"Love is All You Need"
I have always loved dogs my whole life and I had always secretly wished to have one when I was young. Mostly what I really wished for was love and someone to have a secure loving relationship with. I never had a dog of my own, so I always thought that dogs just did what we told them to do. Jennifer Arnold describes in her book using love to establish a bond between you and your dog as a way to teach and educate each other in your relationship. After reading Jennifer's book I had to laugh to myself because the book is based on something I have wanted my whole life - love.
Jennifer's thoughts and methods about asking your dog to do something instead of telling him is just a great idea. Who wants to be told what to do all the time? What could be better in life than having a loving - mutually beneficial relationship? In her book she talks about her bond based approach and that if the love is there between the dog and his human, the bond will be forever and always a work in progress.
I fell in love with my dog Sonny the first time I got to interact with him. When I first met Sonny he was drawn to me but it took him a little while to start to bond with me because he was moved from person to person a few times. At first he really lacked human focus, but what made our bond strong was me being the most exciting and interesting thing in his life. I knew that if Sonny was to trust me and bond with me I must be able to communicate with him. I used what Jennifer wrote about teaching our dogs verbs and nouns and then I just started by telling Sonny about what those words meant. I talk to Sonny all the time because I know he understands what I am saying, and if I can make it a teaching moment and he at least will acknowledge what I am talking about, how great of a moment is that? I always look at him the way he looks at me - with love. I am teaching him to be a service dog, but he is teaching me so much more every day.
We are asking our best friends to do something for us because they love us. Our dogs are our friends and want to please us because we give them choices and listen to what they are telling us. When you have a true and loving friend - human or dog - that friend already knows what you need, you won't have to ask him to do anything. I see it with Sonny every day. When we go to chow, Sonny will already lay down until it is time to leave the chow hall. When we are on our way back to the dorm, Sonny will carry my lunch for me because he wants to help me because he loves me. Our bond grows stronger every day.
I read "Love is All You Need" 3 times and every time I read through it, I learn something I can apply to Sonny. I look forward to reading her other books and learning everything I can about working with dogs and helping people who need them. It takes a great team to work together to set the dogs up to be successful. In the end, what our goal is with these great loving animals, is to help someone who needs them. It's about improving someone's life with a happy, confident and loving companion, like our dogs Sonny, Gregor, Jett, Nolan, and Toby!
Written by Robert Kube