Friday, February 11, 2011

We don't really train dogs, they train us

It's true. A dog that's ill doesn't respond well to us or eat or play or do much of anything, making us take him or her to the vet. A dog that barks a lot prompts us to find out what or who is making him bark, then look for ways to stop it or at least decrease its frequency. A dog that paws at the door trains us to let him in or out. A dog that begs at the table trains us to focus our attention on him and even sneak him some of the food we're eating. A dog that stops playing with one toy trains us to remove that toy and replace it with a different one.

Sometimes, there's a fine line, as in the case of a dog who insists on smelling the grass or a dried piece of another dog's poop and no calling or shouting or pulling can make that dog pay attention to us and what we want, at least not right away. About all we can do is say "No" and hope that the dog listens.

Compare all of that to our efforts to train dogs. Wow!

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