So, I enjoy dog training. To me, it combines the fun of a hobby with the love and companionship of a dog, so it’s awesome. I don’t know that if I had to do it everyday and if I had to deal with the exhaustion of dealing with the people that came along with their dogs if I would love it as much, but that is why I don’t do it professionally. I wrote a while ago in this post about general dog training advice that my frustration with “The Dog Whisperer” is that a lot of his advice *is* good, but some of his other advice is *really* bad. I wouldn’t even have much of a problem with that if the man continued trying to learn, or at least learned new things and admitted once in a while that he has (as we all have) made mistakes.
While working with Miss Mia and attempting to introduce her into the household I made about 19 mistakes – but by golly, I learned from each and every one of them. She is now fully enmeshed in “the pack” and the current love interest of a SamSam. They spend approximately 19 hours of each day licking each other (ick!) and if they aren’t licking (ick!), they are sharing a stolen hanger with each of them chewing a side in a very “Lady & the Tramp” sort of way (awww!) or sleeping canoodled together (it really is disgustingly cute).
I said all of that to basically say – 99.5% of everything I do in regards to dog training has been learned by attending dog training classes or reading dog training books, blogs, websites, chat rooms, etc.; in other words – everything I know has been learned from others. The only thing that I do that I have never seen written before (although I am sure I didn’t invent it – just haven’t found anyone who wrote it down) is a wipe down. It’s one of the ways I bond with sick and/or injured rescues, comfort puppies, and reinforce that happylovepack feeling to all my dogs and it is just as simple as it sounds – wipe down the dog.
It doesn’t have to be overly special, I have wiped down dogs by using a post-shower damp towel, baby wipes, wet washclothes, dampened paper towels, t-shirts, pretty much anything handy. If you are dealing with a nervous dog don’t wipe their head or face, just gently wipe down their body. Over time (weeks), they will become more comfortable and you will be able to wipe them from nose to tail. A couple of reasons I think this wipe down technique helps form a bond and soothe a dog is because dogs naturally groom each other when they are comfortable together and a mama dog licks pups to keep them clean and soothe them. Am I 100% certain that those are the reasons it works? Nope. Does it work for me and for dogs in my house? Yep. Do I recommend this for everyone with a dog? Yep.
So, spend two minutes everyday gently wiping down a loved dog in your life. It will make you closer, happier, and will help pave the way for further training.