We train our dogs for many reasons. Not the least of which is to keep her from being a nuisance. But I’ve found an even better reason.
Training makes my dog happy.
Training Lights Up My Dog
People who meet Honey at the door mistakenly think she’s a very happy girl.
She isn’t. It’s just her extroverted nature coming out.
Most of the time she’s quiet, thoughtful, and calm. She’s rarely giddy or exuberant. But when I get out the clicker and some treats, her eyes light up. She bounces on her feet. She’s happy.
Why Training Makes My Dog Happy
I’ve tried to figure out why training makes Honey so happy. At first, I thought it was all about the treats.
But it’s more than that. Because she doesn’t respond the same way when I give her a treat in the kitchen for no reason.
Scientists studying dog emotions and cognition might disagree. But here’s what I think is going through Honey’s mind when we’re training.
We all talk about how dogs are so present in the moment. It’s true. But Honey’s memories of past fun make her excited about what’s coming next.
When I’m first trying to capture a new behavior, Honey is antic. And confused. She doesn’t understand what I want.
But once she makes the connection and figures it out, her expression changes. Knowing she’s mastered something makes her very happy.
Wolves hunt in packs. Their near relatives, dogs, collaborate more successfully with humans than any other species on earth.
I think that working with me to meet a goal is ingrained in Honey’s DNA. And I think it makes her happy.
And yes. Of course, there are the treats.
Honey loves food. It makes her happy.
Pamela Sees the Light
I used to think training was only for teaching a dog good behavior. I didn’t understand why people taught their dogs to roll over and play dead.
But over time, I’ve seen the light.
We’re down to our last day in the Train Your Dog Month Challenge. So if you did something cool with your dog in January that helped you build your bond, share it here.
Saturday I’ll announce the winner of the prize, a $25 donation to their favorite pet charity and a fun box of goodies.
Make Your Dog Happy
I have a list of things that make Honey happy:
- long walks
- cuddling on the couch
- meeting new people
- squeaky toys
- playing with other dogs
- oh, and snacks
When I start the day trying to figure out what I can do to make Honey happy, my day goes better. It’s even worth not getting something else done to fit a happiness activity into our day.
I want you to be happy too.
So make your own list of things that make your dogs happy. And go do one. I guarantee you won’t find anything else likely to make you happy with so little effort.
Your Turn: Does training make your dog happy? What goes to the top of his happiness list?