From what I hear, it isn’t enough for a writer to sit around writing alone. You have to force yourself to become an extrovert and network and platform and find ways to reclaim your introverted self in a snap and write in the cobwebby corners of your now extra-hectic life. If you’re like me, and find all that self-promotion queasy and sleazy, you find ways to promote not yourself but other people and passions you share. So I’ve been busy working behind the scenes on The Gloria Sirens, plugging away on Mick’s book, and letting Mick take me out in the world. He’s three now, going on four, and doing well. He’s a big brother to Maisie now, and he’s herding sheep, working his way through agility, counseling foster dogs, and helping me teach tricks at the Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club. With Mick and Maisie’s help, (they are working dogs, you know), I’ve braved the Youtube world, stumbling my way through videotaped tricks training lessons without knowing a thing about framing, lighting, editing, or sound. But it’s going all right (even though all of this is more and more unpaid work, such is the madness of love). I’m doing it because Mick’s tricks saved Mick’s life and I want to share what we learned so that your love for your dog might grow a little more fierce, a little more sweet, and a little sillier too. And we aren’t alone.
Trick training is an easy, convenient way to interact with your dog anywhere, anytime, and all you need are some treats and some know-how. Perhaps your dog is easily bored, or seems a little depressed, or distant. Maybe your dog’s been naughty, or you’ve grown discontent with your relationship for some reason–too much toilet-paper shredding, chronic weave-pole refusal, or a pathological Minecraft addiction (yours or your dog’s).
Maybe you’ve got a service dog and a few tricks would add so much charm. Imagine if your dog could shake a dialysis patient’s hand, give a child with leukemia a high-five, or even pray with patients?! Maybe you have an awesome agility or obedience dog but you’re both getting bored, or strained, or you want something you two can do in the living room without breaking a lamp.
Maybe you have multiple dogs and one’s been neglected. Maybe it’s your new puppy. Maybe it’s your retired agility or herding star, and you’re weary of feeling harried and sad. Well, if you can, shut the other dogs away for a few minutes right now. This is quality time to cherish your friend.
Get down on the ground and join us for some sweet interaction with your best friend. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned dog trainer, learning some charming tricks together can deepen your bond and soften your soul.
Or even give you some great new ideas and a belly laugh.
All it takes is two- to ten-minute sessions, your call. If you’re worried about overfeeding, you can use your dog’s regular food. If you hate how expensive dog treats have gotten, you can cut up some hotdogs or cheese or even use plain popcorn–stop making excuses and be creative! If your dog isn’t food-motivated, get a new squeak or tug toy and use it just for Tricks training–a special toy for a special time. And you don’t have to go it alone. You can work along with me on the Youtube channel or with other beginners in our Facebook group, Mick’s Tricks Spark Team.
The point is to share a goal with your dog. You two are in cahoots. Together you’re gonna nail roll over. Or you’re finally going to have a dog that can sit up and beg because it’s so darn cute and makes for great photos. Whatever your heart’s desire, this is one-on-one time. Eye-to-eye, here-and-now time. Low-pressure, high-value happiness time. It’s mindful moments you share with your best friend. It proves to the both of you that you are there–really there–for your dog. It doesn’t matter what the trick is or how quickly your dog learns it. All that matters is joy in your short time together.
That’s why every trick is magic.