Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Midwest, USA
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Planning the First Year: Preparation
My adult dog would love, love, love to do therapy work. He loves all living beings (people, dogs, ants, etc.) more than life itself. And he's so confident that the vet who x-rayed his hips for OFA called him a "macho man" because of his attitude, and he's also extremely gentle.
But, he has Excessive Greeting Disorder with new people. He does not calm down after a few minutes. If someone squats down to pet him, all bets are off. We worked on this since the first day we brought him home-- so he never jumps on us without permission, but other humans are a different story. He knows just how to act in the show ring, but that's a highly predictable setting with calm judges who do the same thing, every time. He has his CGC, but that was testing on one day...
I'm going to wait several years to try with him.
Now, my new puppy is a different story. Like my adult dog, he is very confident. Nothing seems to phase him when we're at home or in the outside world. He also loves everyone. But the big difference is, he's calm with new people. At first I wondered if he was stressed (I know sometimes "calm" dogs are just shut down or fearful) but after many observations, this does not seem to be the case. He always accepts treats happily, keeps coming back to people for more pets, but... he doesn't jump on them!
What things should I be working on this first year-- looking back, are there things you wish you did or didn't do? For example, I wish-- with my first dog-- that I'd never let people pet him while we were out until he was at least 6 months. I'm sure he would have retained his love for people, but he might have gotten off on the right "paw" (haha) if we didn't bother with greetings, because let's face it... so many people will outright refuse to follow your instructions to stop petting if they jump. "Oh, I don't mind! I love dogs!"
I don't know if I should follow this protocol with my new puppy in case he does jump and is inadvertently rewarded, and then it begins...
So, keeping the ultimate goal in mind, I will start practicing what is on the test, but I wondered if I could hear more "dos and don'ts" from those of you who are experienced.