The tenor of the earlier installments in this series about raising my little monster might lead one to believe every training session is devoid of heartburn, problemless, peachy-keen. That it'll be tra-la all the way to our OTCH.
Believe that and I'll make you an offer you can't resist on a certain bridge.
Presto!, who turned 13 months old three days ago, is wonderful. So smart. A learning machine. The lovingest dog I've ever had, suffocatingly so at times. Want-to oozing from every pore. Never before have I encountered such a bright-eyes. Look into those eyes and there's no doubt there's somebody home -- be warned, though, that somebody is VERY STRONG-WILLED.
At just one year of age, Presto! is ultra-distractible. When we get into an environment with other people, other dogs, his head is on a swivel. What do you get when you cross strong will with distractible? You get a handful, that's what you get. Tra-la it ain't.
We're in the practice ring, a few of us gathered to train on a Sunday morning:
Distraction "Oh, look! There's someone I just love. Maybe she'll pet me."
Strong will I will go see her right now, and by God nothing's going to stop me!"
It's our own little situation of nature versus nurture around here. And I figure it's about 50/50. Half of it's going to work itself out as the dog matures. My contribution to that half is patience . . . and passing the test thereof.
But the other half is up to me. As the maturation process runs its course, I need to make the ground rules clear. What's expected. What's verboten. And introduction of a constellation of experiences called consequences.
Somewhere in the lines I've just written the words "firm hand" should have appeared.
The post you are presently reading is by way of preamble to the two that will follow within the next few days.
The first will detail a recent experience where the situation got totally out of control as my ultra-friendly little guy ran amuck. And how I botched it big-time.
The second will introduce a grand plan I'm now implementing to tighten the behavioral screws. "Strong willed? That's two of us, little man."