It’s easy to think of dog training as a one-way street. You teach the dog that certain words and perhaps certain hand signals mean that the dog is supposed to do a particular action. This can seem cut and dried, right?
But it doesn’t exactly work that way. The dogs are training us, too. We many not notice it much, but it’s still going on. For example:
This morning I got up shortly before dawn. I slipped out at first light and did my stretching exercises and some brisk walking in our large yard. A bit later, my husband Kelly got up and let the dogs out.
I was just beginning my Qigong routine when our young Rottweiler Lola came over to me, bumped into my legs, and looked up at me. Oh yeah, I hadn’t fed them yet. She and I happened to be in the part of the sunroom where she gets fed.
“Just a little while, hon,” I said to her. Normally I feed the pets before doing my exercise routine but since I was approaching the end of my exercises, I figured I’d finish them.
Lola looked at me again. Then she sat.
She gazed into my eyes eagerly as she sat. The communication could not have been clearer. I always ask her to sit before setting her food bowl down. Now here she was sitting… how about that food bowl?
“I get your message,” I said. “It won’t be long.” I figured my Qigong would be another ten minutes or so.
The dog kept looking at me expectantly. At least, she didn’t drool, as she sometimes does when her dish is on the floor and I haven’t released her yet from the sit.
Oh, that eagerness! Oh, that clear communication!
“All right,” I said. “I’ll do it now.” She bounded up and went straight into the kitchen, the better to watch me prepare the food.
Who was doing the training this morning?
If you have a story of your dog training you, please share it in the comments.
Original post Oct. 13, 2009