Today I was struck by a bystander in our therapy dog group setting who told me that I am so “lucky” to have such a great dog. To the untrained eye it does look that way and I do feel so lucky to have Brya in my life.
Brya IS a great dog. But she could just as easily been a crazy anxious misbehaving dog. I consider us a team. I put the work (and it was a lot of work) in when she was very young to train her. I tell my clients this all the time- if you put in the intense work, no matter what the age of your dog, for the first 6 months and you will have the rest of your pet’s life to reap the benefits.
I practice exercise, discipline and affection in that order. Because I fulfill Brya’s physical needs and I give her reasonable boundaries and limitations, she is a happy girl. This allows me to give her the affection for a job well done. I never wonder how she will act in a public setting. I have exposed her to many different situations and know that she will behave. How, you say? Because we are a team. She looks to me for direction. I was able to build that bond with her and take the leadership role.
Having such great manners and socialization allowed us to pass the Therapy Dog Evaluation and Certification with flying colors-at 1year old!! We didn’t know what would be asked of us on test day; however, we knew we could handle anything they threw at us…..together! Brya loves her job and we hope the kids/people she visits agree
Our situation may be a bit different from most dog owners because I happen to work for myself. Therefore, I was able to spend a great deal of time with Brya and she often comes to work with me. But never think you don’t have enough time to train your dog. Even a small amount of consistent training is beneficial. It may take a bit longer to get results, but they will come!