Like many other kids, I`ve always dreamed of having a dog, but it was until the year of 2011 – I was 20 years old – when I got one. The fact that I could fulfill my lifelong dream of making a big trip to Canada was an incredibly intensive, beautiful and exciting experience. But not even in my wildest dreams, I could have imagined to come home with a four-legged buddy …
… A few years later now I am sitting at my desk and typing those sentences into my laptop. I decided to write a blog. But why? Aren`t there already enough dog blogs out there? What is the blog exactly about? And why should you read it? For me, those questions are quite important for all of those, who made the same decision or will do so. For that reason I wanna describe the main motives why I started this blog and why it can possibly be interesting for you.
Vacation and traveling with dog
From the beginning on, our journey through life was “predetermined”. When I got the idea to adopt a dog during my stay in Canada, I didn`t know how much influence this would have on my life. On the same day when I adopted my dog Jake, I was directly going on a long journey from the North of Canada via Alaska down to Vancouver (Read the whole story here). The dog never knew it different from being on the road, breaking new grounds and going along with me anywhere. And I do so, too. He likes to be in a car, doesn`t have any problems in a train and is therefore no problematic factor when being on the way. Up to now, he has seen a couple of countries (e.g. many parts of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Kanada and the USA), and others are to follow. If vacations, real road trips or long-lasting stays, he joined me at almost all occasions. The stays and countries were so different and exciting and so were my experiences that in my opinion are worth to be told. Because I truly believe that several dog owners can benefit from these experiences.
Mobility with dog
A good point to add to the previous paragraph is the almost unlimited mobility with the dog. Rarely, he was a reason to not make some decisions. A city trip to friends, traveling with dog and even a whole study was possible to do. Only in extreme cases like a trip to South America or a concert of the Rolling Stones, it made sense to not have him at my side. In all other cases, I am free in my decisions and he can join me whereever I want (and dogs are allowed). We often mastered putative obstacles or found even better alternatives than our actual plans.
Not only did I learned a lot during my Psychology studies at Maastricht University, but also about the interface between human and animal. In addition to the core areas of Psychology, I could also specialise in animal psychology and therapy. Therefore, there is also a scientific interest in the interplay between dog and human. The relatively young research of dogs already found some interesting and important insights. Consequently, this is also the case in the interaction between us and our four-legged friends. How do humans interpret behaviors of dogs? How do dogs perceive humans? What kind of opportunities does the integration of dogs in different life areas offer? Which influences do both have on each other? What do we know today? What do we not know yet?
There are a lot of exciting topics that are worth to be investigated and shared.
Observations and experiences in part-time jobs
Over a period of more than two years I had a student job as a parcel deliveryman and caught sight of lots of things. You ring at around one hundred doors every day and consequently, often people open the doors together with their small, four-legged bodyguards. For the majority of perceivable dog owners, that moment was pure excitement. It seems like a devil`s circle, consisting of a barking dog and a stressed person. Often, people felt sorry for their dogs and tried to calm down the dogs by talking or making movements, but it hardly made the situations relaxed. Even when you can have a small talk with those people, I couldn`t do more than simply watching those situations.
But it was my voluntary work at a dog shelter, where I could do more. There, I experienced the biggest possible confirmation of my way of treating and interacting with dogs, because I received the direct feedback on my appearance, communication and body language by their reactions. Some tricks were not only some hocus-pocus or just applicable to my own dog, but also to different dog personalities and breeds.
Furthermore, working at a small zoo for several years probably had the biggest impact. The focus of my work there was to provide children, disabled people and adults with deeper insights into domestic species with the help of different projects and topics. It is no secret that a lot of people feel better, happier and more relaxed in the presence of animals. But making own first-hand experiences is different and an event that should not be missed. With the experience of hundreds of such courses, I developed a deep conviction that animals generally and in particular dogs offer a bunch of opportunities to improve our quality of life. I wanna share my thoughts about that as well and ideally be part of a raising awareness of these insights.
