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.

He has several puppy friends and plays appropriately.  He’s even figured out how to get both Lacey and even Breeze sometimes to play with him, using different strategies.

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.


  • How funnee!

    Seems they all go thru this at some point. For Wizard it was a ducks head, (oddly enough on Easter morning). For Shazam, it was an entire head of a deer!

    The way I’ve dealt with such dilemmas is I’ve taught Shazam to always show me what treasure he may have found. I ALWAYS give it back to him no matter how gross. Then we play this game you run back to me, give me your treasure and then I give it back. At random times I don’t give it back but then he gets a magnificent game of tug or a wonderful treat in return. (this process helps if you have a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket!)

    Well, the day he found the deer head I did not think he’d want to show me. So, instead I made myself a crazy lunatic playing by myself with a stick I found in the woods. His curiosity was peaked soooo much that my zany antics had him drop the deers head and run to me to see what was sooooo special about that stick! LOL Needless to say, a raucous game of tug and play with mom with the stick ensued while putting his leash on. If there was someone hiding in the trees with a video camera the footage of me whooping up a storm would sure have gotten on America’s Funniest videos!!!

  • Julie Symons

    He’s so handsome! I’m sure Tai and Jack had a great male bonding experience while you were gone. Reading Mary Lou’s response reminded me that I also taught Savvy this “show me your treasure” game (credit goes to Jane Jackson on this one!). Remember that time Savvy took of with a baggie of hotdogs and she brought it right back when I called her? Make it a game and always give them something for showing you the treasure. Savvy is usually very naughty, but thoughtful enough to share her treasures! A rabbit head does take the cake though. Gross!

  • Elisabeth Hammer

    I continue to enjoy the blogs Anne. What an event with the rabbit head! I love the idea of the “acceptance of the whole”. I believe that too, and try to follow that with my furry crew. It is nice to know there are like souls out there. Hope to see you soon….Going to “World’s” must have been qute the experience! Good Wishes to you and yours!

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