Generally speaking my dog is a legend.
Apart from being totally in love with him, I’m also really proud of him.
It’s taken a lot of constant training to get him to this point which means a serious amount of time spent doing repetition work, reprimands, rewards and generally just constant supervision.
To say that I underestimated the effort and time owning a dog would entail is a gross understatement! On yesterday morning’s walk, I met a lady with a puppy Cavoodle (Harley’s breed) and was reminded of all the pain with puppy training (up and down several times a night for toilet training, anxiety etc). But I was also reminded of the joy of having your first puppy. The realisation that a gorgeous little animal has total and utter reliance on you for it’s every need. It requires direction and a pack leader as well as affection. No matter how frustrated I often get with him, I now cannot live without him. He’s my little buddy.
Although he’s come a long way, we’re constantly working with him, especially on his reactive barking. He is seriously protective of his abode. Noises outside, people walking past, other dogs walking past, and he’s straight up vocally expressing his issue with you coming within 5 feet of his front door! Added to that is the fact that he’s a massive scaredy-cat. He barks at anything ‘out of place’ or things that he hasn’t seen before (including things like an old stove on the side of the road for rubbish removal or a giant cat like Grace & Rob’s feline Ra – at one point Ra was bigger than Harls!). It’s incredibly annoying but it is getting better with time and consistency.
For the first 3 months that we had him, we would go to the vet for everything. I guess we were like new parents in that we had no idea what was normal or what to expect, so the slightest change in behavior or just different behavior that we expected and we were running to the vet! With the help of friends who have dogs (Jeff, James, Gracie & Rob and the many people we met on our daily walks), The Interweb and Cesar Milan’s DVDs we slowly got a handle on what was normal and what we should be doing and not doing.
The only other main issue we’re dealing with right now is Harley’s eating habits. Basically he doesn’t give a stuff about food. Which means he’s a little underweight.
We’ve been to the vet and we regularly talk to the experts (both at Pet Barn and at our doggie daycare 4 Dogs Sake) but we’ve come to understand that he just isn’t food focused.
He’s pretty fussy so we now make sure we don’t encourage that fussiness by trying human food and all different types of dog foods. He eats really well; chicken mince (as in people’s chicken mince) with a mix of Royal Canin puppy kibble and ZiwiPeak dog jerky. But he only eats once a day. That way we can get him to finish off all the food, otherwise if we feed him twice a day he becomes picky and blasé about eating.
Hopefully over time he’ll get better about eating, but for now it’s just one of the many things we have to work on with him. Constantly.
And it’s a nice reminder that our hard work is paying off when we get comments in the park about how good his obedience is!
But look at him – all the work and effort is worth it.