Leave It

We brought Kloe home two weeks ago and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have her as part of our pack.  I was fairly certain that Kali would welcome her and be a good big sister or maybe even a surrogate mama.  My Golden Kali has exceeded my expectations and has not only  accepted embraced Kloe but has assumed responsibility for helping with Kloe’s training.

Kali is doing all the natural things you would expect from an older dog to help socialize the pup to the pack. She allows Kloe to chew on her face and use her body as a personal jumpy but only within reason.  When Kali has had enough she let’s Kloe know through body language, a mild growl, and by throwing her 57 pounds of body weight on Kloe’s 18. When Kali naps she welcomes Kloe to spoon with her or lay on her belly.   During  tug of war Kali allows Kloe to hold her own until the very end when Kali shakes her loose.

But this morning I saw something that surprised me and made me realize that Kali is truly helping with training our newest Golden K.

It was around 6:30 am (yes 6:30 we have a puppy!!) and Holly and I were sitting on the floor in the family room drinking coffee, watching the dogs play tug 0f war after breakfast (theirs not ours).   They did their tug of war dance for about 15 minutes and then we observed something rather remarkable.  Kali was teaching Kloe “leave it”.  A basic of training is to ask your pup for the toy they have in their mouth, by saying, in our case, “leave it”, and then rewarding them for letting go and then immediately giving them the toy back.  It builds an important bond of trust between you and your pup.

As we were watching the dance we watch Kali shake the toy strongly enough to shake Kloe’s grip loose.  Kali is standing there with the toy in her mouth as Kloe stares.  Kali drops the toy on the ground no more than a foot from Kloe’s gaze with her head slightly tilted in Kloe’s direction.  Kali gives a soft but firm growl while looking at Kloe.  Kloe respects the growl, lies down, and doesn’t try to get the toy.  Kali picks up the toy and takes it Kloe and they begin tug of war again.  After another 20 or 30 seconds Kali shakes the toy loose and again drops it in front of Kloe.  She stares at Kloe.  Kloe stares at the toy but remains put.  Kali picks up the toy and takes it back to Kloe.  Kloe accepts the toy and they resume the play.

I turn to Holly and say, “I think Kali is teaching her leave it”.  Holly concludes that Kali is not impressed with the training we have provided so far and is taking matters into her own paws.

I’m ok with it.  As all of you know who have raised a puppy you need all the help you can get with a quickly emerging a teen-ager in both size and attitude.  And for me I would want no other canine trainer helping us other than my Golden Kali.

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Kali and her student Kloe

6 Comments

I think Kloe is very lucky to have Kali as a teacher! It has always amazed me how much older dogs teach younger dogs. And you are right, they are much more efficient at it that we are. Our second dog, Lucy, learned the “down” command simply by watching what our first dog, Sandy, did when we said “down,” and seeing that Sandy got a treat for it. Lucy immediately copied Sandy, and from that point on, she knew exactly what “down” meant. I found it hard to believe at first, but stories such as Kloe and Kali’s have confirmed that dogs really can train each other. I’m so glad that adding Kloe to your family has worked out so well!

Kali is certainly one very special dog… but of course you already know that! We can never know what goes on in their heads, but so many times I have heard about rescued dogs and how appreciative they appear to be with loving owners. Giving Kali and Ray’s performance, I would have to agree that they really do acknowledge and appreciate their circumstances. Great Post Michael. 🙂

Thanks Colin.
Kali is remarkably adaptable but this time she seems to be basking in the challenge of having a new pup along side Holly and I. Just when I think I’ve seen her at her best she gets even better.

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