A friend of mine once observed:
"It's interesting how much closer one feels to a well-trained dog..."
This is so true, but why do we feel like that?
It's certainly not about the dog doing a sit, gives paw or doing some other tricks. It goes much deeper than that...
When you teach your dog, you create a special language between the two of you. With every new "word" you both open another door to your understanding of each other. If you both like what you see behind those little doors you grow closer together.
With time you may learn to feel each other almost like if you are one. This is when you may say that your dog can read our mind. It goes both ways too.
That true connection to another living being enriches you both.
Imagine if you are in a foreign country and you do not speak the language.
You would probably feel quite isolated and unhappy.
A dog feels the same when it can't tell you what it wants and does not understand what you are asking either.
By teaching your dog tricks, words, commands and gestures you develop that language that you can use to communicate with each other.
The more words and commands your dog knows, the larger is your joint vocabulary and more things you can tell each other, the stronger is your bond.
Many people and even professional dog trainers see trick training as simply teaching the dog to do some stuff on command and we think they are missing the whole point. It's primarily about the relationship, expanding your communication and your bond. You can teach the dog to perform the commands but if done without love and connection, those doors of communication will stay shut.
It's not only about knowing the "words" of course, but about the positive feelings that those words and your time together bring to you both. That's why we feel that it's so important that all training needs to be positive and build on love, trust and fun.
To introduce more fun and trust also try to do as many other things together as you can and share many good moments together.
Here are some more ideas for you to help to create those happy moments:
Go on a nature walks and enjoy the nature together
Take time to observe your dog when walking. Try to see the world the way your dog may see it. What does it find exciting? Scary? What are your dog's interests?
Bring your dog back to you when you walk and enjoy some intercation together. It could be a cuddle, a little praise, a quick play. This will keep you in your dog's mind too as you walk together.
Life is not just about learning and trainng but also about fun. Play games with your dog!
Try to play something every day if you can.
Games are fun for your dog and you'll enjoy them too!
Here is a big selection of games you can try to play even without leaving your home:
Give your dog something meaningful to do if you are busy
There are those days when we are busy and just can't find as much time as we'd like to give to the dog.
Give your dog something fun to do!
There are lots of educational toys out there or you can use food-based games:
Get involved in dog sport
There are so many options that will fit any dog and the owner.
From agility to hoopers, dock diving, flyball, obedience, rally, hunting trials, trick training, dog talent shows, dancing with dogs etc. The choices are great and it will give you both some focus and hopefully a joint hobby that you can share.
Do something meaningful with your dog
In additon to dog sports you can do other things with your dog that will help other people or communuty.
Here are some of the ideas you can try:
Make most of the time you have together and grow your love, bond and happiness.