I want you to look at these pictures and tell me how it makes you feel to look at them.
And how do you think the dog is feeling in the same images?
Last night we started the Activity & Sports Foundation Class with the hardest of exercises – engagement! Learning how much attention and focus our dogs can offer us even when we aren’t “training”, or clearly offering food or toys.
Anyone who trains with WCC knows we are all about rewarding and paying for the stuff we like in our dogs (and people!).
But it’s important not to slip into bribing our dogs to work with us.
And there’s a handy phrase that trainers sometimes use – transfer of value. It means making sure the excitement, positive feeling and joy transfers from the game/toy/food to include the handler too.
First of all, you need to find out what brings your dog joy, and be willing to unleash your inhibitions to really join in with your dog.
It’s not enough (for me) that my dog can do a specific behaviour or task. I want to see joy, enthusiasm and willingness in both of us!
So this week if you feel like a wee challenge, try filming some of your training sessions or walks.
Watch the videos back and just observe how you, and your dog, are feeling.
Tell me how you get on!
Have a joyful week
Morag, the collie girls and the big yin
Ultra Canicross Runner, Firewalker, Clinical Animal Behaviourist
PS Don’t forget that Clare is running a one-day workshop version of our Activity & Sports Foundations programme on Sunday 9th September in York. There are still some handler places left – why not come and find out what makes your dog’s heart sing!