Follow is a biggie for me. Whether I’m out with the llamas, out with other dogs and people, or out in public with my service dog, I need her to stick with me, and NOT because of the lead. Sticking with me is a default behaviour I want to build in immediately. Fortunately, puppies are born with a stick-to-the-group gene, so all I need to do is put some effort into building on what’s already there.
This morning Ron’s working on a grain bin, so Stitch and I go for a walk out in the field nearby. I’m thinking of all the wonderful things she’s learning being out in the field following me brilliantly around, praising and playing with her whenever she comes close enough, encouraging her to come when she gets too far away, just feeling like an incredibly good dog trainer. Then she finds some mouldy, semi-moist cat poop and picks up half of it. I of course respond not by UH, c’mere cutie! but by yelling ARGH ARE YOU CRAZY? SPIT THAT OUT YOU MANGY LITTLE… at which point she runs under the auger and effectively stays away from me until she has chewed and swallowed the whole thing. Then while I’m telling Ron why I was yelling, she swoops back in, steals the second half, and runs under the truck.
Stick with me, guys, I’m a professional.