To say that Kazee has been a handful would be an understatement. I am constantly reminded “be careful what you wish for”. 🙂 But, I could not be happier with him. The teething issues are starting to be a memory, with all of his permanent canines coming in nicely. Fortunately, he still tugged throughout the teething process, because some of the baby teeth needed a little “help” to fall out.
Everyone goes into training a puppy with a plan in their head…however, it very rarely works out as planned. This is how our heeling has been. Every puppy I have worked with, I used a lot of food to shape head position and muscle memory. Kazee has different plans, spitting out his cookies and looking for his tug. So, give him what he wants, right? Well, rewarding a puppy with a tug is difficult, as you spend more time tugging than actually working. You also have to keep an eye on the dog’s body position, so bad habits do not start.
Heeling will always be a work in progress, but we are trying the tug for right now. I do want a specific head position (if the dog can do it), but I also want a dog to express their joy in this exercise and to show the teamwork that goes into competition obedience. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than watching a nice heeling team in the ring.
Kazee was also asked to do a short stay today, which was the first time we have worked on this. Because I train by myself so often, I need to be able to leave him somewhere and walk away to call him, so no better time like the present!!
So, the moral of today’s story is…..forget your plan when it isn’t working. We are training dogs, not building rockets. Don’t overcomplicate things. Have fun with your dog and build trust and enjoyment in working with you. Trust me, you are not going to permanently break anything by trying something different. And if plan B doesn’t work, then move on to plan C. 🙂
Train hard. Play harder.