Friday, October 11, 2013

Your dog will always surprise you

No matter how much you think you know about your dog, no matter how long you have had your dog, your dog will always surprise you. Always. Never assume anything about your dog because that is a dangerous thing to do. At work I continually hear "Oh, he would never bite you" sometimes followed by "I've never heard him growl before!". The nicest dog can and will bite out of pain or fear. Doesn't mean the dog has a mean streak.

Your dog may also surprise you in pleasant ways, and assuming something may just be shutting out possibilities. Recently Summit decided to surprise my pleasantly.

I have never used toys when training Summit. When we first got him, you may remember that I had to use a click to painfully shape the retrieve starting with just touching the toy with his nose. While I have seen his interest in toys grow to the point that he plays with them on his own and gets excited if we play fetch, he always released toys instantly upon feeling pressure upon them, so tugging was out. Which was fine by me. He's plenty food motivated for training.

I don't know if he learned through annoyance with Kili or by watching her have fun tugging with me, but the other day out of the blue he was tugging with Kili. I do have ONE video of him and Kili both holding the same rope toy when she was a tiny baby. But Kili always snatches toys right out of Summit's mouth when he is retrieving them in the backyard for me. So maybe he just got annoyed and thought "hey, twerp, this is my toy, give it back" but there he was tugging with Kili. I thought, I wonder what will happen if I go over there. Well, this is what happens:

What? Where did this tugging fool come from! So excited to work on this more and see if I can use it as a reward or a game in agility.Summit is coming up to his 3 year anniversary with us and I never thought I'd see him play tug with me. Wrong yet again!

So remember: your dog will always surprise you. Always.