I suppose the title is a little much, but I think one of the things we enjoy about dogs is the wonderful feeling of falling in love with a dog. The relationship is so important to training and I don't know how to avoid falling in love with the silly things.
Coach is finally turning from puppy to dog. I am not a person who loves puppies or babies. I like a critter that can communicate! Babies cry, pee and sleep. Puppies bark, pee, CHEW and sleep. Coach is still a puppy, but he is fast approaching the lovely dog stage. He is nine months old and just the last week or so I have seen him settle down a little. (Hot weather is very helpful if you have a Northern breed!) He is learning so fast and is such a sincere little guy.
Jazz has always been hard to engage. He wants to run around and do his thing. He doesn't always listen well and still quits working when he is bored. He used to ignore me when he was done. Now he continues to work, but he is no good at faking enthusiasm he doesn't feel! His personality is so very different from Coach. Jazz does have a sense of humor. Non-dog people don't believe that is possible, but I am certain of it. He loves to poke me when I am not paying attention and if I jump or yelp he stands there and laughs. He also steals my things and leaves them where I will see them. When I pick them up and say "MINE" he just grins at me. He is a very sweet, funny dog.
Coach is still growing into the dog he will be, but his personality is so different from Jazz. I am just getting to know him. He is very sincere and he doesn't have much of a sense of humor. Everything about him is full speed ahead. He will be quiet and peaceful if I am doing something active. He could spend all day following me around watching me do something. (Jazz quickly gets bored and wanders off for a nap.) He works hard at doing what I ask him to do. The one trait he and Jazz have in common is lack of patience. When he doesn't understand what I want him to do, he gets pretty "chatty." Yelping and screeching are not helpful in the training process, but Coach is convinced they are necessary.
I think it's fascinating to watch the two dogs interact and to see the differences in how they learn and work. I love Jazz, but Coach is young and learning so quickly it is a joy. I always had to convince Jazz to do what I wanted. Coach is desperate to do something for me. He loves to work and has such fun at it. I hope I have learned enough from Jazz to help Coach keep that enthusiasm.
This afternoon we were practicing stays. I usually have the two dogs work separately. They tend to fight over treats and attention, which is not very helpful to the training process. Today I practiced stays together. Jazz has an excellent stay in any position and I hoped he would show Coach the ropes. Coach is able to stay fairly well if I face him, so I was working on turning my back and walking away. He came with me a few times and I gently put him back. I was watching out of the corner of my eye as I turned my back the third time. He started to get up and Jazz bared his teeth! Coach sat back down and held his stay. That really made me laugh! Maybe I should let Jazz train Coach - after all they speak the same language.
Coach held his stay a few times in a row. Something about his serious little face as I came back to him just did me in. I am now truly and completely in love. It's a wonderful feeling and I am grateful that both of my dogs are so very dear to me. The Fruitcake Lady says a woman my age should give up on men and get a good "dawg." Works for me.
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