I took the boys to an obedience lesson with Nancy last week. This has been something I have been wanting to do for a long time but had never made a priority. Usually I post about things really quickly after they happen but I have been doing a lot of thinking about the advice given to me for Vito.
So at our lesson we talked about putting the responsibility to work on Vito. Nancy observed that after a period of down time, such as being on a down stay while we talked, Vito had a hard time popping up to work and I fell into my routine of jazzing him up. She urged me to work on duration sitting in heel position, being quiet, and creating a conditioned response to the two. Basically I'm supposed to stop working so hard for him and start letting him step up.
I know I didn't fully digested Vito's lesson plan and this week that followed I had many conflicting thoughts. Shortly after the lesson, Denise Fenzi posted about her long journey with her new OTCH dog Cisu. Denise wrote about her need to be there for her dog, maintaining that connection through interaction and just supporting her every second. Comparing those thoughts to our lesson and my want to have an enthusiastic and pushy dog I was confused.
So I've been thinking about how to balance the two ideas and have finally reached the conclusion that they really aren't opposing each other like I feared. Vito may need that constant connection once we start training, but he needs to make that choice to connect in the first place. While I've been trying to create more drive for working I've really been luring and pleading with him to start. My efforts need to go into maintaining the connection that he chooses to seek out with his complete focus, not just attention.