What a 12 year old helped me remember about dog training.


Ever notice how chance encounters can change your perspective in just the needed way?

I recently spent time visiting the Grand Canyon for a few days. While stopping by the American Flyer Coffee Shop in Williams, AZ I meet Tori and her family. Tori shared with me some great stories about Clover, a pet Lop Eared Rabbit she had.

Tori is a young girl, perhaps 12, who along with her sister is being home schooled and happened to be in the coffee shop with her mom that morning. She noticed my dog Tommy laying by my side and came over to chat about her recent study of service dogs and their training. Our conversation meandered to her experiences training her pet rabbit, Clover. She told me how she had taught him to come when called by starting very close to him and when he hopped over she would give him a massage. Or in her words, “you know, give him something he likes and he likes when I scratch him like this” and she demonstrated with her tiny hands the action of kneading the bunnies shoulders.
She told me how she gradually increased the distance she was from him and he kept learning to come when he was called. And she informed me that of course you just need to keep practicing that. 🙂

She shared other stories including one of him slipping out through a hole in the fence once and being lost, but he did eventually return home.

But there was one sentence that Tori spoke that caught my attention. She said the most important thing in training him was just *hanging out* She told me how she would just hang out with him for 30 or so minutes a day. How she read to him and how he would put his foot on her book when he wanted to be done with the reading and just be together.

So out of the mouth of babes…..great wisdom from Tori.

How much time have you spent with your dog today?