I. love. dogs. I am the girl that will bound up to random strangers to pet, kiss, talk to…etc. their dogs. Slightly weird and maybe a bit dangerous, I know, but if there is a dog within a 2 mile radius I am immediately sucked in. Also, I should mention, the bigger they are, the longer I stare.
Being such a dog lover, it shouldn’t surprise you that I have one of my own. And, yes, he is rather large. A stocky cattle dog mix, tipping the scales at 75 pounds (a little heavier than ideal, but we’re working on it.) He is my first attempt at raising a dog on my own, and, I must say, I am very proud of our lovingly dysfunctional relationship.
My dog hogs the bed, chases the cat, pulls me on the leash, wipes his face on the couch (right after a long, slobbery drink, of course), and jumps on every visitor that I have ever had over. Sounds horrible, huh?
Well, we have actually come a long way. After adopting him from the Human Society over 3 years ago, I have tried my hand at numerous, and sometimes disastrous training techniques. However, over time I have managed to stop the accidents in the house, successfully crate train him, and teach him commands like “sit,” “down,”” stay,” “wait,” and “paw.” These may seem like small victories, but if you are a dog owner, you understand that sense of complete satisfaction when your dog starts listening, responding, and working to make you happy. It is an amazing feeling. You are connecting with another species.
I read every dog book I can get my hands on. I read inspirational stories of adoption and love. I read training books. I read non fictional books on different types of breeds. Like many dog owners, I gain inspiration from the rehabilitated dogs on shows like The Dog Whisperer and It’s Me or the Dog . I am a sucker for the underdog story (no pun intended) of the horribly spastic dog that will seemingly never recover from its obsessions, now living a normal, happy life.
My goal is to be able to have the kind of healthy, happy, trusting, calmly assertive relationship with my dog that I imagine Cesar Millan having with him (if he ever chose to work with my dog!)
I want to be my dog’s Cesar. I want to give him guidance while also allowing him to enjoy the instinctual joys of being a dog. I want him to feel safe and happy and stress-free.
It is true that my dog is my mirror. The more tense or stressed out I am, the more unstable he is on our walks. I have started clicker training with him to reinforce good behavior (especially while on the leash) and try my best to be my happiest, most confident self when interacting with him.
I want to be the person that my dog needs. I want to be his Cesar.
I will be posting some tips and tricks I learn during the training process. Please leave comments about successful (or even failed!) attempts and methods for training your best friend (of the dog variety, that is).