Happy First Birthday Takoda

“Time flies when you are having fun” certainly applies to puppies.  Looking back, its hard to believe how much Takoda learned during his first year on the planet.  Takoda means “Friend to Everyone” in Sioux and he continues to live up to his name.  It is such a pleasure living with a super-friendly, non-reactive dog…..not that Jake and Lil are super reactive or anything like that, but they are terriers and thus lean towards the barky side.   Through ongoing management, I keep their barking under control yet with Takoda, I don’t have to do anything.   He is just not barky.

When Takoda joined our pack at  8 weeks old, I remember thinking about all the things Jake and Lil know, and it felt overwhelming to think about all the life skills Takoda would need to learn to be a “good dog” at home, plus all the specialized training he’d need to participate in dog sports.   Looking back, I am wowed by how much he learned in the past year!   He has that winning combination of intelligence and the desire to work/ play with me, regardless of what we are doing.

The only bump in the road was a badly sprained knee on Dec 1.  I didn’t see what happened because Takoda was out of my sight for a  few minutes while out for a potty break in the backyard, but I assume he slipped on some ice since the yard was covered with slippery snow.  Three weeks of crate rest and being on leash 24/7 resolved the sprain, and I gradually increased his activity level back to what it was before the sprain.

Takoda and I ended up taking nearly 2 months off from foundation training for agility, which gave me the opportunity to step back and reflect on what I envisioned for our future lives.  It came as a big surprise to me that agility was not very high on my list of things I wanted to do with Takoda.  The top activities were: Search and Rescue, hiking, playing, hanging out, and training a variety of skills for the sheer joy of training.  I’m not giving up on agility by any means, but its just not my focal point right now.   That said, my friend Heather came over a couple of days ago to set up a sequence for an on-line course she is taking with Amanda Nelson.

All three dogs aced the sequence on the first try.  I was surprised to see they ran such similar lines even though Takoda is twice the size of Jake and Lil.  It was so cool to see all three dogs run with so much confidence, joy and enthusiasm.

One detail worth noting is how little the tunnel moves when my dogs run through it.. and I don’t use tunnel bags when training in my yard.  This is one of Sharon Nelson’s brilliant training tips:  Training dogs to run through tunnels without tunnel bags teaches them NOT to bank when entering and exiting tunnels.  Instead dogs learn to turn on the flat before they enter the tunnel and after exiting.  This skill keeps dogs from crashing and burning inside slippery or wet tunnels.



Takoda, 2 days shy of his first birthday

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