I TOOK A HUGE RISK WITH CHARLIE!
I have recently taken a huge risk with my husband’s dog, Charlie.
When our Rottweiler (my heartthrob), Yogi, unexpectedly passed away at the young age of 7. I was left with “Crazy Charlie”. I couldn’t believe Yogi left me with this knucklehead! Yogi and I were in sync! We worked together effortlessly and enjoyed it. Charlie was about 2.5 years old when we got him. He had ZERO MANNERS, SOCIAL SKILLS, or EXPOSURE TO THE WORLD! I spent more time with Yogi and let my husband enjoy the wild ways of Charlie. Charlie and I were like oil and water. I filled the swear jar many times when with him!!! I remember telling my family we all needed to exercise him 1-2 miles a day. They said, Okay. Then I finished my sentence… EACH OF US! They moaned and complained. Charlie was obnoxious (by my standards) because his needs were not being met. You can’t have dog that has a high energy drive and not meet his exercise needs without behavioral issues! Between playing fetch, walking, zooming on the trails in the woods, and running next to the bike we managed to bring Charlie to a calm state. Over the last few years it was a big deal to simply manage and shape desired behaviors for Charlie to be a well mannered dog. He has kept me humble for sure! About 3 weeks after Yogi passed, I had a long hard look at Charlie and whispered…. GAME ON, DUDE! I thought to myself…Yogi must know I need you or you need me, so let’s do this. I really didn’t think I needed him! Perhaps, I was wrong and Yogi was right!
SO, WHAT WAS THE HUGE RISK? I gave myself permission to “DO POORLY OR FAIL” when trying a new sport with Charlie. Allowing myself to step out of my comfort zone has opened new doors for us to explore and bond. We are learning about new things and each other at the same time which can be tricky when you are expected to work well as a team. We are a work in progress and continue to keep each other in check. I am not a competitive person like many that compete in dog sports. My reason for adding new challenges was to strengthen my bond and relationship with Charlie. I have failed at multiple things in my life, but a meaningful relationship is one of the most important values in my world. So, I needed to risk failing or doing poorly in new areas to hopefully benefit and strengthen my relationship with Charlie . I am thrilled to see the positive results. We are both in a healthier place!
Now, that Charlie is mentally balanced (for the most part, wink, wink) we can focus on obedience with the option for new sports. In the last 6 months we have dabbled in Canine Good Citizen, Therapy Dog Prep Work, Agility, Rally, Scent Work, and Luring. I am enjoying the one on one time with Charlie because I don’t think about anything else. I am 100% focused on him. I didn’t tell anyone we were trying new things as it was between Charlie and I. We had to work on us, I had to feel it for myself and experience it before I could share our stories.
Have you ever considered doing a sport with your dog? There are numerous types of sports that suit the natural talents and drive dogs harbor! There are clubs, groups, and classes that will help you learn a new sport. You will learn a great deal about yourself when working with your dog. It will be a team effort that requires the patience of the learning curve from both you and your dog!
I wish everyone would find a job/sport/hobby for their dog like they do for each family member. I love when people say, “My dog knows what day of the week we have class and they get so excited!” We are proud to offer some specialty classes with our amazing trainers.
Listed below are some dog sports. This is not a comprehensive list, but a gateway to think about how to spend time with your dog having fun together. Please, consider offering them time to do something they enjoy!
Scent Work / Nose Work
Musical Canine Freestyle