A guest blog by Patrice Kuiken.
I met Patrice at a local networking event and was immediately drawn to her. Both for her quiet smile and kind eyes, as for her description of the positive training she provides, for those of us with challenging dogs. And, for those who are just good pet parents in wanting to bond with their dogs through positive training. I love how Patrice approaches her work and how she doesn't blame the pet parent or the pet, but works to help everyone play well together! Isn't that what the human animal bond is about? Learning to use our love and affection for each other in a positive, useful, supportive way?
This post is especially focused. Read on...and learn.
As a dog trainer in Denver I myself have a hard time finding those spare moments to work with my own dog, Finn, an Australian Shepard. Isn’t the saying, “the Cobbler’s children have no shoes”? Well, that is true in my household some days more than others!
I have found a way I can get both the enjoyment of playing with Finn and training him all in one game. Tug-of-war!
Tug-of-war has been a contentious game in the dog training world, with some trainers claiming that it will make your dog more aggressive, or that you always have to win so your dog will know who’s boss. Thankfully, this is not really the case. Tug-of-war is a great game to play with your dog that can teach him wonderful impulse control as long as you follow a few rules…
1.) I always initiate the game with my dog (I am the one who offers the toy for Finn to play with). The reason being, I don’t want my dog to learn to just jump up and grab anything that I have in my hands. I am a big fan of scarves, but not much of a fan of those scarves being turned into tug toys. Thus, Rule #1: I let him know when we are playing by telling him to “Take” the toy and encourage him with praise and happy talk.