I find it simply amazing when I’m communicating with the dogs and we are reaching each other in a language that everyone can understand.
Those times when you find that you are actually TALKING to each other.
It still blows my mind.
Like the other day hubby had just gotten home and became the center of jealousy between Brut and Zappa. And just as Brut started to lower his head and ears, I said real quietly, “eh-huh,” and he looked at me. Inside that quick glance I read a fountain of information, but mostly it said, “I really want to. But I respect you.”
I swear he has the eyes of a tiger. I always feel like I’m dealing with a wild animal when he’s in the attack mode. Or when he throwing around his “leave me alone” attitude.
And there is nothing quite like reaching him AND getting a positive and honest response when he’s in that mode out of the respect we have for each other.
We have these kind of discussions all of the time, but it’s the times when I really need him to hear me and he listens by returning the favor that are the most precious.
Those are the times when we really see the truth in each other’s eyes Brut’s communicative eyes have a way of keeping a hold on me. When he is truly who he is.
And it reminds me of a Disney movie or a storybook when the dog “talks” with their body and the child knows what they are saying. I swear sometimes I’m living a dream. Worth every ounce of pain, blood and tears that I went through with Brut to get here.
You'd better have a whole lot of treats to make up for this mess!
I am trying to clip Silver's nails. I'm trying to use clicker training. I pull out the clippers, right off the bat, and bring them straight over to her. Then I try to touch a nail with the clippers while she shuffles her paw back and forth and out of the way. All the while trying to clicker train and reward. I try to catch a nail while feeding her treats one after another to clip a tip off. She sits, she stands, she lays down, she doesn't know what to do except get the food while she can. I'm so flustered, I'm clicking and rewarding when she pulls away and ignoring her when she does something good. The whole thing is a confusing mess and every training session goes like this and I can't figure out why. This time though I'm watching myself and besides thinking this is crazy, I realize I don't know how to do something new with Silver that involves clicker training. Which may sound a bit weird, but really I have so little behavior training I have to do with Silver that I don't know how to do it on her. This is when I also see I'm trying to have her be friends with the nail clippers to clipping a nail all in one shot. I know, it sounds horrible, doesn't it? My poor girl!
So after our mass confusion session, I take my problem to my go-to dogs when it comes to behavior training, Chance and Blaze. They are always the first to learn any trick or behavior issue and I practice everything one them first. This is when I realize I have to start at square one with Silver and let her let me hold her paw for more than a split second.
This is what I practice with Chance and Blaze who will let me do just about anything and the two dogs whom I have the most compassion for because of the abuse they have been through. It helps that they are even tempered and easy to work with and in the process they get yummy treats for something that is so easy for them as holding their paws.
Now I know how to start with Silver. SLOW! And we took that first step today. Just holding her paw and clicking and rewarding. No clippers, no confusion. Just simple.
"One-on-one is so crucial especially in families with big packs."
I found it as a coping tool that when all the dogs were too much at once, I would take one and run away with them. I still do. I've found the best way not only for me, but the dogs as well is taking that one-on-one time with each and every one. It's taking that quality time and giving it all to one, be it 15 minutes or an hour. And as many of you commented on this post you felt the same way. Having and giving that complete individual attention with each dog makes for a happier pack and makes the pack easier to manage.
Taking that special time with one dog, they loosen up out that strong pack mentality and are a little more carefree with letting more of their true personalities show. There's no pressure or threats or vying for your attention, they have all of you and they have no problem giving all of themselves to you. It's in those moments and quiet time when you really bond and forge a new level of true love. You understand each other better, there's a little more peace of mind and you embrace these secret meetings like nothing else matter but you two. The time together is priceless and immeasurable. It is precious and true and is so vital in staying in tune with each individual dog and the pack as a whole. And being a solitary person, taking that one-on-one time just came natural to me when dealing with a "crowd." It is like sharing secrets that the others will never know. And it is those secrets you share in a look in the hustle and bustle of the pack that you know will hold true forever.
