Its been so much fun getting to know Takoda over the past 6 weeks. I can’t believe how much he has learned… and how much he has grown. I hope I’m not jinxing anything but house training has been a total breeze so far….only four accidents indoors, three of which happened early on before I learned to pay attention to his subtle way of telling me he needs to go out. This week he started putting his front paws on the door handle to indicate he needs to go out, which is not exactly the behavior I had in mind … but he also made a little WOO(f) sound….silent F… which I hope will soon replace front paws on the door handle.
Last week it rained for days on end, which gave me time to sit back and reflect on what I have learned about Takoda so far. Here are a few qualities I really appreciate about him.
He loves to be connected and engaged with me….and every other human being on the planet. I love that he is so social but I also am grateful to see good progress in terms of him choosing to stay focused on me vs. wanting to be everyone’s new best friend. 🙂Typcial Takoda Mug shots. 🙂
Another quality I appreciate about Takoda is he tends to offer potentially useful behaviors…. like 2o2o on the porch steps.
(above) I finally had my iPhone handy to capture his 2o2o in action. I have not been marking or rewarding 2o2o yet he continues to offer it. It must feel really good to do.
(above) another 2o2o followed by a classic Takoda mug shot. 🙂
I think these photos and videos above show how easy and comfortable it is for Border Collies built like Takoda to shift their weight back which makes doing 2o2o a breeze. Its also clear why a BC puppy goes into a play-bow pose when picking up a stick or toy.. his long legs necessitate it. While both Jake and Lil do nice 2o2os, theirs look different because of their structures. Since observing Takoda doing 2o2o so often, I can see why Jake and Lil sort of pop their front feet into 2o2o vs. step into it gently like Takoda.
Another quality I love about Takoda is how responsive he is to my energy. I don’t know if Energy Matching is a widely used term or not but I first encountered it at a workshop with Sharon Nelson where she demonstrated how she increases and decreases dogs’ arousal / energy levels to keep them in optimal “thinking” states of mind. It was so inspiring to see how fast and easy it was for Sharon to work with arousal levels in a variety of breeds and how much the dogs loved connecting with her in this way.
After watching Sharon working her “magic” last summer, I became much more aware of the subtle changes in my dogs energy levels when working, playing, and in day-to-day life. Its been fascinating for me to see how Takoda is similar and different than Jake and Lil, in terms of how fast and how high each dog’s arousal level goes based on various stimuli.
One difference I see is Takoda has a ton of drive in many more shades of grey / arousal levels / energy levels. Jake and Lil’s energy levels tend to be more like an ON/ OFF switch (not literally but I think most of you will understand what I mean). Compared to Jake and Lil, its like Takoda is on an “energy” escalator, which moves up gradually whereas Jake and Lil are on “energy” bungee cords that bouncy them up or down an entire floor at a time. I’m not suggesting either is better. I am just noticing what appears to be an innate difference between my two ATs and my BC puppy.
Something else I’ve noticed is when I match Takoda’s energy level, like Sharon Nelson demonstrated at her workshop, and then increase or decrease my energy level slightly, I can feel Takoda adjusting his energy level to match mine. He is very sensitive and responsive in this way.
One other cool thing I became aware of as a result of thinking about Energy Matching, is why I feel the need to be very upbeat and fun when working with Jake and Lil. I am Energy Matching. They are such fun, upbeat dogs to engage with (and super smart). Something I’ve always known is if I can’t make something fun to do, its not worth doing with the ATs. Luckily for me, Jake and Lil think most things we do are FUN FUN FUN. YEY for that!
There are many other special qualities I love about Takoda, Jake, and Lil. They each have a VERY special place in my heart. Love them all so much it hurts sometimes. YEY for that too!