This evening, I had an experience with our dog Bella which made me grateful for not only the training we have done with her, but the bond and trust that this training has created. We have new neighbors and their dog Aspen and Bella have become friends. I heard Bella in the kitchen, wanting to go out and play with Aspen. I let Bella out into the common driveway and in a flash, she and Aspen took off towards the nature preserve where coyotes, bob cats and other predators make it a very unsafe place for domesticated dogs to be. I called for Bella, but to no avail.
The neighbor, hearing my calls told me the dogs had run after their cat, chasing him up a tree. I headed for the preserve, continuing to call for Bella, worried she might have ignored my calls. A few minutes later when I came back into the garage, she was there…tail between her legs and extremely apologetic. This is the first time she has run off since we’ve had her. I scolded her, sent her to her bed to stay and then calmed myself down. A few minutes later, I gently called her to me, stroked her and had a talk with her, letting her know that I knew she was sorry and that I had been concerned for her life. I told her she was a good girl for coming back to the house when she heard my calls, we cuddled, cleared the energy and all was well.
Training our animals isn’t just about making them do what we want. It’s about building trust, respect and a bond that goes both ways.