2-minute dog trainer, Tempest’s brave and clever day

When I thought, a year or so ago, about the possibility of a new puppy, my thought was that BRAVE was all I really cared about.

It didn’t matter what sort of dog I got. Size didn’t matter. Color didn’t matter. Breed or type didn’t matter. Purebred, mixed breed, didn’t matter.  So long as my dog was brave.

I actually said to a friend, “I want self-destructive-brave, actually.” She nodded because she has that in her young sheltie — and it’s so much more fun to run a brave dog than it is to run a fearful dog.

In an earlier post I told of Tempest’s introduction to the baby teeter, of putting my wobbly footstool in his ex-pen, and of his bold return to the training teeter.

Today we were playing in the training building and I was walking past the big teeter, set about 18″ high.

Tempest, trotting beside me, walked up the teeter as if it was just another ramp, like the one we have from our deck to the yard. Without gasping or worrying, I held the up-end to keep it from crashing out of control to the floor.

Tempest got to the pivot point, felt the board give way, pushed down and braced himself, rode it down with me controlling the board, and wandered off as if to say, “no big deal, really.”

The bang of the teeter behind him didn’t even rate attention from him. If I don’t screw this up he’s going to be an awesome agility dog.

We had a housetraining breakthrough today as well — this is the clever part. <g>

I’ve taught Tempest that sitting is the best way to ask for things. Whether it’s coming out of a crate or ex-pen, going through a door, or getting attention, a sit goes a long way toward getting what he wants.

This afternoon we were sitting in the living room and I had the gate closed to the dining area and the back door, so he wasn’t able to wander out of sight and get into trouble.

Tempest was walking around, hunting dust bunnies and exploring his world. Suddenly he walked to the baby gate, sat right in front of it, and looked over his shoulder at me.

At first I ignored him. Then it occurred to me what I’d been telling a student this morning about the Sit being her dog’s way of asking permission for stuff.

I walked over to Tempest and opened the gate. He trotted to the back door, which I opened. He trotted down the ramp, hopped over to his regular pee spot, and peed-peed-peed … he really needed to go!

I’m amazed that he’s able, at 13 weeks, to know he needs to pee and know that he wants to go out the back door. I’m also amazed that he thought to go to the gate and sit, then make eye contact with me, in order to get what he wanted.

So this afternoon has been a brave and clever day. Of course, he’s not perfect — right now he’s wrestling with the dog bed next to my desk, dragging it madly about the room.

Afterall, he’s just a puppy …

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