily we were a team and I loved the bond that we shared. My biggest take away from the process; training takes time and consistency. To gain the love and trust of a pet, also takes time and consistency ,so training is a win win in my books for creating that special bond that I am constantly banging on about on my website.
However… all dogs are different and what works for one might not work for all.
Fast forward again, to a ‘gift’ of a puppy from my mother, a cocker mix this time, sounds tempting doesn’t it but….the mix was with a Red Setter. I had no Setter knowledge, that was a steep learning curve.
This time I signed my husband up for the training classes, happy birthday darling. I thought he would appreciate the bonding time. My husband is the most patient man I have met, he went back week on week, month on month and after 3 years we decided, maybe we had exhausted this avenue. He had great control in the training hall but not an ounce when out in the fresh air!
I briefly tried agility - this wasn’t his bag either, he was very enthusiastic but we were not as competitive as the instructor would have liked us to be. We tried outdoor training too, fine until he caught the scent of something more interesting. It is all a learning curve. Such a great way to spend time together and focus.
We have had a few years without any training and I wouldn’t change him for the world. He has been the most obedient photographers’ model out of all three of them. I now accept his hunting drive is stronger than anything and he will always be anxious. We still have issues with door aggression, lead aggression and the red mist recall.
It is a few years on now and it is time to go back to some more training, just for the fun of it and see what new tricks we can learn.
We are signed up to a new course, online, I will let you know how we get on….Woodhead Woofers be warned we are on our way!
What lessons have your dogs taught you over the years?