When Humans Nag

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Thunderbear and I are in training to compete in Rally. It’s a dog sport that combines obedience training with agility; for those horse people out there, it’s kind of like a dressage test with jumps and obstacles.

Last week we went to a practice session at the training facility. There were dogs there I hadn’t met in the classes before. Of course, being the ambassador of Aussie-dom, I naturally wanted to make their acquaintance and let them know I’m the Big Cheese. When we started to work individually one at a time, I noticed that these humans did the same thing that my human used to do: they nagged at their dogs.

It goes something like this:

Human:  Kemosabe, sit.

Kemosabe: I want to play with my squeaky toy.  I wonder if Thunderbear has it.

Human: Kemosabe, sit.

Kemosabe: Venison is my favorite meat. I love venison. I want venison for dinner.

Human: Kemosabe, Sit.

Kemosabe: Are you talking to me?  I smell a cat nearby.

Human:  Kemosabe, SIT!

Kemosabe:  Huh?  Oh, okay, sheesh, I heard ya the first time.

When humans learn to wait, it honors our intelligence and our reasoning and choices.  Although humans accuse us of having selective hearing, we hear you very well. We just don’t always listen. And when humans nag their “stubborn dog”, we listen less and less. We tune you out, press the ignore button, hit delete.

Human: Kemosabe, Sit.

Kemosabe:  I want to play with my squeaky toy.  I wonder if Thunderbear has it….I am sitting down.

Human:  Yes! Good boy!

Waiting gives us canines the opportunity to process and choose.  It’s also the way we learn: by making mistakes, by figuring things out.  We know there is a reward when we choose wisely.

Tigger says that waiting for dogs to respond not only gives the dog time to think and process, but it gives the human time to observe. Observation is one of the keys to relating to us on a being-to-being level.

Remember, we of the canine community love to have fun. Nagging is not fun for us. If you are going to teach us a new game, a new skill, or a new trick, make it a fun time and we will try harder and learn faster.

Kemosabe is a three year old Australian shepherd who, when he’s not on the road with Tigger, likes to hang out at BioStar — taste-testing products and herding the FedEx delivery guys.

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