First Birthday Already!

Today is Aiden and Libertie’s 1st birthday, where did the time go? I remember when we got little wrinkly faced Aiden at 10 weeks of age and now looking at him I wonder where those days went. He has grown up to be such a handsome young dog, with such a patient and loving personality. With this milestone though comes the knowledge that soon he will go for training and we will no longer wake up to his nose and tongue in our faces – eager to get the day started. He is so much like my old boy Phoenix that it makes me sad every day to think about his upcoming departure from our home.

Libertie has now been with us for a month and a couple of weeks. She has learned so much and has pretty much settled into the routine of living in our home. She has mastered: sit, down, come, and is wonderful about waiting for the “ok” command before going to eat her meals. She has learned to take treats gently and is well on her way to learning how to stay and settle down (with the use of a tie down or crate, but soon she will no longer need these either).

I am not sure why our personalities seem to clash, but I find myself often wondering whether she really likes being here. I will give her a command and she will keep walking and when I make her obey she will stare at me with her sad eyes because I guess in her mind I am a mean person not allowing her to do what she desires. When her sister Amber was with us for a short time she would often give me that same look. I wish I could allow her to do what she wants, but I also cannot stand having a dog who ignores authority. Maybe in a little while she will begin to understand that I am not being cruel, but only trying to teach her what I know will help her become the dog I know she can be. My sister and her seem to have a wonderful bond with one another, maybe it is because Brandi does not force her to obey all of the time, but seeing this relationship helps me to see that she will have a great home for life if she does not stay with us.

Aiden and Libby had a great day playing with their buddies and with their new presents. Aiden absolutely loves his stuffed monkey with rope arms and legs that squeaks and Libby loves her new cow hoof filled with rollover. Soon they will have even more new toys to play with as Christmas is not far away.


  1. Brooke,

    Just a little thought about your issues with Liberty. When you have a dog who is clashing in this way, it is often because you are asserting authority instead of engaging in partnership. It is important to understand that Libby has had almost a year of figuring out the world for herself, which may have created an independent thinking dog. For a trainer who expects obedient compliance, a dog like this can drive you nuts, because the dog is always asking “why should I?” The concept of obedience to authority can backfire in a dog who has had to learn to depend upon herself for good information-why SHOULD she do your will?

    I would start out by never ever asking Libby to do something until she has offered you compliance on her own. This is the principle that I use with my own dogs and it makes a huge difference-it takes advantage of the dog’s ability to problem solve and think things through and determine who is worth following and who is not. To do this, I wait for offered, not cued eye contact before asking for any other behaviour. This means making a commitment to partnership instead of obedience. This subtle difference is in my mind the difference between true, deep partnership and a linear hierarchy. Linear hierarchies are great for the army…but not so much for a relationship. Hope that helps.

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