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Saturday, July 25, 2009

It Takes All Kinds

Just like people, dogs have such interesting personalities. That's a big part of what makes puppy raising fun. And, just like with raising kids, you find that one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to training methods and motivation.

Dakota enjoyed having his friend Twist over last weekend, but stayed very busy making sure that she understood he's the one in charge around here! Dakota is quite submissive to people but likes to be top of the pecking order when other dogs come to visit. This is the opposite of the lab puppy we raised, Willie. He didn't care who was top dog as long as they would play with him! Duckie doesn't let his smaller size bother him, and in fact, sometimes he uses it to his advantage when playing with someone bigger. Twist didn't know what to do about this clever little tactic:

The picture below is cute, but the funny thing is that Dakota really didn't want to share Tim's lap with another puppy. He's accustomed to posing for the camera so all was sweet and quiet until the picture was taken...but as soon as the camera was put away he chased Twist off!

We got a new box of dog treats last week, the kind with a bunch of different flavors. Dakota is very funny with them. He'll take one from your hand ever so politely and delicately, then retire to a quiet spot where he can sniff it and lick it. You really wonder what he's thinking: Hmmm...bacon again? And here I was hoping for chicken! If we have another dog visiting, he'll eat the treat right up. But on his own, he's much more leisurely about it. He'll carry it around the house and play with it as if it were a toy for quite some time before finally eating it. The one below lasted from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Pretty amazing! Twist, on the other hand, has been known to swallow these treats whole. So again, it takes all kinds!

Well, yes, we have done more this week than lie around the house eating milk bones and playing! One of our more interesting outings was downtown. We worked on all kinds of things: going up and down stairs...

...practicing "finds"...

"Do I get bonus points for finding you the shady seat?"

...not to mention all the quirky little unforeseen obstacles, like this steep ramp that dumped us right into a crosswalk. It was a good place to practice "steady," and was tricky to negotiate even without having a visual impairment!

Distractions ran amok. The sound of sirens, brakes, and engines filled the air. Pigeons flapped around. Enticing smells poured out of the shops we passed. But, as usual, Dakota's biggest distraction was all the passersby. Although many people understand that he's working and leave him alone, many others try to talk to him or pet him. We just have to work through it as best we can. Practice makes perfect, or at least, that's what I'm counting on!

Keep up the good work, buddy!

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