After the last couple of weeks of working with Louie, I think he is going to make an amazing pet for somebody. He has not shown any anxiety about being separated from Lacy, and he has taken to the kennel very well. He does have a tendency towards fear, but a large part of that could be due to his age. Louie is 8 months old. The second fear stage in a puppy’s life can happen anytime between 8 and 16 months of age. During this time, a puppy may show caution or fear towards different people, objects, or situations. If their experience is positive, confidence will be built, but if it is negative, it can set the tone for a response for the rest of their lives.
In addition to the fear stage, Louie is also going through the rebellious teenager stage. As training has progressed, there have been times when he has shown a disinterest in working. This seems to happen when there is the distraction of another person or dog in the next room that he would rather be interacting with. During those times it is as if he has dug his heels in the mud refusing to be moved. I have had to turn the e-collar up as high as 20 to get him to cooperate. With gentle, clear, and consistent “yes’s” and “no’s”, Louie will come out on the other side of the stage of life being very happy to work alongside his handler in a sound confident manner.
Besides these seemingly stage of life issues, Louie shows a very classic Golden Retriever personality. He is extremely gentle and genuinely happy to receive affection – and to give it. He will be ready to find a new home as soon as he completes his obedience training. I’m hoping that will be in a couple more weeks, but I am taking my time with him.
In the last two weeks, he has had several sessions. He understands sit, down, and place. We have begun working on duration and a little distraction. He has gone from looking for every opportunity to sneak away from the place command to sitting still as long as there isn’t a distraction. As soon as a distraction comes into the room, though, he is up. He still has a long way to go in that department. You can tell when he is really fighting his impulses as he shivers. He is doing a fantastic job of sitting and waiting for permission to go through thresholds in both doorways and before going into or exiting his crate. He is also heeling very well so far. (We have yet to try walking past other dogs or high sources of distraction.) Louie has also quit trying to use excitement as a ploy to get out of working and to cover any nervousness he has.
There is a video of some of the work he has done below. I will post more in the next blog post.