Photograph taken by Kimberly Gauthier
Our dogs are litter mate puppies and they’re adorable. They turned 2 years old in March and I can’t believe how huge they are; especially when I say “give it to mommy.” When dogs are puppies, it’s so easy to train the wrong things. They’re cute and the level of damage they can do is minimal (well, it was with our dogs). I think dog training and bad habits go hand in hand if we’re not careful. When Rodrigo was 10 pounds and I would say “give it to mommy” and chase his little puppy body around the house trying to steal his toy, it was fun and funny and adorable.
Today, Rodrigo is 70+ pounds. Can you imagine what “give it to mommy” looks like today? We still play the game and he loves it, but we’ve had to train him to let go of things when we needed it and as you can guess “give it to mommy” doesn’t work. He also understands “drop it.” The game I taught him as a puppy made it difficult for him to understand fetch. He has just figured out that if he returns the frisbee, we’ll throw it again. It took patience and training treats.
What’s cute when they’re puppies isn’t always convenient when they’re grown up. Instead of breaking our dogs from bad habits that we trained, we were challenged to train them (and ourselves) to learn new behaviors.
If you trained your puppy to jump when they see you, grab the leash on walks, or runaway with toys, don’t fret; it’s entirely possible to train them to do what you need. It just takes patience and training treats.