Over the years and over the course of training my own dogs for various dog sports I have gotten better at what I do. Well, I like to think so. 🙂 I have changed my approach and thinking many times and adapted techniques over the years. With each level of success there is one consistent thing I have found I do more and more of and that is play! Oh for sure I have played with each dog I have owned but one thing is for sure: REALLY knowing how to play with your dog and APPLYING IT as a reward and relationship builder is a big key to a lot of things people dream about with their dogs. Things like DESIRE, DRIVE, ATTENTION, AND FREAKY FOCUS. I love shopping for dog toys and who doesn’t like to present their dogs with a brand new toy? But I also use ‘me’ , my body as a toy to bump off of, my mouth to make funny noises, my hands to tickle and ‘bite’ tease, my head to let them rub in my hair or my arm or leg to grab. I was thinking today when I went outside in the cold with them how much they love my gloves, particularly Glover who I brought home as a puppy last year at this time. (Brrr…winter puppies.) He loved playing with my gloves and what a handy toy that is? Smells like me, (bonus), part of me (another bonus), and can be a cool surprise reward (super bonus) when I decide I can whip it off and throw for a retrieve. I must be nuts because I always let my dogs play with my shoes and boots as well. I love to send Agnes to go upstairs and look for matching pairs….haha I just ‘have’ to make it more difficult for a Border Collie now don’t I? Anyway, the point is these are things are a part of me and that makes for better bonding opportunities and relationship building through interactive play. Anything that is so desirable is also an opportunity for teaching more control, such as “Play with it with permission, leave it when I say and do not eat it!”
Dogs that play with us, want to be with us and learn and earn with us.