Sunday, January 9, 2011

Seemed like a good idea at the time

This goes under the heading of "it seemed a good idea at the time."  Marco had some of his early upbringing in the company of other dogs, so I feel good about his socialization skills. Since coming here, I had not allowed him to free play with other dogs. Instead, all of his reward and fun have come through me so that I am the center of his world, and not a dog buddy.

Today I thought I would let Marco stretch his legs running in the fields with another dog and that it would be a fun break for him.  He has been very attentive to me in his training sessions so I did not think it would be harmful to that. So which dog to use? I didn't want to take out one of the adult males who might squash him mentally or physically, so opted to bring Chica, a small Dutch Shepherd female.  Her momma, Roya, had been one of my greatest puppy teachers of all time, but she is older and Marco, at 5 months, is bigger and more exhuberant than her.  I figured Chica could simply outrun the little goober if necessary.

Well, she could. And did.  But since I have been working alot with Chica lately, as well, she also wanted to be near me.  And every time she would come running back to me, Marco would body-slam her. Female dogs are generally very tolerant of puppies.  I thought she should have a smack down, but she was too polite for that. Marco couldn't outrun her, but he could ambush her! I carried a bag with treats, a ball and a leash, in case I needed to separate the dogs.  When Chica would run back I would tell both dogs to sit and then reward them with treats, thus saving her from another slobbering display of affection.  I was practiced recalling Marco from Chica, which was also a good lesson. I was able to turn my good idea turned bad back into a good idea by making it an obedience lesson.  In the future, however, it will serve both dogs better to have their own running time with me rather than sharing.