Rescuing a rescued dog isn’t new to me since we got our previous dog because I wanted a dog and some friends couldn’t conveniently take their dog with them when they moved overseas we took him to protect from a worse fate. The eleven years with Mozart (the dog) were wonderful and, sometimes stressful. He provided great companionship and protection as we journeyed through our lives together. He passed away in November 2009 from cancer.
The thought getting another dog wasn’t something I was willing to entertain. I’d had enough walking, going to the vet, exercising, etc., requirements we’re all familiar with when we add a dog to our family.
However, my wife and one of my closest friends decided differently and without talking with each other beforehand. Soon I found myself bombarded with pics and profiles of dogs looking for their Forever Home. I wasn’t impressed and wasn’t going to do it again.
Regardless of my objections, I chose a young dog from the millions of pics sent to me. After all, if I am going this route, I want a young dog that I can train and teach how I want him to be. Thus began our journey together…
Before we went to any classes or began any training, I determined what I wanted the dog to do or be able to do. I decided he was going to be respectful of me, my wife, other people and animals, meaning no jumping up, barking constantly, or dragging me by the leash when walking. I had a vision.
Bonding with your Dog
The usual obedience classes that you can find at your local Pet Store came in handy. I read quite a few blogs and any materials I could to refresh my memory on caring for our new dog. Our training began and went through the snowiest winter in the history of our area which added to the challenge. I quickly found that repetitive practice of our class exercises and my readings worked well to get his attention and began to explore a more customized training.
When we finally shoveled out from all the snow, we began walking again through our neighborhood. As we did, more ideas in training my new dog came to mind. For instance, the first thing I wanted him to learn was to stay out of the street regardless whether in the neighborhood, a roadway or a parking lot, I didn’t want him to cross without my approval. We accomplished this by stopping at all intersections and using the command, “OK”, when it’s appropriate for us to cross. Not only is this for my dog’s safety but mine. Before I knew it, he was automatically doing stopping and waiting.
When I realized his potential and winter came again, I decided to introduce him to a new command. While walking one morning, we came across an area covered with ice and snow, I immediately said “Wait! Wait! Wait!” to get him to slow down his pace and I could walk through without falling. When he did it, I praised him. Eventually, this command was introduced on rocky slopes and hills. Now, he not only slows down in icy spots but places that are just wet. I praise him so he knows he’s pleasing me. On one walk, we came upon a rocky hill, he slowed down and got my attention. Apparently, he thought I should take it at a slower pace and he was right.
Our walks, training, and learning about each other has created a bond of companionship which I would sorely miss. He keeps me company many hours when I’m working on my photography or blogging. Would I adopt from a rescue and go through this again? Most definitely. I have found the experience to be worth it. Now, I take days off from work to escape the stresses of life and take him for a long walk two to three times in the day and rewarding him with a special treat from a pet store.
Bonding with your Dog
Allen Pearson, Dog Photographer and Blogger, www.allenpearsonsphotos.com
Noah Pearson, Pawthor of dullesdog.blogspot.com