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