Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wild Thing

Kane gnawing on his antler.
Recap: we adopted Kane from Friendly Giants Dog Rescue on January 10, 2014*. He is a 55-pound, 11-month-old mix of Black Lab and Border Collie. He is handsome, smart as a whip, and full of energy. Also, he suffers from ADHD. Last week I told you that he had taken me for a drag along the street when he lunged for a squirrel. (Hence the ADHD diagnosis.) 

I underestimated how much it had scared me, but now I find I'm extra nervous walking with him, especially when ice is under foot.

So our obedience classes came none too soon! We signed up for basic training through our local community centre:
Dog-Training Basics
Positive reinforcement training for dogs of all ages. Have fun teaching your dog the basic commands: sit, pay attention, down, come, walk on a loose leash, etc. Focus is on developing a safe, well-socialized pet and a happy home environment.
Here's what I expected would happen when we brought Kane into a room full of dogs: he would be excited, start leaping about, let loose a bark or two, but then he would settle down, especially if we let him sniff the other dogs.

Here's what happened: Kane was told to sit in the hall.

Yup. We have a "Marley and Me" type of dog. Here's a refresher:

Well, maybe Kane's not that bad, and the teacher didn't exactly make Kane an example of how not to behave, but she pretty much insisted that we go through the exercises apart from the other dogs.

In Kane's defense, some of the other dogs were ill-behaved (even worse, I'd say -- they jumped up on their owners and the trainer), but they were all smaller and they all had quieter barks. Kane's is quite a deep, mature bark. Imagine James Earl Jones barking. Yah. You'd be scared, too.

Furthermore, he threw all the other dogs off their game, kind of like a class clown can derail a classroom.

Kane was never able to just relax when he was in the same room as the other dogs. He was fully alert and ready to lunge at any given moment, so any time one of the other dogs yipped or bounced, Kane was beside himself. Out in the hallway, he could still see into the room, and that proved to be as much excitement as he could handle.

In the hall, he did exceptionally well at responding to his name and calming down, for about 5 seconds at a time. Next step is learning to abide by a loose leash.

All in all, I'm glad we're taking this course. We'll work on his two lessons all week, and I do hope he'll be a little better socialized by next Wednesday.

* January 10 happened to be the very day that K.B. died and, as flaky as it seems, I think that Kane brings K.B.'s joie de vivre and openness to me. I feel consoled by Kane's presence and the way he reminds me of her. Eventually, I may train him to dance. (I don't think he has much potential in the kitchen.)


  1. I totally get how the dog brings that joy of life for you. When I had Dezi, she had the same trouble as Kane. When she passed the course, the trainer said it was a close call. I think it's the herding breed in them. They can't concentrate on other things when there is a herd to control!

    1. Those ingrained habits are really hard to fight!

  2. We totally had a dog that failed dog training! The trainers loved him because he had such a sweet heart...all he wanted to do was kiss and jump on the trainers. He got a big fat F in the class. :) Good luck! And congrtats on your new family addition.

    1. Oh, dear. Kane is a big teddy bear, but gets quite angry when he is thwarted - not unlike a toddler. I expect he will outgrow some of his frustration, but he's too big to let him do his own thing. I have to remind myself that we're barely three weeks into this; I need to have patience.


What did you think? Any comments?

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...