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How many of us are really "in tune" with our dog?We spend all this energy training and discussing training but many of us dont pay close enough attention to the subtle things our dogs are trying to tell us.
When your dog suddenly turns his head and his ears go up,this is an indication.Are you aware EVERY time this happens when your dog is with you or at least on leash?An indication such as this is a very powerful bit of information.It could be that there is a threat you wouldnt notice.It is very important that you are aware of such indications.
When we have our dog on lead they are aware of EVERYTHING we do.They can see it and sense it and feel it.Every move we make they are aware of. Why then are we often in another world.When our mind is not on our dog they know this also.This communicates to them that you are uninterested in what they are doing and they will begin to be less in tune with what you are doing and more in their own world.Often they will start to sniff the ground when this happens and the handler and dog are no longer a team.
So my point is that by just being more aware of what our dogs are doing at all times,will make the dog more interested in what we are doing also.See, both dog and handler have to be working together.Both minds should be on the same task.It is this interest in the work and the honest desire to work WITH the dog that motivates him.You can neither force or bribe a dog to do this.
The next step to being even more in tune with your dog is to simply maintain vocal contact.This is more than just talking to the dog.It is very much a useful tool in keeping the mental connection between you and your dog.
If we then put an obstacle into the equation it gives both handler and dog a task to focus on.This strenghtens the working bond and if done correctly,the communication becomes sharper and clearer.
From this foundation comes endless possibilities.Eventually we dont have to train as much as communicate to the dog what it is we desire.Sometimes the dog follows a command it hasnt been taught and completes the task that it has never done before.How is this possible?The level of communication has evolved to such a degree that these things can happen.
I write this article to not try to teach but to get others to imagine the possibilities.I hear many people both on and off the forum say that their current dog probably isnt "good enough".If you go just by the standards others have set,you are placing limitations both on yourselves and on your dogs.I believe the dog you have now is capable of much more.While it might not be able to compete on the field or work the street you might explore a different approach.I think you just might be amazed.
 

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Good article Greg!
You explained the difference between someone that has a dog with them that they may have trained and a working team.
 
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