I had some workers in the back yard this week. I kept my dogs out of their way for the most part out of politeness.
My puppies would have wanted to ‘help’. Get underfoot, chase the very unhelpful squirrels away, chase the forty balls laying around back there after the nice worker people kicked them.
You know – they would Act like dogs. It kind of like taking your three year old out to eat. No matter how cute you think they are, the waitress does NOT need him helping!
But when they were almost done, I picked up the baby dog, and let the other one outside to go with me to check on the progress being done. “The gate isn’t closed!” One of them said.
“Its okay,” I told him. “I’m carrying this one, and the other one is fine.” Sure enough, a few minutes later, one of the workers started out the open gate and my little doxie started to follow him out. “AJ, Come!” I said, and he turned around and came back to me. “Wow, he DID it!” one of them marveled.
Yes. But the other one is a puppy still and Not under total voice control. He could see a squirrel and be out in the road in a second. He might come back when he’s called – he does from the fenced back yard, 99% of the time. But why would I risk his life to his judgement.? He’s a baby – he doesn’t have any judgement! And I don’t expect him to have any. Yet. When he’s older, when we’ve practiced more, yes, I will expect more out of him.
I expect my dachshund to come when he’s called – all the time, every time. He’s 6 years old this month. He better! But my Chinese Crested isn’t even a year old yet. There is MUCH exciting stuff going on in the big wide world! So many smells and so much to think about that is NOT coming when you are called.
Its like the pit bull I was working with this week – he saw the dog next door and went into full frenzy mode. Hair on his back went up – total focus on that other dog, barking like a fool. I told his folks – don’t even TRY to call him now. NO WAY is he going to pay any attention at all. Why strain yourself trying to do something that you know won’t work?
Don’t set you or your dog up to fail. If they get in the habit of ignoring you, guess what? Its going to be a habit. Create good habits. Not bad ones. When my baby dog is a little older, he will come every time, because I’m setting up that habit now. Until then, he simply doesn’t get the opportunity not to do right. Whether he likes it or not.