I’ve spent over 40 years with dogs and I’m still figuring out what makes them tick. Why they do the things they do and why is it that we are drawn to them so much. Over the years of boarding and breeding wire haired dachshunds I have learnt so much from them. Watching how their social structure works, how they keep each other in line, how they understand that they need to have more patience with children. I’ve watched them grieve and find a way to get past it when one of their own is no more and watched them welcome new members into their group and teach them the rules.

I’ve learnt how important it is for a mother to be given the time and space to teach her puppies how to face life and that these lessons will last the puppies a lifetime. And I’ve watched the grownups show itty-bitty puppies what they are ok with and not. Their ability to be gentle and firm is one we can all learn from as is their ability to look out for themselves when they have to.

Watching them has been an amazing process of discovery and led me to read as much as I can about them and learn all I can about this amazing species that chose to live among us. From their origins to who they are today, it is an incredible story.

There are so many schools of thought on how to raise and train the dogs that you live with (and new discoveries being made every day) that it can all get a little confusing and overwhelming to a pet parent. But I believe that it comes down to every individual and their dog. Training is a tool to help you communicate with your dog just as the English language is a tool we use to communicate with each other.

Once you wrap your head around the fact that this is a different species that works by a different set of rules and system of communication things start falling into place. Our biggest failing is when we try to anthropomorphize them because then we fail to do right by them.

We fail to respect them for who they are. We fail to provide them with the environments they need and we bring them to the point of frustration by insisting they become who we want in our heads. Acceptance is the first step to understanding.

Living with a dog is such an ego boost. To them you are the center of their existence and they want nothing more than to just be with YOU! But often times that is where we fail. In the process of caring for them and trying to figure out our own lives we don’t have the time, the patience or the energy for much more than a pat on the head or a cuddle while watching the tube.

It is when I failed at this in my own life that I started to think of how to fix it. My dogs needed more from me and I needed a way to figure this out. And so came the ideas for the Happy Tailz games. A way to make my time with them more meaningful to them and to me.

The games have been a game changer (pun intended) in our lives (the dogs, my kids and me). Now the dogs look forward to hanging out with the kids as much as with me as they have so much fun with the games. And in a home with twelve dogs I have finally found a way to spend one on one time with the dogs instead of having them all compete for my attention.

Try them and see the difference they make in your relationship too!