Stuck will have been here for 6 weeks this week.
Everything has been going really well, apart from my own poor self esteem and feeling frustrated with myself.
Last week I was just feeling really down. I felt very inadequate as a dog handler. I have tried at various times to teach Stuck things. I have been trying to teach her a 'front' as well as have been trying to teach her to hold a dumbbell. Every time I have tried to work with her on something new, I feel like she looks at me like I'm speaking spanish. I have gone through periods like this with Seppel and Seth. He has been very frustrating at times because I can work with my dog Seth and whatever we are doing, he figures out immediately. With Seppel, it always seems to take more time. Anyway, it got me thinking and wondering if this was all really normal. I know when I got Seppel it took me almost a year to really connect with him, but I credit some of that to us just not having a training focus.
I like Stuck a lot. I can't say that I 'love' her yet, because it's still new and I don't feel like we are fully bonded. I think it is harder for us to form a relationship because she was well started and trained with someone for almost 2 years. We are still trying to figure each other out and I think in a way it's even harder for her because I am trying to pick up where she left off and I am not the handler she has known her whole life. I know that as we spend more time together our relationship will grow and I know it isn't impossible because I have seen it with Seppel.
I guess in some ways I just thought things would be easier, and in some respects Stuck is VERY easy.
I just worry a lot that I will screw up the awesome training she has or bore her to death when we are working. I compare myself to other people, feeling like if she were with someone else - someone more capable or with more time, she would know 20 behaviors or something ridiculous.
Luckily I have some awesome friends who talked me back down. They made me understand and realize that just having her in my house is enough. The things she has learned are enough. Tricks are cute, but we are working towards a pretty serious dog sport and just working on those things is enough. They also reaffirmed that 5 weeks is NOT a super long time!
All that being said, today I decided to try to teach Stuck and Seppel 'rewind' or 'reverse circle'. It's where the dog circles you backwards. I don't have video of it yet, but I would say that both of them are on their way to learning this behavior! I am super excited because it is something I can say I actually taught Stuck, and it was something she picked up really quickly.
I'm hoping this is just the beginning of our training relationship developing. She really is a wonderful dog and a great fit for my household, but even though she's a super smart dog and came with some awesome training, that doesn't mean that she doesn't come with some challenges.