As a fairly frequent viewer of televised shows with dog trainers, it is difficult not to notice how many trainers repeat a similar refrain regarding the importance of maintaining positivity with your pup and reinforcing the right behavior to get the results you want. However so many of us “regular” dog owners can find it to be a challenge to do that when we are “in the moment” with Fido who just doesn’t seem to want to listen.
It was great this weekend, while photographing the American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life Relay event in Mercer County Park, NJ, to have the opportunity to see someone who brought that positivity to life. As the walkers began their non-competitive relay walk for such a great cause, I noticed one walking team come to a complete stop just as they were about to cross a footbridge over a small creek. After several minutes of cajoling, pleading, and begging to go, Mom took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and picked up her charge and carried him across the river –
After watching this, and grabbing this quick picture just after crossing, I waited for their return. Sure enough, a few minutes later, after completing most of the route, the walkers circled back to face the bridge one more time. It was heartwarming to see mom, prepared now for what she was to face, stop her charge, sit with him, talk with him, reassure him that they could do it together. After building his confidence and getting some momentum….they found…. SUCCESS!
It was so great to see first hand at a large event, with so many strange people, dogs and smells…that this dog and his mom could work together by being positive and get him across this literal and figurative hurdle.
Congratulations to you both, and thanks for serving as such a great reminder about the power of positivity with our pets and what we can all accomplish by working with them in such a reassuring way.