Elsa, our 4 month old, high-drive, German Shepherd guide-dog-in-training lays quietly at my feet as I type. She’s not happy about it, but it finally happened. Finally.
You see, when a high-drive puppy training to do important work meets a high drive handler intent on training a dog to do important work, the combination can be quiet unproductive. For the last two months I’ve been obsessed with doing the right thing for Elsa. Newly retired, I’m throwing all my energy from 35 years of corporate life into training the perfect guide dog. She’s a smart puppy, so she needs to be doing something all the time. When all the treats and toys and guide-dog-puppy-approved distractions don’t work, I put her in her crate where she lays peacefully, so I can at least do some work on our start-up: BarkBed Covers. Washable dog bed covers to make your life easier. 😉
But then I take her out of her crate and hell brakes loose and the entertain-me, stimulate-me game begins. I nearly wore out a Fit Bit counting the thousands of steps I took chasing her around the house to retrieve kitchen towels, leashes, underwear, unapproved chew items, sunglasses, shoes, and, did I mention, underwear?
I was exhausted, stressed, and very angry with myself. After training 4 guide dogs, I know that than any issue you have with a fundamentally good dog is your issue, not the dogs’. Then it hit me. Being still is work, too. Elsa needed her job to be lying down. Quietly. Bada bing! It took a few strong leash corrections followed by a small handful of treats, but now a peaceful, sleeping puppy graces the carpet under my desk. Who knew?