When you take your dog for a walk, you sooner or later meet other dogs with their owners. Like in normal life, you make good or bad experiences. But from the positive as well as the negative situations, you learn a lot new stuff by having conversations, exchanging thoughts or simply by observations. By getting in contact with other people and dogs, I always could extend my knowledge and become a better partner for my own dog. That`s the reason why more and more people talked to me and asked me how things go that well, including walking the dog without a leash, the social character of him or the almost unlimited mobility to take him anywhere. Normally, I describe a few basic methods one can apply to get the dog`s attention and make him listen to them. I often noticed then that even basic stuff is missing. There is a lack of knowledge about how dogs perceive the world and the owner. But actually only a few things are enough to make good progress.
In a lot of conversations, we talked about the topic dog trainers. There are many great dogs and owners who do have a dog trainer or do not have one. But there are also many who have problems despite having a dog trainer or without ever looking for one. What I hear from time to time is that someone found a dog trainer, but didn`t like it much. I personally think that there are a lot of great dog trainers, but for many dog owners it is virtually impossible to visit them, simply because they are too far away. I`m a country child and know what I am talking about. So the offer is there, but not reachable. I really enjoy sharing my experiences and knowledge in conversations, but I asked myself how I could do that more detailed and also in a way that is accessible anytime, anywhere and for everyone. What could be better than a blog?
My dog Jake
My dog Jake obviously is the main factor and biggest motivation to start Cosmopolidog. I love him and that`s not surprising, since everybody at least likes his dog a lot. But what I noticed over the course of a few years is his positive appearance and influence on other people. When I walk in a pedestrian zone in any city, I often recognise people smiling or nudging their partner, because of that sweet, short-legged and blue-eyed dog. I could be jealous, but actually I feel great about that. When I am sitting anywhere and enjoying my icecream or coffee, Jake just calmly sits there and enjoys life to the full. But not only does his first appearance make people happy, so does his character after becoming familiar with him. If it is at the university, leisure time or at work, I never could have imagined that I would have so many conversations with other people about the dog.
Jake also has a positive influence on other dogs. It also depends on the other dogs, of course. Whenever another dog is friendly or interested in Jake, so is he mostly. Whenever another dog shows aggression or rejection, Jake calms the situation by staying relaxed or pulling back. He never shows any aggression and his even-tampered character can sometimes even change the other dog`s mood. All in all, you could describe him as a highly compatible and lovely boy.
For me, the cohabitation with the dog is unlike in the beginning, of course. Many things have changed, including our togetherness. I now understand him much better and so does he understand me better as well, too (i hope at least a little bit). But one thing has never changed. I can simply look at him the whole day and feel happy. In his presence, I am a happier person and I enjoy the privilege to have him.
My motivation for the blog
Altogether, these things reassured me that I share my experiences and tips in order to get a grip on problems with the dog. The term “dog trainer” is not protected and everybody can call himself a dog trainer, which is good and bad. There is no basic definition of good dog training, because there are different approaches. But what one likes, another person may not find a good way of training the dog. In my opinion, we today are on a good way to recognise dogs as social partners and not only as a human`s subject. And I think that the pluralism of education methods made sure that the “better” methods asserted. Contrary, everybody can call himself a “dog trainer” and bears the risk that the quality is not given when someone is not suitable to be one.
However, I would not call myself a dog trainer, because this is simply not what I am. I think a suitable description would be “the guy with that dog“. But I am not the one guy, who has a patent solution for all dogs and humans. I provide options and suggestions, give insights into the world of dogs but at the same time always strive to question my own views and convictions, get inspired and try to improve myself.
I am deeply convinced that most people have a big potential to have an awesome and relaxed life with their dogs. With the help of Cosmopolidog, I want to invite you to win your dog as a best friend and get new insights here and there. Are you in?