Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hardy's living up to his nickname!

Hardy has any number of nicknames: Hardly, Pud, Pudly, Budly, Dudley, Dudley Do-right. However, keeping in mind that at 7 months, Hardy is in the middle of his adolescence - pushing limits, finding out if the rules are still in play and figuring out just exactly what he can get away with, Hardy is definitely experiencing some "butthead" moments and is living up to his nickname of "PB" or "Persistent Butthead"!
As a matter of fact, another student in our beginner's class asked me last week whether I realized that as Hardy gets older, he is getting less obedient! She hurt my feelings, of course, and I was feeling defensive when I reminded myself that her Golden is 6 years old and still in the beginners class! More objectively, I would say that Hardy now has a mind of his own and doesn't always do what I ask if he is more interested in something else ... but again, for an un-neutered male adolescent, he is still a very biddable, willing, co-operative, sweet young man! He is going through the transition from puppy to adult and is generally, giving us a minimum of trouble over it. There's a reason why most dogs in shelters and rescues are adolescents! 
We had our agility foundations class today and Hardy did the A-Frame at full height for the first time. He also tried two new obstacles - since they were jumps, they were still set very low - at 8 inches (although we normally jump him at 4 inches). He didn't hesitate over either of them - the solid high jump and the triple. We worked on more sequences including several that involved putting Hardy into the side of the tunnel that was farthest away and least obvious and he handled everything beautifully. We finished up with putting him through 6 channel weaves set far apart. Even during this butthead period, he continues to learn, is willing and makes me proud!
I think the moral of this story is that every puppy, no matter how balanced, self-controlled and biddable will go through adolescence. It is a normal part of development and if you aren't prepared for it or get impatient or intolerant of it, you are doing your dog and yourself a real injustice! This, too, like so many other things, shall pass!

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