Dog Training: Not For The Faint Of Heart

Dog training.

Fun?

Frustrating?

Exciting?

Maddening?

Joyous?

Exhausting?

All of the above?

Yes, and then some. 

I’ll be honest. After Monday night’s Reactive Rover class with Jade I was ready to give up, ready to admit I suck at dog training, ready to shout to the world that I’ll never have another dog training success. 

Jade didn’t do anything awful. The trainer treated Jade and me with kindness and patience. But Monday night I realized just how badly I misread Jade the past two and a half years that we’ve had her. I had no idea how afraid of new situations she is. None. 

How did I fail her this badly? Will she be able to overcome the ways I’ve mishandled her and her situation? 

But then came Tuesday evening.

After work Daniel and I took her to a large grassy area in a shopping center near our house. Just to get her out. To get her to a new place. To start trying to help her regain some confidence. 

Yeah, she was afraid, but she explored. Slowly her tail came up. She didn’t want to stay long, but she did it. 

She’s doing great with her mat work, too. Will she come out of her shell in class when we resume September 1? I don’t know. 

But what I do know is that I will do everything I can to help her. And if she never enjoys new places that’s okay. The couch is always hers for as long as she lives. 

Out of the Mouth of my Very Smart Husband

Saturday Daniel took me to watch an agility trial after we got our hair cut and ate breakfast. He’s nice that way. Does stuff I enjoy just because I enjoy it. But that’s another post.

I’m not sure how long we were there watching the dogs and their handlers run agility courses, but it seemed like only a minute. Probably closer to two hours. I could have stayed all day. There’s nothing like watching dog and handler teams working together.

But what Daniel said to me on the way home stopped me and left me speechless. Which he will tell you seldom, if ever, happens.

He said, “You need to do that.”

I replied, “Do what?”

“Learn to work with dogs,” he explained.

“Well, I’m trying to learn,” I said.

He turned to look at me and uttered the words that made me speechless, the words I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since Saturday afternoon.

“No, I mean you need to work with dogs. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you that passionate about something. You were sitting up on the edge of your seat completely involved in what was going on.”

Wow.

He’s right. I love working with dogs. I would love to be able to do what those dog/handler teams do.

So I think I will.