Getting to know your dog through observation

This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising just how many people don’t take the time to just sit and observe their dog. You can learn an awful lot by doing so. It’s interesting to see what makes them tick, and of course it’s a great way to find out what actually interests them as individuals.

Prior to the two dogs I currently own, I use to own a pure-breed Border Collie. He was quite the nature lover; he would quite often stop whilst we were out on a walk to smell a flower or two, or simply just stop to admire the view. One of my most memorable moments with him was sitting on the edge of a mountain ridge some 900m plus high, sitting side by side, just admiring the view. I could tell that he appreciated the view just as much as I did.

When I’m out walking my dogs, I will quite often find a suitable place to stop for a while. This may only be for five or ten minutes, but it allows my dogs time to do the things that they would not be able to do if I was walking at full speed. Like sniffing around, digging, chewing on a stick etc...

This is a great time to observe your dog and learn more about them. I currently own two dogs ( April & Coco ). They both love to dig ( although Coco more so than April ), chase squirrels, chase foxes, they will chase pretty much anything that moves if I let them. They also like to sniff around, chew on a stick, play fight, play chase ( especially through water ), and also do the occasional bit of fly catching, SNAP, SNAP...

Observation is the key to knowledge, without it you are blind to all the great splendors that life has to offer. Observation is also key to training your dog. Through observation you may well notice that your dog responds better to certain words than others. For example my dogs do not respond well to the word “stay”, so instead I use the word “wait”, which they always recognize and obey without problems.

Taking time whilst you're out on a walk is also a great time to think about things and put them into perspective. So remember, take your time, observe, and enjoy life with your dog.