observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

The power of a soft touch

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” –Leo Buscaglia.

That same power of a soft touch pertains to dogs as well.

I thought it was about time to do an update on Heidi. As many of you know, when we first brought 11 month old Heidi home, we had our hands full dealing with some baggage and helping her with the adjustment. She’s barely the same girl who first arrived. Heidi now loves toys and playing, delights in training sessions, and has learned the benefits of routines, exercise, and self control. The biggest difference? Confidence. She’s not only become confident, she’s a bit of a rascal too.

The next photo is not mine. It was taken after ‘graduating’ from Rally O class on Saturday. The photo was taken with a phone by instructor Bev Maahs. Despite the quality of the photo, sometimes they are worthy purely to record a moment.

Although Heidi already had the loose leash heeling mastered before class (thanks to us participating in and learning from Susan Garrett’s Recallers program), she did learn a few new skills: sidestepping, figure 8, and working in a room with other dogs/owners training at the same time.

Here is a VERY short clip of Heidi doing a recall out in the bush (yes, I know, this amount of snow is very unusual for here). This recall didn’t come ‘naturally’; we’ve been working on it:

I’m so thrilled with the results of using the Recallers program I’m sharing some ways for you to find out more (besides clicking on the direct link in the paragraph above). If you have a Twitter account, simply search the hashtags #SusanGarrettRecallers or #DogTrainingGames. Better yet, head over to YouTube and use the search terms, “recallers games” or “dog training with recallers.”

You’ll see great videos by everyday people who have, like me, joined in and participated in this great way of training and moulding our dogs into well behaved, trusting, confident, and loyal bundles of fun. And it’s all done WITHOUT force: no choke chain collars, no prong collars, no jerking, no militaristic commanding, no physical force whatsoever. This video demonstrates the before-and-after of one dog:

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” — M.K. Clinton

This too — enrolling in these two training classes — is another of my “roam new roads” for 2017 and beyond.

Wishing you a week ahead crammed full of love, laughter, fun, soft touches, and innumerable kindnesses.

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Sherry G. - February 20, 2017 - 6:55 am

First of all, I am a dog lover currently without any dogs…and I hope to have some again — Westies are my breed of choice. So I love posts about dogs and this is a great one. The images of Heidi are extraordinarily beautiful and the story of how she has developed under your loving tutelage is heartwarming and hopeful. Our second dog was a rescue with baggage too and we went through a lot with him and he came a long way. I didn’t know about Recallers so I was very interested to find out more about this. It has sure worked well for you. The picture of Heidi looking at you says it all. So proud, happy and loving. It’s just wonderful to hear how this story has turned out. xo

Gabriele - February 20, 2017 - 9:12 am

Heidi looks adorable and now she feels her own worth. Wonderful!

Lisa Gordon - February 20, 2017 - 2:29 pm

This post makes me smile, Diane!
She is such a beauty, and to hear that he is doing so well, just melts my heart.
She is so fortunate to have such a wonderful forever home, and I know that you feel fortunate to have her as well.
WAY TO GO, HEIDI!!!!!!!!
You are a love, for sure.

Sherry - February 20, 2017 - 4:41 pm

What a sweetie! You can see the happiness in her eyes. You both look very happy in the last photo—well done!

DIANE J PATMORE - February 20, 2017 - 4:47 pm

You and Heidi are both doing so well! But can she knit socks yet? 🙂

stephanie young - February 22, 2017 - 2:39 pm

oh, Diane…..what a little sweetheart you have there….and so photogenic!!! (Fred is usually rolling around…maybe needs that training!!!! hard to catch him in focus!!!) and I love that last quote….the unconditional love of a dog is something we should all strive for!

Candace - March 20, 2017 - 6:27 pm

Heidi is a beautiful girl, Diane. so glad you are so happy together.

Jennifer - March 25, 2017 - 3:16 pm

Piper our youngest has this thing for wanting to dash into the road after cars. Last night I had a bad dream that he had a run in with a big truck, so it must be worrying me. You have me thinking that I should take him for classes. He’d probably love it

K&B by the Sea - April 5, 2017 - 5:46 pm

Well I completely missed Heidi’s arrival! She’s a very pretty girl, and your pictures of her are so beautiful. Our dogs have pretty good recall, but they can definitely be better – and if there’s a deer involved, it’s a lost cause. And Sassy could definitely do with some other ways to occupy her mind – I sometimes feel guilty that I don’t do more activities with her.

sherri - April 18, 2017 - 2:12 pm

wonderful collection of images

absolutely love the last one

Roberta - April 19, 2017 - 2:02 pm

Hi Diane! Have not stopped by for a visit for quite awhile. I shared your link with a knitting enthusiast today. I hope she looks you up. I hope that all is well your way…

Candace - May 9, 2017 - 8:27 pm

Hope you are doing well, Diane, miss your posts.

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