Monday, 5 September 2011

Let's put our Paws together

I think it is about time I introduce you to the LITTLE love in my life.  My loyal “dog being”.  I know this blog focuses on my natural gourmet cosmetics journey but it seems absolutely absurd that she hasn’t featured here yet since she is the little one that keeps me growing.

Last year, after 5 looooooooooooong years of waiting, I got “Missy.”  A black and tan Miniature Dachshund.  I just wanted a little dog to share loads of love with.  One that would cuddle on my lap and be cute.  Little did I know that this little puppy was so brilliant.  It is my first dog and I didn’t even know how to teach her to sit.  So curious and excited, “Google” became my best friend on the journey to train my little snoopy the manners I deemed necessary.  It started as a fun in the sun process and I spent hours in the garden taking pictures, running, chasing and training.  I understood the principle of reward (It works!!!) and armed with food, I began to teach my little black dog some obedience. 

8 weeks down the line, Missy sits, lies down, high fives and gives the paw.  Faced with so much potential, I look to take it further and I am introduced to the “Canine Academy:” A dog training school in my area.  So, off I go and I register at the academy.  Training at home had got us up on the right foot/paw, but something was missing.  She needed to be socialized and make friends.  I can’t believe the complexity of “dog culture.”  I thought I was taking my dog to training.  Turned out, I was the one who needed to learn… 

The Academy is so much fun.  With various breeds of dogs, socializing there is a full and wholesome experience for the pups but also for the owners.  I have learned so much about other breeds and their personalities.  From German shepherds to Jack Russells and everything in between, the training is rich and diverse.  Lots of children accompany their parents as well, making the training interesting and versatile.  They teach children how to approach dogs safely; encourage interactions between dogs and children and show how to do it all safely.  They make a point of teaching all the “rules” that make great dog owners and pack leaders.  With a team of exceptional trainers, each session is unique, fun and successful.  Some make small steps whilst others make big ones and at the end of the session everyone is a step closer to success.  What I love about the “Canine Academy” is that it is driven with passion and that everyone is part of one big family.    

Week after week, progress after progress, I am ecstatic to see that Missy and I make a fantastic pair…  6 months in Puppy Obedience training and my “Child” earns her very first ribbon for being the most improved dog of the year in the puppy section (Mommy’s so proud!!!)  She then moves into the next level and let me tell you, she absolutely adores going there.  I can’t believe how much she understands.  She knows when it is Saturday and when we are going to school. 

The meaning of “dog” has been redefined in my life.  Missy is not just the cuddly, cute little dog I got her for in the first place.  There is a “dog culture" that is different to ours and bridging the gap between our languages harmonises our relationship.  It’s like men and women, we speak the same language but we somehow manage to communicate differently.  It is all about bridging the gap.  If you have a little “devil” at home perhaps you just don’t speak the same language, and if you can’t communicate, how can you enrich your relationship?  Some say, the breed is the problem, some say, the owner is the problem.  I think that it all boils down to a communication issue and we as human beings are equipped with the ability to understand and act in accordance in order to create the result we want.  It is therefore our responsibility to bridge the gap if we decide to own a dog.  And why not have fun whilst we’re at it?  I say, come and join us at the Canine Academy every Saturday from 1:30pm-2:30pm at the Pinetown Junior Primary School.  For more information about the “Canine Academy,” visit the website. 

Here are some pictures:

Where all the dogs and handlers socialize and get to know each other.  This is also the time that trainers use to identify any dysfunctional behaviour related to socializing and address it with the owners.  The precious one on one time with the experts to learn how you can best lead your pack in a healthy and wholesome way. 

Dogs and Owners Socialising
Lesson time:
This is a very important part of the session as the experts give a short lesson on the topics of the day.  Dog owners have the opportunity to learn and ask questions.  I cherish this part of the process as I learnt some important lessons there.

Full attention on the action
One of the important lesson this week was focussed on  showing dog
owners a clean and responsible way to clean up after their dogs.
This is crucial if you want to be a responsible dog owner.

Training time:
Dogs socially satisfied and owners confident, it is now time to put it all into practice.  This is the time where things happen.  Again here, one on one attention is given and with positive attitude, we see the most amazing things happen.  It is the time where you learn as much as your dog does.  You learn to communicate effectively with your pet.

Trainer Anne training about the walk
A little more advanced:
This is about deepening in obedience and learning some more…

Some heeling work with our dogs.  
Deepening our "Stay" 
Last but not least, here is Missy "The Little Black Dog:"

Sitting for mommy
Lying Down
This is our "Focus" moment
Giving the Paw
A little BOW...
Learning to wait for the command to eat her treat.
Finally, when all is done HIGH FIVE!!!

All I can say is: 
"How wonderful life is while you're in the world"
Your Song-Elton John

ox Sarah xo

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