The good, the bad, and the ugly
I chose Tai’s name because his markings reminded me of the Yin-Yang symbol (Taijitsu). Yin and yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole. This concept resonated with me because it supports the concept of acceptance (not judgment) and striving for balance of the parts within the whole. So, why this title? You’ll see as you read below.
The good: Tai is growing up fast. Breeze and I were away this past weekend at the World Team Tryouts and my husband stayed home with Tai. When I asked…how did it go? Answer was: a lot better than last time, when Tai was not even three months old. So, I guess that means he’s learned some things in the last 5 weeks!
He loves his crate and we are upping the distractions around the open crate door. And he’s learning to relax in a sheltie size dog bed. He tugs enthusiastically even when I have a fistful of high value treats in my hand or there are other dogs around. His loose leash walking is coming along and we’re working through big distractions like other puppies or busy streets. His greeting behavior is a work in progress since he’s so friendly people want him to jump on him. So it’s as much about training people than the dog. I even had to laugh when he jumped in my lap the other day. We’ll get there.
His recall is great under most circumstances. But his herding instinct is kicking in when I call all the dogs back together or even just Tai. He’ll stalk Breeze and Lacey as they come back to me. When we’re walking together I’m careful now not to use his name unless I’m sure I can control that.
The bad: nothing really. He’s just growing up too fast. Tai is 4-1/2 months and at that awkward stage… His head is bigger than his butt and his butt is higher than his shoulder. He’s all leg and I’m hoping he’s not going to be a 24″ border collie :-). He moves nicely and we’re working on specific body awareness exercises like back up.
So, what about the ugly? Two days ago, it was a glorious morning with the sun shining and spring green everywhere. We went to one of our favorite places for a long walk. About half way through the walk, it happened. Well, we happened on it. A fresh rabbit kill – dead and decapitated – maybe a coyote kill. What do my shelties do? Nothing. Just a little sniff and walk on. What does Tai do? He picks up the rabbit head and joyfully starts running around with it. Ok…at this point all reason is abandoned. I scream, I lure, I cajole…as Tai is gleefully playing keep away with this rabbit head in his mouth. Having not trained a “drop” or “leave it”, I’m left with nothing to hope for except a bigger distraction that will prompt him to drop the head. Lucky for me, he noticed the carcass, dropped the head and I was in position to grab his collar. Whew. Even though I feed a raw diet, that was just too ugly for me.
Yin Yang…acceptance of the whole.