I became a dog trainer to facilitate the relationship between dogs and humans. My goal was to create a relationship based on trust and understanding. By opening the lines of communication, I felt like I could achieve my goal of keeping more dogs in their homes and educate people about force-free training.
Now, fifteen years later, I realize I was partially correct. Dog Training is about creating relationships, but not just between dogs and their people. It’s about friendships between people with the love and enjoyment of their canine companions as a connecting point.
Many of my agility students continue attending classes for years. Agility challenges are never ending. The need to practice or the addition new dogs to a home keeps clients coming back. It is also the camaraderie that keeps people coming. Only another agility competitor can understand the anguish of a broken start line stay, or the loss of a beloved dog to age or injury. The bonds created during long agility weekends add to the enjoyment of the sport and create long lasting friendships.
Dog parks are another place where relationships often form. There are regular groups who meet at the same time daily. Everyone socializes human and canine, to create a satisfying situation beneficial to all involved. Sometimes people are known by their dogs, I was Topper’s mother with the regular dog walker’s crowd in Maryland. I knew Pete’s father, Gandalf’s mother and an additional assortment of canine recognized relationships. Seeing my dog walking buddies enriched my days as Dog Park factions seem to do for each other. It isn’t just the dogs, but our ability to connect with each other.
I hope that dog owners learn to take advantage of building relationships, with their dogs, with their trainers and with fellow dog aficionados. By connecting with each other through our pets, we create a richness of life that is wonderfully rewarding.