So, I have a dog now. *goal achieved*
Having a dog – my OWN dog, which somehow occurs differently to me than my family’s two dogs we had growing up – is one of those things that I’ve always, always wanted, but never really imagined that it would happen. Now that I am responsible for a 9.5 lb ball of fuzzy, adorable puppy, I actually feel more like an adult than I ever have. Yes, even when I’m talking to the dog in that stupid, cutesy, obnoxious tone of voice that we as humans only ever bust out for puppies and babies.
At any rate, I am totally loving my little guy. Meet Brady.
He’s a Miniature Australian Shepherd from Breezemore’s Mini Aussies out of Maine. Mini Aussies aren’t that popular – we get a lot of questions and comments on him. It also helps that he’s ridiculously damn cute.
He’s not as hard as I thought he would be when we first got him – I had heard all sorts of horror stories about puppies and the various naughty phases they all go through. He’s no saint, but luckily, he’s been a really good pup to raise. He loves people and dogs, and has a really great, really funny personality.
One of the things I was committed to from the get-go was taking him to training classes and daycare. Socialization and obedience training are good ideas for any dog, but especially good for the working breeds (like an Aussie) who need something to do with themselves or they go nutso. If you are looking for a great place to take classes and bring your dog to daycare, AND you happen to live in the Manchester NH area, I highly recommend All Dogs Gym and Inn. They have a beautiful facility, great staff and my dog is a happier, well-socialized pup because of them.
We took the Puppy STAR class there – an 8 week class that taught some really great basics, and offered a puppy playtime at the end of each class. Brady learned:
- Up (going to a sit from the down position)
- Stay (Wait)
- Loose leash walking (he rarely pulls)
- How to get dogs 3 times his size to chase him around the play area in the most obnoxious way possible (this was not part of the class, but rather Brady’s own doing…we’re working on unlearning this one)
Out of their training methods, I’ve also got Brady rolling over, putting treats on his paws and having him wait to eat them until we say, dancing for a treat and giving a high five. I love smart breeds.
The one thing that I can’t quite figure out how to more consistently work on is his frenzy of energy when he is in a situation like a class (or in any group of dogs and people). He tends to get super wound up, whiny, and tries to get away from me as much as possible – and since I’m hoping to do agility with him at some point, I want to break that habit soon. He also hates leaving daycare, and plants his feet in the parking lot sooo stubbornly that it is near impossible to get him to move. Treats sort of work, but it’s still a fight. And that’s what I don’t love about smart breeds – they have a clear agenda of their own!
Dog owners – if you have any thoughts about calming down a dog that gets hyper in groups or working with a particularly stubborn pup, I’d love to hear them! I’m running out of treats, here.
Also, if anybody is interested in a Mini Aussie, or thinking about getting a puppy, Susan Hatch of Breezemore Aussies has some amazing dogs that make some amazing pups. A litter was born at Breezemore yesterday, and another one is coming along in May – check her out!