Training a dog is hard work and we all make mistakes. Reading online, you might think most people’s dogs are perfect. Trust me, they’re not! Here is a story about MY real dog…
Our five dogs wait in a down/stay. We’ve done this dozens of times, maybe hundreds.
The class instructor tells us to drop the leashes and walk away.
“Keep going,” he says. “Past the tent. Go all the way to the fence.”
The fence is about 100 yards from our dogs. This is the first time we’ve tested them at this distance, and it takes us a few minutes to get there. The goal, of course, is for our dogs to remain in place, to stay until we return. They stare at us, attentive.
Until I glance up and see a blur of gray muscle charging towards me. For a moment, I don’t recognize him. That couldn’t be my dog.
Not only is Remy running full speed across the field, but instead of running to me he darts to my left. He wants to keep going! I can see he’s proud of himself. He’s got that goofy weim grin. A free spirit.
I snag the leash.
He hits the end hard. My rugby skills come in handy as a weim owner, turns out.
My dog and I walk across the field, a walk of shame, back to the original position where four dogs still wait. They gaze out at their owners in adoration.
I put Remy in place. I tell him “stay” but this time I only walk about 8 feet. I wait for the other dog owners so we can all return and praise our dogs together. I tell my dog he’s a good boy for staying. I know we have work to do.
Now … I write this to show you one thing – dogs are not perfect. They’re dogs! And people are not perfect. Remy was not ready for that kind of challenge, clearly, and that’s OK. I learned from it.
Dog training is a lot of work. It takes time, patience and more time. I never want anyone to feel bad because their dog is having trouble with leash manners or coming when called or whatever it might be. We all have our own struggles.
The problems I have with Remy usually come down to the fact that he’s higher energy than almost all dogs. He brings “easily excitable” to a whole new level and on top of that he likes to have the last word. If Remy doesn’t want to do something, he nips or mumbles and grumbles. He’s got “personality.” I love him.
“How old is he?” people ask. They see this wiggly body and big, Dumbo ears.
Them: “Wow! He acts like a puppy!”
But the thing is … Remy IS still a puppy. Weimaraners and plenty of other breeds are slow to mature. They’re puppies until at least 2.
A lot of 6-month-old puppies act more mature than my weim, especially smaller breeds. That’s just the way it is.
So I thought we could all share some stories of our REAL dogs. The good, the bad, the funny. Dogs are dogs! Training and raising them is an adventure, a work in progress.
Let me know your stories below or post them on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #ThisIsMyDog and #ThatMutt
I’ll share some of your examples in a post next week.
Here are two more of my stories …
So my dog starts heaving in the living room. Like, this dog is gonna upchuck, big time!
I run forward to guide him off the rug. Only, this triggers a primal possessiveness in my dog. He holds in his puke, dashes to the corner and stands there like a demon. Hackles up. He’s holding his puke in his mouth, gagging, trying to guard it from me.
You can keep your puke, Remy. I’ll pick my battles.
Or, when I pick him up from “doggy daycare” and he’s so hyper the staff can’t get his Gentle Leader or prong collar on him.
They bring him out on a slip lead. He’s hopping on his hind legs, little front arms hanging like a T-Rex, eyes bugged out.
“He’s really sweet,” they tell me.
This is my life.
Now it’s your turn!
Let me know a story about your REAL dog in the comments below. The good, the bad, the funny. Or post to Twitter or Instagram with hashtag #ThisIsMyDog and #ThatMutt
We want people to know that training a dog is hard work and we all make mistakes. Reading blogs and Instagram posts, you might think people’s dogs are perfect. Trust me, they’re not!
In the comments below, tell me about your dog!