Waiting for the Click: Connection isn’t always easy
One of my favourite things that I have experienced through training my dogs for agility is the connection that I feel with my dogs both in the ring and in everyday life. Many of us have felt that special connection with particular dogs throughout our agility career, but what about when we don’t immediately connect with our dog?
If we look back, it is likely very rare that we connected with any of our dogs right away, but when we get a new dog we are usually comparing them to our adults dogs that we have built a relationship with over time. So often I find people are quick to get frustrated with these comparisons and it causes them to have an even harder time connecting with their young dogs. I have definitely been guilty of this myself with my border collie puppy Heist. He hasn’t been the easiest dog to connect with and it often feels like we are playing “mental chess” as he outsmarts me time and time again. We’ve both had our fair share of frustration with one another as we struggle to find the balance between us. I’ve been told a few times lately that “we often get the dog we need, not necessarily the dog we want/expect”.
I think that this is often true, and looking back I can say that my struggles with Dice made our connection that much stronger. It would have been easy for me to say that she was a “shut down dog” or that she didn’t have the drive I wanted and move onto my next dog. In reality, she is an amazing dog that broadened the way I thought about dog training. She pushed me to become a better handler and trainer and in return gave me all the heart that a dog can give.
Heist may not be what I expected from my first border collie (I call him my super evil genius puppy J) but I absolutely believe that he is exactly the dog I need. My connection with Heist is steadily growing and teaching me a lot along the way. Sometimes the strongest connections just take time to develop.
Some of us spend our time trying to find that perfect dog, and some of us spend our time making our current dog into the champion we know they can be.
“Success is not a place at which one arrives, but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.” – Alex Noble
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