Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Daily Dickens: An Honest Dog

As I researched a breed to invite into my home, I offered a prayer asking whatever four-paws graced our doorstep that that little someone be a willing dog.  The thought of dealing with a sneaky dog did not appeal to me.  Cairn terriers, while living with the moniker "Cairn Terrors", have their issues.  With all the poking around AKC information, speaking with people, breeders, websites, and books ad infinitum finished, this breed appealed to me.  Cairns rose to the top for their longivity.  The breed worked hard back in the day.  They are smart dogs.  The attributes that might be the best kept secrets in the canine world is that the Cairn terrier is a sensitive and honest dog.

Whether the root cause of Dickens's recent behavior problems stemmed from being neutered too soon, the result of undergoing anesethia, entering adolescence or a matter of genetics, he has been honest with his struggles. 

This past Sunday Dickens and I resumed training sessions.  Dickens was Dickens in his truest form.  Despite the fact he had been walked and played with before we entered the training ring.  Despite the fact the session opened with some play as part of his assessment, he showed the trainer that he shared his anxiety freely with everyone.  He didn't reserve the nips for me.  He shared them willingly and honestly.  Despite his anxiety he did well.   He obeyed every command.  Throughout the session his body told me how he felt, especially his eyes. 

When he couldn't fathom what the trainer wanted he give a confused, whites of his eyes look.  Something didn't connect and he knew it.  Once he understood, his whole body relaxed.  At one point his teenage insolence rose as I told him not to jump at which point he stomped back to floor and went into the down position as if to say, "OK.  Fine.  [paw stomping]  I know you're going to tell me lay down next, so let's just get it over with now."  Canine teenage behavior at its best.

I'm lucky in that I have an honest dog.  His issues are treatable and trainable.  He loves and is loveable.  He attracts people because of his innocence and amazes people when he gets wound up because of the intensity of his anxiety.  He'll do what's asked and punish you later for putting him through his paces.  His anxiety level can be monitored.  He's changing all the time. 

And time is what we'll give him.  He needs room to grow from the inside.  Time to adjust.  Time to absorb the outside learning stuff with the inside growing stuff.  He requires the security of structure to keep him balanced. 

Prayers are answered throughout every moment in time.  Tonight I'm grateful that my prayer had been heard - I got an honest dog. 

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