Sometimes I forget that Brut needs special attention and especially alone time with me. He has been so good lately that I kind of forgotten that he still needs that one-on-one time. Except for walks, I really haven't been keeping up my end of the bargain and he let it be known loud and clear the other day.
Can we go in now?
I was going to try working on my photo shoot practice for all four Back Dogs together and the whole thing backfired. After working exclusively with Brut's leash training on walks with treats, he's become a little treat monster. I had to stop him twice from going after Fiona. By then whatever fun the three dogs might have been having was over and they all wanted in.
Which left me with Brut.
Me, mom and most importantly, TREATS!!
So I took advantage of the opportunity to work on our agility training. He was very grabby and snappy with the treats. And when he started jumping on me because he was scared and didn't know what was going on, that's when I realized I needed to back up and start over. I took things really slow at first and made him wait for the click to get his treat. We took laps around the yard to unwind in between our agility practice. And I was calmly able to direct him where to go.
When he gets in the mood of I'll do anything for a treat just to get the treat and I give it, I'm just asking for trouble. I also have made a mental note for our next walk that I won't be as giving with treats and that he will have to learn to take them nicely. I can't believe Brut has lasted this long using treats on our walks. He usually blows them off by the second or third walk. He just doesn't care that much when we are walking. So this is quite an improvement. Looks like I have some adjusting to do on our next walk.
But all in all the agility went well, we both got a bit of a work out while doing some mental calming. It was good for both of us. After we sat together and listened to evening birds and wind, silently communing with each other and the freedom to just be. I didn't realize how much I needed this time with Brut either and it was worth every minute.
I don't know about Wordpress, but I have a blast with changing the look of my blog on Blogger. Especially the blog background. The background you see here is Zappa's fur. I had to lighten it order to read the side bars which took me a while to figure out because his color is so beautiful and I've been trying to find a way to use on the blog.
I also use Picasa 3 for my pictures where you can make collages, which is what I do for most of my headers and then you can add features to make it look almost anyway you want.
I personally couldn't deal with a white background, as an artist I hunger for color. And since my eyes are so sensitive I am always looking for colors and mixes that are easy, yet pleasing to the eye.
So how do you like the look of 24 Paws of Love? Do you use or have you used Blogger? What about Picasa 3? What are your thoughts on them? What other programs do you use for your blog?
Is your dogs treats, games and toys taking over every extra storage space in the house? My husband is a treat fanatic. Every night the dogs have an evening snack with us and that means stocking up on and storing treats. Half of the kitchen is dedicated to the dogs. The dogs have TWO of my drawers and part of one cupboard.
Then they have THEIR OWN three drawer plastic storage stacker and if that's not bad enough they rule the top of the fridge. There are also three treat containers on the kitchen island and one in the living room. But let us not forget the garage where there are jumbo bags of large crunchy bones and mini-puppy sized ones and a few secret compartments with emergency stashes.
Is it getting a little crowded in here or is it just me?
Does anyone else get mentally tired after training and working with your dogs? I don't know if it is just me but when I spend one-on-one time with the dogs and we are intently working on some behavior technique, I think I get as tired as they do! I know it's one of the reasons I can usually only walk two different dogs at two different times. I become totally immersed in the bond, connection and training that I'm too exhausted to walk another dog. Physically and mentally.
All the different personalities and quirks that make each dog tick, I try to use to my advantage while always exploring new ideas and techniques. And it doesn't seem to matter what we are working on, I always need a good mental rest before being able to go to the next dog. I don't know how dog trainers and behaviorist do it. Going from one dog to the next and still be so sharp. I was wore out after an hour of just Silver, Brut and Fiona and we were just in the living room!
It's a good tired. Like being in tune with them so much that you
can feel when the dogs get tired as well. Interesting, isn't it? I'm wondering does anyone experience this?