The Intimacy of Dog Training

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I wonder how our intimate relationships would shape up if we invested in them the time, effort and wisdom we invest in training our dogs.

Take recall, for example. This has been one of the top challenges for me with Tilly, and I learned that:

– If I chase her, she’ll run farther away from me. So do lovers.

– It’s my job to make it worthwhile for her to come to me when I call her. Guilt trips, sermons, and sulking don’t work with dogs. They don’t work with spouses and lovers either, do they.

– Tilly should know that when she comes to me, good things happen: treats, toys, praise, and more freedom. Every time, without fail. No punishment. No threatening with divorce. Only good things, every time, all the time. Imagine a marriage like that. Think about it.

-It’s my job to be sexier than squirrels, geese, skunks (hopefully!) and all the other dogs in the park. Today we went to the Bruce Pit dog park and she ran with other dogs, but stayed close to me the whole time. A bit like an open marriage, she ran with others but came back to me. Isn’t it wiser to make yourself more attractive rather than try to eliminate the competition (good luck with that!) or worse, lock the poor soul in a cage, away from the world?