January is National Train Your Dog Month and today is the birthday of one of history's greatest dreamers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When considering what my dream for a change in the world for dogs would be, I imagine more than just each dog having a home. I envision every dog having a job. Of course, loving their best friend is a very fulfilling career for a canine companion but I dream of every dog enjoying even more fulfilling lives through positive reinforcement training. I dream each dog would have the same opportunities I desire in my life. Obviously, I would never want to be homeless but I also would not want an isolated existence without friends, the outdoors and mental stimulation. Dogs deserve socialization and learning opportunities. Best of all, if my dream came true and all dogs were trained, it would mean that less dogs would be in shelters or killed.
The majority of dogs surrendered to shelters are five months to three years. Dogs at this age are frustrating, trained or not. I have been in advanced dog training classes as a trainer of a young dog and with other trainers of young dogs. We have vented our frustrations about our dogs inability to listen to us, unending energy and that it often seems like all of the training we have done since our dogs were puppies just disappears one morning. My collie, Huxley, had earned his Canine Good Citizen and Rally Novice titles before he was eight months old. He passed the Therapy Dog International test before he was old enough to be a registered therapy dog. Yet I cried myself to sleep many, many nights when he was approximately a year old because I felt that I had failed in properly caring for him. He was out of control and nothing I seemed to do helped. Neighborhood walks were an endless battle about a loose leash, he never came when I called him and his attention span in our training sessions could only be measured in nanoseconds. I endured Huxley's rebellious youth and I am glad I did. And even if I hadn't, the excellent base of socialization and training I provided him with would have meant he would have been an amazing pet for someone else.
This is the number one reason why my dream is for all dogs to be trained. The bond that Huxley and I had gained in training is why it meant so much to me for us to continue to work together as a team and my rational for not giving up on him. Huxley being trained also means that he would make a great pet for anyone. All of my pets would. If every worst case scenario event ever were to happen all at once and my pets needed to be re-homed or ended up in a shelter, the fact that they are trained means that they would be more adoptable. Training as also made my dogs more adaptable. They are used to learning new things. In fact, Wilhelm, Brychwyn and Huxley love learning! I would hate for any of my dogs to have to learn a new name but if necessary, our training background means the dogs are open to and even excited about new knowledge. Learning is my dogs job. The fullness in my heart when bonding with a dog enjoying their job is something I dream every person who shares their life with dogs can experience.
Addicted To Team Work
The wonderful feeling of working as a team with a dog is addictive. I have never met anyone who used to train their dogs but quit. In fact, most dog trainers continue to expand their knowledge for decades through many generations of canine companions. I am someone who dabbled in training as a preteen and I continue to find more and more pleasure in trying new jobs with my dogs. Sometimes my dog enjoys a job that is not a favorite activity of mine but I am so enamored with seeing my dog happily working, I stick with it. If my dream of every dog finding a fulfilling job and every human becoming addicted to the feeling of watching their dogs work came true, just imagine what a fantastic world we would live in.