My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Does your dog listen to you when you whisper?

Over the course of the past 10 months I have re-thought all the interaction and training approaches I had fallen into in the first 8 months we were raising our dogs. The improvements in all our lives has been invaluable. My often OCD controlling dark side rarely surfaces anymore much to my husbands delight not to mention the dogs.

When we started this venture it was easy to let my voice escalate in volume when re-directing the dogs, not to mention the often increasing harshness in my tone of voice as I was saying the same command for the hundredth time. It was quite easy for it to go down hill from there quite quickly. The image of the tiny pebble turning into the gigantic snow ball that consumes everything in its path is quite appropriate here.

After much work, primarily on my part, and a little bit of maturing on the dogs part the harmony in our house is a beautiful gift. I fell into, by accident almost, giving my commands to the dogs in a whisper. Quiet peaceful moments are so special now that disturbing it with the sound of my voice does not seem right sometimes. I should not have been surprised when the request was immediately complied with but I was.

I'll be very honest, I don't whisper all my commands to the dogs. I do still raise my voice at times, and Shelby still seems to have that wonderful knack of drawing the "most charming" tone of voice out of me. (Yes, I'm being very sarcastic here.) But the more I remove my voice out of the equation the more I notice their active intelligent response to my request. They may think and pause a bit when all I give them is a hand signal and body language direction, but there is a lot less "arguing" and "back talk" especially from Shelby. (If you have a dog I'm sure you know what I'm talking about when it comes to "arguing" and "back talk".)

When my sister and I sit down to talk and share we often say, "yeah, I know what you mean." She however is raising to boys ages 4 and 6, while I have two yellow Labradors. "Impossible", you say, "how could you have anything in common with a mom of two boys?" Trust me when I tell you that we have more to commiserate about that I had ever thought.

Dogs are living breathing, feeling, emotional beings and anyone that says otherwise is missing out on the best part of owning and living with a dog. We all have emotional needs, to say otherwise is truly unfair. For me finding the least possible force to direct my dogs is what I am striving for. Right now adding in a whisper when ever I can is a great start for me.

Here's to whispering more and shouting less!!

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