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  • Writer's pictureLisa Buchanan

Puppy Insights: Have you always loved dogs?

Updated: Mar 29

Everyone one I've ever met who works with dogs has a similar story. They have loved dogs and animals for their entire lives. They lived for the day when they could have their own puppy. They already knew the secret of the dog human bond.

I was terrified of dogs as a kid! I wasn't much better as an adult. When I was about six or seven years old I was riding my bike through the park and a random dog started to chase me. It was terrifying. We had never had a pet dog and none of my friends had dogs at the time. My parents tried adding dogs to the house a couple of times but for various reasons (largely time) they eventually re-homed them. Neither of my parents grew up with pets either.

Over the years I would keep a healthy distance between myself and dogs and really felt they were completely unpredictable creatures.

Fast forward to when we added our first dog to the house with my own family. A Kijiji Great Dane/Husky mix named Lucy who would grow to 85lbs and pour out more love from her huge heart than anyone would think possible. I saw my husband Steve and my son Matthew really bond with her. She loyally accompanied Steve on his smoke breaks and was someone Matthew could say all the wrong things to without offense. She always came when they called her and never when I did. My dog training skill expanded to teaching "touch". To me, Lucy was cute, the source of a lot of fur and messes to clean up and basically we just co-existed.

large dog laying on floor

In the Fall of 2021 I spontaneously became obsessed with the idea of getting another dog. I didn't know I was on the brink of a pretty major mental health situation....I just had this unshakable need to get a dog. I was craving something soft and snuggly. Pretty sure my husband tried to convince me this could be him. Nice try Steve! This time, I was going to get a dog that met criteria (e.g. little, non-shedding, low barking, low energy, etc.) and I was determined that this would be MY dog.

In preparation I started to research dog training programs along with dog breeds and was recommended to a few online resources. The program that spoke to me was Susan Garrett's online training. What I found was not just dog training, but a community of compassion. I still turn to her blog for the human and the dog positive reinforcement. I picked up my little Havanese Mr. Darcy from a local breeder in December 2021 which ended up being the same day I started a temporary mental health leave from work.

small puppy laying in a little fluffy dog bed with a red lobster toy

For the next eight weeks I would get out of bed every morning because I needed to look after this puppy. I would connect with kind and supportive peers and coaches through the online dog training program. I would learn that the reason I never bonded with Lucy wasn't because she was too big, too energetic or a heavy shedder. It was because I didn't know she was more than an accessory. I didn't know that our relationship was a two way street and that I needed to earn a space in her universe and not the other way around. I didn't know just how much love a dog could give me and how that could change me for the better.

Some of my big lightbulb moments on this path so far have been:

  1. Dogs are profoundly forgiving, but they shouldn't need to be.

  2. I would have been a much better parent if I had learned positive reinforcement dog training before having kids.

  3. I am absolutely one of those people who feeds their three dogs three different kinds of food without batting an eyelash. I did it for the kids too.

No one has been more surprised than me to have discovered that I would have this depth of love for dogs. My kids don't love it when I say that it equates even to my love for them! The dog human bond is that strong.

For me, Kinder K9 is my opportunity to help others establish that dog human bond through the same kind of compassionate and positive approach to training that brought me to this place. It is so much more incredible than parallel existence.

We listen to each other. We watch each other. We love each other.

woman air kissing with small dog


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