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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Canine Gentleman's Manners

by Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved
(c) photo copyright MW, all rights reserved
Oliver Displays Manners
While Greeting Juliet
Teaching Oliver proper manners has definitely proven more challenging than it has been for Tanner. When I look back on this dynamic, I realize that it had a lot to do with timing. When Tanner came to us, he was the primary student in the house, given that Xena was already 10.

With this scenario, Tanner received my full attention from his first day with us, until Oliver was adopted by Toni in January, 2008. Tanner was 1 1/2 years old by that time, giving him a significant advantage in his training time with me.

When Oliver entered, my job changed significantly. Now, with an adolescent (yes, I said teenager!) on my hands, in combination with an infant, I found my time more challenged as I tried to fit in Oliver's puppy training, along with Tanner's continuing manners education.

Only recently am I finally feeling like I'm getting there with Oliver. Despite my beefed up efforts, it is definitely more challenging to train two dogs, whose needs, talents, age and physical characteristics vary so greatly. Add to this, the twosome's differing social abilities and you've really got an interesting package. Suffice it to say, I don't want the job of a dog trainer or Cesar Millan. I love teaching dogs one-on-one, but it most certainly is more difficult to train more than one dog at the same time.

After mastering basic skills for the CGC at home and in class, Oliver needed to practice them in places where many dogs were present--the dog park, Petsmart and the like. He did well in Petsmart, where we spent many hours gracing the entrance--looking like a Walmart greeter with a guide dog. Yeah, I know. Oliver hardly looks like a guide dog. Use your imagination, okay!

During a recent visit with a friend at the dog park, Oliver demonstrated his ability to greet a lady like a proper gentleman should--sit and allow her to sniff first. Given that he's a fairly assertive little guy, this was a big step for him. Yeah, Oliver! We were both thrilled to meet and greet Juliet, truly a young lady that represents her namesake's character.

Remind me to ask Judy, our trainer, for some tips on working with a pack of dogs that is varied in age, size, ability and motivators. Would that be helpful to you? No doubt it would be to me.

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© Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved

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