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  • Writer's pictureHeather Brendle

Training...when does it end?

Today, I took Thiago to a school for a presentation to 40 or so students and I beamed as he was a perfect guest and side kick. He schmoozed with the students, smiling and looking up at them, happy to sit in front of them as he got pets. At one point, he was surrounded by a circle of kids in the hall, and he soaked it all in, looking back at me knowing he was nailing it. He visited freely in the classroom as I presented to the large group, accepting any attention he was offered and picking a few favorite students. He listened when I called him and performed when I asked him to, even with the added pressure of a crowd. Even when I asked him to do a trick we haven't practiced in 2 years. He worked HARD and he loved it.

I have been training Thiago since he was 9.5 weeks old. Today, at the age of 5 years and 9 months, I allowed him to freely work the room, feeling pretty darn confident that my dog was prepared and would be well behaved. It is only in his 5th year that I have seen him mature into the dog that we have worked towards him becoming for all of these years. Today we were a successful team, and I am seriously proud of it.

So, what does all of this mean? It means that we all have expectations for our puppies as they grow up. We have goals and ideas about how we would like them to behave. All of it requires training and depending on your expectations, that training may never end. Depending on the type or breed of dog you choose, that training may never end. It is our job to make sure that we prepare our dogs to meet those expectations. It is our job to make sure they are comfortable with those expectations. It is also our job to be willing to abandon ship when things don't go as planned or our dog is not having fun. They work so hard for us; we need to be sure we are meeting them where they are, as best we can. We need to make sure we are trying our very best to set them up for success. Training can be a long game depending on your expectations, but I can tell you this, you will get back every ounce you put in.

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