I Never Said I Liked You! The Magic of Relationship in Dogs and Training
With some dogs, it all seems easy, as if they were born to love you. Put on the earth with the sole purpose of being yours entirely and doing whatever you ask them to do. That was my Tyler. He was mine from 4 weeks of age. I would visit him at his breeder’s home and everything else in the room became nonexistent. He would see me and I was all he focused on.
We had a special bond. One that I can’t quite describe as anything other than magic. If they could all be like Tyler, life would be wonderful and we would never need to think outside the box or develop good dog training skills. With Tyler, I got to rest on my laurels and just enjoy teaching him whatever I wanted to.
Then there are the others. The ones we seem to have to sweat over for even the slightest bit of attention or compliance. The ones we seem to constantly feel frustrated over; dogs who make us have to think outside the box — WAY outside the box, to get even the smallest successes to foster our motivation to continue. That dog was my Jayden. Jayden was a beautiful, bouncy, happy Toller puppy. He was the same breed of dog as Tyler, but that’s where their similarities ended. Jayden was, by far, the most independent dog I’ve ever owned. When I visited his litter, he was the one playing in the dirt under the deck by himself, while all of the other puppies were keen on each other and the guests who were gushing over them.
With the grace of hindsight that life gives us, I now know how lucky I am to have loved and shared my life with both types of dogs. As I write this, I feel choked up by the absence of the dog I had to fight the hardest over. Turns out that life with Jayden was also magic — it was a completely different kind of magic, but it was magic nonetheless. Jayden taught me how to train dogs. I never once got to rest on laurels with Jayden, but as soon as I figured out how to make things intriguing for him, I enjoyed Jayden in an entirely different way. Jayden had a long and wonderful life that ended just shy of 14 years. He titled in obedience, agility, flyball, rally-o and field work. He was an amazing demo dog while teaching classes and running with the McCann demo team at events like the Royal Winter Fair and the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show. He had a full and wonderful life and despite…