Puppy love…

Seven years…that is how long I have been without a puppy in the house. While part of me did not really want to be the owner of FOUR dogs (all of whom live in the house), I also knew I wanted (and needed) a new puppy to start training. Gunner, my current competition dog, is seven years old; and, while he hopefully still has a couple of years of showing left, I wanted to have something else coming up the pipe.

Meet the new addition – VinEwood’s Make Mine a Double, call name Kazee (pronounced Kah-zee):


I have loved his sire for a long time (CH OTCH MACH8 Topguns Vinewood Makin’ A Splash UDX3 OM6 VER RAE2 MH MXB3 MJB3 XF T2B2) and knew I wanted a puppy from him. The first litter in 2015 did not work out for me, but luckily there was one special little boy in the second litter (along with six girls). So, I flew up to Minnesota on January 2nd and brought him home to Florida!

There is no rest for the wicked, so we started “training” right away. Training at this age (for me) involves a lot of little basics – crate training, getting acclimated to my other dogs from the opposite side of a baby gate, teaching him his name, socializing, and teaching him that learning and working with me is fun.

Lets talk about socializing for a second…for me, this does not involve meeting a whole bunch of strangers, but it does involve going to lots of new places to see and hear a lot of new things. I honestly don’t care if ANYONE pets him. If he showed me signs that he was worried about people, then maybe I would seek out some quiet people, but that isn’t the case for Kazee. I just want him to see and experience the world. In his first ten days at home, he has been to:

  • Vet’s office
  • Dog club twice (avoided the main potty area) – played in the rings and on the agility field
  • Ace Hardware (played outside on the sidewalk)
  • Soccer field where I train often
  • Pet Supermarket (rode around in the shopping cart)

He has met a few people on our trips out and, with one exception on our first trip to Ace Hardware, has been friendly and outgoing. Noise has not seemed to affect him at all, but I will continue to watch for this. He is also learning how to sit in his crate while I train my other dog at some of these places. Still pretty noisy in his crate, but getting better. 🙂

This puppy came with a love for tugging. Actually, he loves it so much that he can escalate pretty quickly. Because I want to use this to my advantage later in competition work, I have been encouraging the rough tugging. If I have an issue during tugging, I just deal with those issues, instead of stopping the tugging entirely. These issues may involve him going for my hand instead of the tug or redirecting on my leg or arm. I have also been teaching him a cue word (“Enough”) to stop tugging.

We have also started shaping heads up heeling, hand touches, pot work and some stationary positions. Here is a little bit of our training (over a couple short sessions) this morning.

While training this morning, I also took the opportunity to work on his crate behavior while working my other dog. While I want him to prefer to be out working with me, instead of sitting in his crate, I also don’t want him screaming and carrying on. I do not mind a little whining, but anything more will cause him to exert too much energy. Energy that I want OUTSIDE the crate, not inside the crate. Poor crate behavior is also irritating to other people around you. While a little distraction can be good, this is not the energy that I want my working dog continually experiencing, nor do I want my crated dog to work himself into a frenzy. I moved Kazee’s crate to the side of the work area and covered his crate with a towel. If he was somewhat quiet, he was allowed to watch. If he got loud, the front of the crate was covered.

I think the covering is something I will be continuing for a little while to see how it works for him. As Kazee is not a huge treat lover, it has not worked much to reward him with cookies when he’s being quiet. Most of the time, he just lets the cookies drop into the bottom of his crate and starts screaming again when you walk away.

Love, love, love these dogs and I am very excited to see what the future holds in store for the newest member of the family. Hard to believe that this is how Gunner started out seven years ago!


8 thoughts on “Puppy love…

  1. Vera Lynn

    Great stuff Shannon!! You are always an inspiration to me. I am excited to get to enjoy this journey with you. Thank you for sharing your journey. We do lots of things a long the way as we train and start new puppies, but it is really valuable and helpful when think through the process. Your clips will be an asset yourself in the future and to all of us that you shared them with. Thank you!


  2. pamelala95

    I am so happy to once again be able to watch you work with a puppy. I have read and watched so many trainers, Shannon, and I have to say that your methods and attitude resonate the most with me. You get SO MUCH out of your dogs. This little one is beyond adorable, and boy do I see where he will go. Such attention, flash and nice shaping at such a young age. Beautiful boy! I’ll be following and taking notes!


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