Every year, my business partner Steve takes a trip to Florida for a month of fun in the sun with his three dogs Cougar, Nickle, and Kara.
Last year was my first year running the Clicking with Canines classroom by myself in his absence.
Generally, Steve and I teach “Click to Calm” sessions for reactive dogs together – Steve usually handles the stimulus dog (generally even-tempered, mild-mannered Cougar) while I work with the client and her dog. While Steve vacationed in Florida last year, I received an application for a ten year old Aussie mix who displayed reactions toward other dogs on the leash. His owner, Nancy, lived over an hour away but was willing to come down for a lesson.
I remember being nervous for the first Click to Calm lesson I instructed on my own. Bandit is an extremely bright dog, and responded exceptionally well to the training (I used my student Nicole’s dog Leila as our stimulus dog) and made great progress.
A short while after our session, I sent Nancy a message asking how Bandit’s training was progressing. I beamed with pride upon receiving the following message:
Hi, Just have to tell you I had a really good training session with Merlin!
I saw the neighbors out in their yard – so I took Merlin down my drive way (loose leash) and walked him down the road past where 4 people were taking lights off a tree that was maybe the distance or your training room. He stayed on a loose leash and watched them and when I said “Merlin” he looked at me right away.
I walked past their house and their dog (new to neighborhood -never met Merlin) started barking… then my Mom’s Doberman came outside and started barking, then her Poodle started barking inside…..All this time Merlin was looking from one dog on the left and 2 dogs on the right ALL BARKING!! and he sat and made eye contact every time I said his name and he NEVER barked once!!! HE’S THE DUDE!!
We walked home on a loose leash and I gave him lots of Dog Lovin!!!
Nancy and Bandit are truly a great dog/handler team and have unlimited potential for progress together. It was a joy working with them and I only wish they lived closer so I could see how far the two of them have come together.
Ever humble, Bandit’s only Christmas wish this year was for a “big ‘ol cow ear in his stocking!” I’m not surprised that Bandit’s Christmas wish list is so short – with more could a dog with an owner like Nancy want?
To a wonderful dog team, Merry Christmas! (Nancy, tell your mom I send Christmas wishes to her and her poodle as well!)