Back to the basics of having a good relationship with your dog.

I like to find ways to have a closer relationship with my dogs. The main message of "My Doggie Says...Messages from Jamie. How a dog named Jamie 'talks' to her people" is that, by observing your dog's behavior, you can gain a better understanding of your dog. And then, of course, you have to act on what you learn. Right from the first day Callie arrived at our house, when she was eight weeks old, she has invited me to play soccer with an old, under-inflated soccer ball. So I make time to play soccer with her. Here she is, waiting inside her tunnel, to see which direction I'm going to kick the ball. mvi_0290_0001-3.jpg And here she is in action: img_5411-3.jpg But it's important to pay attention to the basics, too. Here, on eSecret, is a good article titled "Are you a Good Dog Owner?" The keys, according to this article are 1) giving your dog lots of exercise, 2) rewarding and complimenting it often, 3) having structured training times, 4) having your dog groomed several times a year, and 5) giving your dog lots of social interaction with both dogs and people. We work hard at giving Callie lots of exercise (long walks, soccer games and swimming), plenty of positive feedback, and lots of dog and people social interaction. We do work with her on the basic commands, but we can learn to be more structured about it. It's just about time to enroll Callie in Puppy Kindergarten. We're hoping we can get her in a class with the same instructor who helped us learn to train Jamie (the heroine of "My Doggie Says..."). Her name is Ethel Mercer, and she works with the Lomita Obedience Training Club. See the web-link in the right-hand sidebar of this blog.