Love Jorge with all my heart and soul as I do, it frustrates me to run with him come competition time -especially in Agility. He performs, albeit still inconsistently, within the confines of Better Dog‘s activity area. But once he is faced with grass -his Kryptonite- I lose my dog.
I visited Better Dog one afternoon a few weeks back. Since I was dogless that day, I play-trained both Alab (Teacher Brad’s dog) and Sheba (Teacher Elsie’s dog). That’s when I realized, in my case anyway, it’s not the trainer…it’s the dog that is the problem :(
Brad suggested that I get a new dog to compete with, the way a handful of them do (the next competition is next week in Cebu). But there’s no way I can take care of a third dog, especially while I’m living in a condo.
Meanwhile, I’ve been feeling sorry for Popsi -the new dog my sister once again foisted upon Mom and her grumpy old helper Minda (none of whom are even remotely fond of dogs). When anyone approaches Popsi, she crumples into a ball almost as if she would rather be swallowed by the Earth than be approached by humans. So much for being a supposed guard dog!
Because of Popsi’s fear and anxiety, I’ve been thinking of bringing her to Better Dog for assessment. I had planned to spend a few days walking her first till she got to know me (I’d met her only twice or thrice before). But after walking her for only half a block last Tuesday, impatient me decided to bring her to Better Dog that day.
I should have known that Popsi was not yet crate-trained. After trying to shove her into Jorge’s crate (which, even if she had entered freely, she apparently would not have fit anyway) and a few other comedic and not-so-smart antics we both pulled, she ended up on the passenger’s seat. Much to my surprise, she sat still and quietly throughout the entire ride -something Jorge is incapable of doing which is why he has been banished to a crate in the cargo area of my vehicle.
Popsi didn’t take the treats I gave her at Mom’s nor at Better Dog. For a while I thought she wasn’t food driven. But after we fenced her up and allowed her to calm down, she started responding to the treats and, best of all, to affection. In Jojo Isorena’s words “Matipid!”
Popsi surprised us all! Again, although she likes treats, mere affection is enough reward for her; She has a very high pack drive, very low or no prey drive, very low or no aggression (so far); She likes balls but has yet to discover what to do with a tug toy; She naturally heels and walks on a loose leash -something Jorge still hasn’t perfected in over two years!; She immediately settles on her own; Best of all, she is naturally calm-submissive. So calm-submissive, in fact, that I bet if Cesar Millan himself met her, he probably would want to have her in his pack. To quote Jojo Isorena: “So what’s her flaw?” because, so far, it appears that she has none.
I am very grateful for all the advice and help all the Better Dog instructors offered us that day.
Before heading home, we drove to Cartimar to get Popsi her own crate. Since I couldn’t leave her in the car loose and unattended, I brought her down with me while I bargained. She behaved like an absolute lady!
I spent the next two days teaching her the basic stuff: Sit, Down, Off (since she has a tendency to pounce on humans), Hand, Leave It, and, most importantly, Inside (crate-training).
I’m excited for our first sit-in class at Better Dog this weekend. And I’m excited to eventually run with her in an Agility match in the near future.
I can’t stand the name “Popsi” (the same way I used to be ashamed to introduce Jorge as “Cholo” -which is why I changed it) so I’m thinking of a new one. Any suggestions?