Friday, December 11, 2015

Showing off a silly side!

I cannot stress this enough - the more you training/engaging with your dog using force free methods the better relationship you will have with your dog.  By doing even just ongoing basic training you build confidence in your dog and you build a strong relationship with your dog grounded in trust. A win win for everyone!  It's beyond amazing to me the relationship that we have with our own dogs, Catty and D'light because of how we interact with them and the training methods we apply. Both Catty and D'light came to us with a number of behaviors that were perplexing at times.  But, we all hung in there with each other. Over the years, we have educated ourselves around working with them using force free training.  We also do a lot of paying attention to what they are constantly tell us via their body language and behaviors.
Viva has some similar behaviors that Catty had when she first came to us - dog reactivity, some touch concerns and generally not being all that trusting of humans.  I'm glad that my experience with Catty (the good and hard times) has helped shape how I engage with Viva.  Viva and I have lots and lots of interactions and as time goes by it's clear that she's more trusting of me and I thank her for that.  Clearly she didn't bring much trust with her and we are slowly showing her that humans can be trusted and life can be fun and relaxing.
Every once in a while Viva will cut loose with both Brett and myself.  Here she once one night and it was great that we were able to catch her on camera. 
Do notice that at any point and time she can leave and/or disengage.

This is Viva's play sessions so again, she sets the pace and decides what she wants to do.  This level of close play with us is a lot for her and I doubt she has much experience doing this with a person.

We go back to a game she loves - playing tug.   By going back to this game she will see experiences that she is not required or forced to have such close hand play with me.

We play just bit more and her body language lets me know she's had enough for now of this game.  Sweet silly girl!

Wondering what that barking noise was through out the video's?
It was D'light playing with his talking toy dog... 
This is a great toy for D'light as he has to figure out how to make it talk.  It really works his brain in terms of problem solving.  When D'light first came to us he had no understanding of what toys were and was scared to death of any that made any noise. We've worked with that over the years and as you can see he thinks toys are pretty fun.

Before Viva and I started playing, D'light was rooting around in the toy bin.  The toy bin is still up as Viva continues to be uncomfortable if D'light and Catty are playing with toys on the ground.  The bin and a bed are on area that is raised about 4 feet of the ground - D'light has figured out he can play with the toys up here!

"Should I play with dog or another fun toy?"

"Toy dog it is!"


  1. It's really touching to see the progress that you've made with both D'light and Viva, Julee. It's also a wonderful reminder to me to work with our dogs at their own pace, which takes patience, patience, and more patience.

    1. Thank you Laurie! When I'm starting to feel frustrated I will often ask what could I do different to help the dog in front of me. For me it was a mind shift of being more patient and increasing my curiosity and observation skills. Dogs do what work for them. If they haven't been given the tools to be success of what we are asking of them how can we expect anything else from them? That's what I constantly remind myself when the going gets tough.