The Golden Wonder goes Manwork Training
But he’s soooo pretty
By the age of 12 weeks The Golden Wonder impressively demonstrates how a well trained clicker puppy can maintain a target, trot out on the hand with style even when in a strange place or with other puppies playing nearby, pick up and hold a dumbbell (or any other article) and do stand, sit, down and come and a variety of other tricks. He appears to be so well trained that most people are gobsmacked!
However most people ‘in dogs’ know that getting a puppy to do as you want at twelve weeks is easy, getting it to do it at eight to eighteen months is quite different.
The Golden Wonder does all his little exercises for food, which of course I can control, i.e. if he is going to a puppy class in the evening I do not give him lunch so by the time we get there he is very interested in his food.
Of course he always gets to meet the other puppies and play as puppies should, but when I ask him to perform he is always ready for the chance to earn his food. If he were not allowed to play and do normal puppy stuff he would; a) not grow into a well balanced, socialised dog, and, b) the desire to get to the other puppies may override his interest in food if he were deprived of normal canine interactions. On the whole most people who meet him think he is exceptionally well trained for his age. Why is it then, that at home ‘He Who Knows Best’ is saying, "If he were mine, I would be thinking it is time to move him on."
...Move him on. Move him on!!! What is he talking about? This is my beautiful baby, and he is so well trained – what IS he talking about?
"The dog has no play drive, he will make someone a nice pet dog – but work? No: You should get yourself a decent dog." ‘He Who Knows Best’ is quite matter of fact.
Well it is true that he still will not fetch a ball for a game (yes he will fetch anything I ask in a trained manner but he does not play ball). And although he will play tug for a second or two he loses interest after that. I used to have Scottish Terriers and they had more play drive than this puppy!
Several more weeks pass and The Golden Wonder is getting bigger (did someone say fat?) and now maybe he is not quite so keen to work for food.
Does it really matter if he never works?
I had to go away on non dog business and left my ‘boys’ with ‘He Who Knows Best.’ It just so happened that he was going to a manwork training day that day and so he took my boys with him.
I had a phone call, "Do you mind if I try some manwork with The Golden Wonder? It might put some life into him."
"Well okay," I said, "as long as you do not frighten him, I guess it cannot do any harm."
He had been around a PD training day when he was an 8 week old puppy and he had played happily ignoring all the noise and mock threats going on around him, so I thought he should be alright.
"Look after my baby!" I begged from a hundred miles away.
That evening I heard the tale of ‘The Golden Wonder goes Manwork Training.’
The men were there with their GSD’s and their Mali’s. They had their bite suits and their sleeves, their whips and bin lids and macho accoutrements. They were ‘well hard’ and they put all the big dogs through their paces. There was much banging and whip cracking, shouting and tormenting, men running, dogs chasing and ferocious barking and biting.
Then onto the field came the Golden Wonder.
He had a nice soft harness to hold him back as a big burly man started to tease him. They wound him up with shouts and noises and he pulled into the harness trying to get to the antagonist, was he frightened? No! He was out to get his man! The teasing increased and the Golden Wonder was lunging into the harness. They were amazed that this pretty little fluffy puppy was not frightened. With well practised skills and timing the macho men knew just the right time to allow my beautiful boy to go in for a bite on the sleeve. Which he did with commitment – yes he bit the sleeve! But then it happened...
... A seagull flew overhead and the Golden Wonder instantly let go of the sleeve and gazed up at the bird! Never mind the noise, the threats, oh look there’s a bird!
Macho men then fell about laughing. Just when he should have been committed to holding on to the sleeve as though his life depended on it, he let go to watch a bird fly overhead. Just when they though he might be better than his looks first suggested he fell right down to their expectations. They laughed at him. He gained the new nicknames of, ‘airhead’ and ‘blonde Essex girlie.’ What an embarrassment.
Back home that night ‘He Who Knows Best’ repeated those dreadful words, "Time to move him on."
Okay I admit, he might not be the best working material out there, but does that matter? I love him and he is sooo pretty!
I must say Anne’s used a bit of creative license here - it wasn’t a sleeve, it was a soft ragger and we don’t use whips as most of us find that the matching boots chafe ...Ed