Coach turned one year old on August 13th. To say that he is at a difficult age would be an understatement. I have never raised a puppy that was "normal" in terms of health. Jazz was my first puppy experience and he was born with Lyme disease. He was so sick for so much of the first year and still on Denosyl for the next year. This is also my first experience with two dogs in my home at the same time. To say that I have been overwhelmed, nervous, delighted and confused would be putting it mildly!
Coach is making me crazy these days and I experience the awful "I'm an idiot/lousy trainer" feeling on a regular basis. I think it helps to remember how far we have come in a year. So here is a list of the things we have learned:
1. Learned when and where to pee and poop - mostly. (We have some issue about pooping on the sidewalk instead of in the grass on a walk?? This is recent.)
2. Learned to come when called. (Of course recently we have learned to NOT come if something is really really important or if we are WAY too busy.)
3. Learned basic skills of sit, down (this one is hilariously enthusiastic and always sounds to me like it hurts,) stand, heel, wait, stay (still a little shaky), OK as a release and back.
4. Learned beginning agility skills of here, jump, tunnel, front cross and rear cross (ground work only so far), run the A Frame (contacts are still a work in progress,) teeter (hooray!) and free as a release that means "go for it!"
5. I almost forgot the most surprising gift of all. He fetches! I have never had a dog who fetches.
All of these wonderful skills are sometimes great and sometimes shaky, but I keep reminding myself that he has learned a lot in a short time. He earned his Rally Novice title at 9 months of age! He even got good scores doing it.
Here are things he has not learned:
1. He has not learned to keep his screechy little mouth shut. He seems to understand the word quiet, but doesn't really like it. I read that I should try to understand his motivation. Good grief - he screeches when he wants something and doesn't get it. We are working on this, but I think it will be the toughest thing we will ever have to learn.
2. He continues to jump on everybody. He loves the whole world and wants to show it by knocking off your glasses, washing your whole face and ears if you let him, and generally leaping around until people back away in fear. I think we are making progress on this one. Thank you to my lovely family and friends for their patience and persistence in making sure he gets no reward for this foolishness.
3. He has not learned enough agility yet to do sequences. He isn't supposed to be able to do that at his age, but I really can't wait for the first "dancing with your dog" agility moment.
4. He is not completely reliable walking on leash. I am hedging on this one because he is almost as good at this as Jazz is now, but not as good as I would like.
5. He is still too crazy to sleep with me at night or to be left out of his crate unsupervised. I feel bad about that, but this one is just a matter of time.
6. Hmmm - reading this list I realize that he just hasn't learned impulse control yet. There's a big surprise! Sometimes I'm not sure I have either. Oh well.
So - he is a year old. He is getting a little bossy and giving me more trouble than he did six months ago. But mostly, he is healthy, smart, beautiful, funny, and he really likes me. He runs agility like a wild man, loves all people and dogs, seems to have more confidence than is absolutely necessary, is not afraid of thunderstorms (what a blessing - thank you GJ,) and he really likes me.
Happy Birthday sweet baby boy.
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