Meet Storm, a 10-week-old black lab/German shepherd puppy who just started Obedience Basics yesterday.
As you saw in the video above, Storm is a very happy girl, full of energy, loaded with personality, and excited to meet new people. She can be insistent, persistent, and quite tenacious, and as her training progresses, those qualities will help her achieve great success.
Storm’s human family consists of four young children, two adults, and two cats, one of which is elderly at about 16 years of age. She loves to play “chase” with the cats, and when her exuberance gets too much for them, they don’t hesitate to let her know. She accepts their decisions and runs away, but she tries to play with them again within a few seconds. They’re doing what they can to teach her how to control herself, and now her humans are going to learn how to help them out.
Storm is always very interested in what people are eating, doing, or playing with. And when the children sit on the floor, she gets right into their space and tries to take over whatever they’ve got going on. When she gets close to the baby and she’s called away, she sometimes knocks the baby over – because she doesn’t realize how close she is. And when she really wants something [e.g. a treat], or if she wants her humans to go somewhere, she uses her mouth to take hold of whatever she can reach [clothing, hands, etc.], or she nips at ankles, shoes, and pants in an effort to get her way.
The puppy is teething, so anything that offers resistance is fair game to her. She is so exuberant with her toys that her squigging [“squig”: the term used to describe the back-and-forth head shaking that occurs when playing tug with a rope or other toy] can be quite overpowering. She will squig a toy so hard that if the human doesn’t have a firm grip on it, she can yank it right out of their hands.
Storm is highly intelligent, and she learns very quickly about which behaviors are and are not acceptable. She tries very hard to control her puppy impulses when faced with distractions, but when she can’t, she does come back to her owner almost immediately when she’s called. For example, while learning and practicing the “look” and “sit” exercises, she got distracted by one of the cats and broke the position to go investigate. However, when her owner called her back, she came almost immediately. For a puppy that age with no training at all, her recall was fantastic.
Storm also showed an excellent focusing ability: She was able to work for almost the entire hour before she began fidgeting and getting mouthy and resistant. As soon as those behaviors started, the lesson was ended, she was released with lots of praise and a “go play” cue, and the process of helping her make a positive association with her lessons was begun.
It’s going to be a lot of fun watching Storm progress over the coming weeks. She’s such a smart and happy girl that it’s going to be a real treat to watch her blossom into a calm, loyal, respectful, trusting, balanced dog her whole family will love and enjoy for many years.
Have a great day, and remember: Stay calm and lead on.