Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Hardy and I are working on at home

Hardy is 7 months old today (November 10th) and we have developed a routine at home to work on the skills that continue to make him a well-behaved young man at home and in public and that will lead to many of the tasks he will eventually do for me. Of course, we work on basic obedience skills, lots of zen (automatic leave it), loose leash walking, tug, nose and foot touch and retrieving games. I work to control any items that he might pick up so that I never have to say "no" to him for getting something that in the future I might want him to retrieve for me. We are working on him picking up when asked all different materials: wood, plastic, metal; all shapes and sizes. He loves to pick up and carry things - bringing them to me is not necessarily his favorite activity.
However, I am also trying to be very intentional in not pushing Hardy and allowing him his puppyhood. We spend lots of time playing and make sure that training is fun. I have a training plan and when I am tempted to push too much or do something stupid, I go back to that plan. I always try to remember that I won't ruin Hardy by going too slow but I certainly will by going too fast. Even with his temperament and talent, I could still burn him out. 
And I have to admit that I feel very fortunate that I also have Laurel, my working service dog and hence, the luxury of being able to take it slow with Hardy without impacting my level of independence or abilities. I am not feeling the stress and anxiety I did while training Laurel that any mistake or misstep would lead to having to wash her out. Also, since recognizing that my girl does her job beautifully despite the challenges based on her temperament not be well-suited to the job, I am also fairly confident that with his more appropriate temperament and all the help we received while with Sue and John Alexander in Guelph, Ontario,  Hardy will make a super working dog. And now that Sue has promoted him from SD candidate to Service Dog in Training, I am scheduling short public access trips and events for him to practice appropriate behavior when out in public. Then I remind myself that just because Hardy can do something more advanced doesn't mean that he should.

1 comment:

  1. "I always try to remember that I won't ruin Hardy by going too slow but I certainly will by going too fast."

    I need to substitute Via for Hardy and tattoo it on my forehead. Thank you for the reminder.