01 May 2014

Taking it slow, how my puppy is training me.

Helpers to play with puppy!

Training a puppy is super easy, and it's super hard. Right now,  I feel like we're just getting to know each other. Banksy definitely trusts me, and I want to make sure I take that trust very seriously. I want her to trust me forever.

Steps forward in family harmony.

Every time I think, wow, how awesome is this that I just trained my puppy to lie down, chase me for the toy, run into a crate, come over to heel position, stand on a box, I realize that every thing I just trained had a hidden flaw, and my puppy just trained me to do something that was exactly what I didn't want.

Maybe it's teensy. But she's so quick to learn that I can train something a little bit wrong just like that. And I know LOTs about bad training. I am apparently really good at teaching dogs to pop into a default lie down right in front of me because she's already picked that one up and I didn't even realize I was doing it.

Hot day, cool dog house, tired puppies get to hang out with the big dogs. Who are little.

Are we having fun? YES!  It is really, really, really fun having a puppy in the house.

Everything we do, I am thinking what is she learning? What did this play time just teach her? I want to be sure we both have fun but also don't shape any bad habits into what we're doing at this early stage of getting to know each other.

Having a work where your puppy can go is huge! But also means so many opportunities for messing up because, you know, you're working. I have been careful to keep her in a spot that's central, but where she isn't exposed to too much motion or noise from the horses or cars or other dogs. And when I take her out to play it's to a secluded spot, out of the way. Yesterday I had her out on a long line playing a bit closer to where the horses usually are because it was the quiet end of the day, and when I stopped playing for a minute to answer a question, she charged a horse's heels being led by. That was unexpected, scary, and freaked me out.

Is that how she's going to be? Do I have an issue? Was it a one time thing? Did I just ruin her around horses forever? Is this a fear period? Can she never be loose on the ranch now, once she's grown up?

She's definitely alert to noises, especially diesel trucks. I try to have a toy with me when we're out and about, and if something startles her, get her to play. I already can tell she prefers some toys over others, so in an easy environment I'm switching toys up a lot, and bringing food into the mix. When I take her out somewhere a little more distracting, I bring a really good toy. But I worry. Am I going to teach her to be sound sensitive? Her parents are super stable dogs. What if I do something to mess her up?

Tired puppy.

I am hoping it's not too easy to ruin a puppy. I worry. I try not to but it all seems so big. She just did a smoking recall off the water bowl (my puppy LOVES water and wants to be in it all the time). That is like big news! Exciting times at our house! Just trying to take this one step at a time.


Anonymous said...

everyone's first border collie has a lot to teach their handler about border collies. fortunately, they are hard working, persistent, and kind. be patient with yourself -- you'll get it, and years from now you will be blown away by how much you have learned about love. congratulations!

Unknown said...

If you weren't worried, I'd be worried. Just remember to set that worry aside every now and then and just be a girl and her dog. You and she both need that. And if she sneaks in some bad behavior, just redirect and play on.

Don't worry too much.
Also: PUPPY!

Ali said...

Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride! Love the pictures made me smile! You have wonderful trainers at your disposal as well, that always helps! You will do a great job and time will fly by faster than you know it!

team small dog said...

I am very lucky to have many wonderful trainers who are also endlessly patient good friends who are already kindly answering my many border collie puppy specific questions. Hopefully they will all still be my friends by the time my puppy is all grown up and I will not have driven them beyond the point of endlessly patient.

Anonymous said...

I a fan of Team Small Dog from the East Coast! I am so excited every day to check and see if there are PUPPY!!! and the rest of the Team updates! Congratulations and DON"T worry!!!! You are the perfect home for a BC-they want to be with their person all day (check), have lots of little " jobs" to do (check) and snuggle as much as possible (check) and hike all the time (check double check!!!!) Can't wait for the next pupdate!!!!

whirlwyn said...

OMG! So much fun. Enjoy every minute of it - it seems overwhelming while you're in the middle of it, but it goes by so fast. Training is always a few steps forward, one step back. You learn alot as you go along! Thanks for sharing all the great pictures!

Tracy and Gnome - future puppy serial killer said...

I worry about puppy becoming a serial killer. Like a tensy, wensy serial killer with cute ears.

now we can be slightly neurotic together! yay us.

team small dog said...

Yay I need a neurotic puppy pal Tracy so I don't exhaust my non neurotic friends! Also I need to see Gnome too because she is my honorary imaginary border staffy! And she can play with Banksy!

Tracy said...

We may have to warn people away from the cuteness.

...and then we can be neurotic together! Right now, I'm like "let me stare at your junk b/c if you go into heat before July it's really going to F up my summer"

team small dog said...

Oh yeah...I guess we are thinking 6 months-ish first heat? That would be mid August for Banksy. Oh my...Tracy, you may need to teach me the junk staring.