The Manners Minder has long been a staple of my training – in fact, I literally wrote the book on using it for agility training. Yep.
Today was Chispa’s VERY first interaction with the Manners Minder (Treat & Train, same thing), and I must say, I’m thrilled, yet again, with how she IMMEDIATELY acted as though it was old hat. I love this puppy, have I mentioned that?
Now, of course, not every puppy or dog is going to approach this highly novel situation with the same zeal as Chispa. Trust me, I speak from personal experience here (Frodo, thank you yet again, for providing perspective). So, as with everything, this introduction is very much on the PUPPY’S timeline, and not mine. I have months and months and months until I would really like my young dog to be excited about the Manners Minder/TNT, so right now, we have all the time in the world.
And, well, really, we ALWAYS have all the time in the world, right? No need to rush, no need to accomplish more than one or maybe two things a day. And, by accomplish, I simply mean, set OUT to do something each day. Right along with the “10 treats to loose leash walking” idea, just doing one little thing, and calling it good. On the one hand, I feel like I’m doing NOTHING with Chispa. If you’re reading this blog series hoping to get the secrets of how to sequence with your puppy by the time it’s four months old, you are in the WRONG PLACE. Nope, not here. But, even so, there is absolutely a part of me that is still a little anxious that OMG I haven’t done 50 tricks with Chispa by the time she has been with me for a week. That voice is a small one though, and I recognize it for the insecurity that it is, and I spend a little time reflecting on how I’m pretty sure it will be juuuuuust fine.
For those of you reading this with your own puppy, take a deep breath, and remind yourself the same. It’ll be juuuuust fine. Your puppy, if it’s to be a performance partner, can and should be brought up with that in mind, but instead of taking the Little League approach, try taking the approach that your puppy is going to be a performance superstar and never even know it was happening, your early and ongoing coaching. We ALL know that person, who has a dog, who is AMAZING, and NOBODY can say WHY. That person who is a first time puppy owner, who knew nothing about all the must-dos of puppy raising, and yet…there they go, totally in sync with each other on course and totally a bonded pair off the course too. That person did do SOMEthing right, a great many things, but they can’t tell you what those things WERE. Good clay, a good starting material, probably did play a role. But also, even if that person didn’t know WHAT they were doing, the HOW of what they did was the magic maker. And, in order to REPEAT that with a variety of dogs, I do think that being able to put your finger on the how, as well as the what, is important. Being able to document a thing goes a long way toward being able to repeat it. That’s the chemist in me talking, but this is a pretty grand experiment, isn’t it, this puppy business?
Enough with the philosophy already! Bring on the TRAINING.
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