Lyra - Pet or Competition dog?
Yesterday I spent the day in San Diego teaching. Lyra was left in the care of my husband for twenty-four hours. I wasn't worried; he's really taken to Lyra, and goes out of his way to take her places and to spend time with her.
That did not take away from my shock when I came home last night. My husband took a piece of cheese out of the refrigerator, called Lyra with a cheerful "come come come" command and then used the cheese to help her into a rock back sit (sit, sit, sit), roughly in "front" position. He then gave her the cookie, handed out copious praise, and let me know that she had already learned to offer that sit in front instead of jumping on him.
This was a moment I had not yet considered. No one in my house has ever shown any interest in "training" my dogs. They use commands to get them to do things (come, go, stay, etc.) to make it easier to live with them, but this was Training.
In exactly five seconds, I needed to formulate a response.
My family has never shown any real interest in the dogs. They like them most of the time, but let's face it; sometimes it's hard to live in a house with dogs that slavishly worship one person. If I stand up, they stand up. If I walk through the house, they walk through with me. It is not peaceful when the dogs think we are going to do something interesting. It is....lively. For the most part, my family just tries to stay out of the way.
My husband has taken to Lyra. He really likes her, like he hasn't liked any of my dogs since our first Belgian fifteen years ago. I think he wants a doggy buddy, and Lyra fits the bill. She's calm, good natured, and isn't always biting. She listens when you tell her to stop doing things. She's loving and affectionate.
So I guess it's natural that he wants to teach his pet dog a few things, and he's watched me train enough dogs over the years that he has a rudimentary grasp on the basics.
So, as I watched him train Lrya....I said nothing. My heart beat a little faster, but her quality of life will be infinity richer if she is loved by more people than just me. Someday I'll teach a new command to mean "sit here in front and be dead straight with your toes two inches from mine". And it will be ok. In exchange, she can be a family pet.
Admitedly I hoped he'd lose interest quickly in training, but this morning as I lay in bed, I heard "sit, sit!" coming from the kitchen.
This made me feel better – My kids and husband LOVE to “help” train our 10 month lab puppy. I cant count the times Ive walked into a room to “Sit sit sit” – or this morning, it was “speak speak speak” /sigh – but I havent wanted to discourage the rest of the family from bonding with him. He already is very much “my” dog. As a fairly new dog trainer, I have been trying to do “everything” right – reading copious books and having fun with Vader as we learn agility together. This re-blog made me laugh and gave me a sense of relief! Great story!
One of my most titled Aussies shut down on me…would refuse to make eye contact with me in the ring… the second we entered, he’d find an interesting spot on the floor. I learned to look up at the judge and just say “Were done for today, may we be excused?” I handed him off to my daughter with a quick read of the AKC BN rules and he had the nerve to almost qualify with her! No lagging, no floor gazing… So we started obedience classes and I wanted to work one of our younger dogs so she asked to take the titled one…I cringed since she won’t remember a signal I tell her… her sit is my down signal, her down is our puppy down signal (before we shape to our adult down signal). But she’s not shown interest in anything before…so I bit my tongue. After 2 classes, he’s heeling RIGHT in position without letting his eyes stray from hers…recall, perfect – long sits and downs; no problem. My instructor, who has seen me compete with him for 2 years commented this week. “He’s not your dog anymore, you might as well face it… I expect to see her trial him at our next APDT trial and at CDSP this winter.” Sigh – he now is my husband’s constant companion and my daughter’s trial dog. At least he’s finally become the family pet I had hoped he would!
As a proud Flat Coat mom, I can assure you that you’ve made an excellent choice. Although he is “my” dog in every sense, my boys have never been so in love with an animal as they are with our FCR. Enjoy!
Maybe he found his SAR dog!?!
Thats so cute! I know The feeling of being the only one being shadowed by the dogs! My hubby was only half interested in training until he was forced to train the siberian because she had an intense fear and dislike of him. He gave up his precious Sat bike rides for 6 months one summer just so he could bond with her. And whats funny is that tho i know she still prefers me and still shadows me, on those days we are together with the dogs, if we both recall her, she will go to him!!! Its bittersweet. And i would never change it.