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June 4, 2014

The Most Important Lesson for a Pet

I have big (lesson) plans for Penny. I want to teach her obedience, loose leash walking, how to signal she needs to go out, how to sit patiently for grooming – the list goes on. In life, for both pets and people, there’s always more to learn. But before the
I have big (lesson) plans for Penny. I want to teach her obedience, loose leash walking, how to signal she needs to go out, how to sit patiently for grooming – the list goes on. In life, for both pets and people, there’s always more to learn. But before the techniques and strategies and study sessions can begin for Penny and me, there is an invaluable prerequisite course.Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, adventure, marking our territory

“Hey buddy, we just met. Why should I come out and listen to you?”

Penny has been fun and outgoing from the get go, but she’s also quite independent. Especially during our first few days together I could tell Penny was uncertain of what to make of me. While she relaxed under the safety of the table Penny sized me up with one simple question:

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, adventure, marking our territory

“Why should I trust you?”

And so for the past two weeks, my overriding goal has been to demonstrate I’m worthy of Penny’s trust. Not just that, but I’m also showing her that when she trusts me, great things happen.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, adventure, marking our territory

Big adventures begin with little steps. It took lots of coaxing to convince Penny to cross thresholds like this one, but she quickly learned there was always fun to be had on the other side

Penny doesn’t have to believe I’m trustworthy based on my word alone. I have references! In novel situations, Penny will look to Eko as a proxy for how she should behave.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, adventure, marking our territory

At the vet Penny was initially skittish about the exam table

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, adventure, marking our territory

 But once she saw Eko was ok with it, Penny visibly relaxed

These first few weeks/months together will lay the foundation for Penny’s future with me. The most important thing I can teach her during this time is trust. Once I’ve earned Penny’s trust the other lessons will begin to fall into place. Earning Penny’s full trust is an ongoing project, but between Eko and me I think Penny feels quite comfortable.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, adventure, marking our territory

Literally, between Eko and me, Penny feels quite comfortable!

So with love, play, encouragement – and treats, of course – I’m hard at work showing Penny that trusting me will keep her safe, happy and well fed!

Comments for The Most Important Lesson for a Pet

  1. Awwww, what a sweet last picture. You’re a good guy, Will, but it’s great that Penny has Eko to look to for direction and support. I agree with you that sometimes they need that familiar doggy understanding to guide them.
    Thanks for sharing this journey with us. I’m enjoying every post!

  2. Victoria says:

    looks like you got the best seat in the house – or maybe its Penny that has the best seat in the house!!

  3. Emmadog says:

    Very good lesson! Mom says Katie was her test puppy, the first dog she had that was a puppy and Katie pretty much did whatever she wanted, no school, etc. I came along and had to go to obedience school, but from that point until I became a blogging/social media/photo model dog, I did nothing. Bailie has a long list of things she is going to be doing starting with her CGC, passing all her ORTs, learning tracking and getting as many of those titles as possible. She will kind of be like the first kid in a family to attend college. She doesn’t seem frightened by the challenge either. No matter what Penny does, as long as she has love, her life will be awesome with you guys!

  4. fredrieka says:

    It took me a long time to trust momwithoutpaws, since my other person left me in a parking lot, I would not go in the car unless she picked me up.. Now I can not wait to go Woof

  5. pawedblog says:

    Such a valid point this post gives, I think we are all a little guilty of forgetting sometimes that a pup has to learn to trust us too. It definitely looks liek penny is getting the hang of things quickly, though!
    Hugs, Carrie and Pups x

  6. Great point! My little fellow is full of trust, but my concern about potty training strained that I think. I had to dial myself back and relax a bit! Lesson learned! Thanks Will – your posts are invaluable for me right now 🙂

  7. I’m sure you will keep her very safe and she will learn that too soon.

  8. Ogee says:

    Perfectly said! Now clone yourself. 🙂

  9. Great blog piece. Especially good for new dog owners to look to as an example of the dedication needed to own a well balanced, loved and loving pet!

  10. Dottie Wells and Tuffy-Cat says:

    Loved this “issue”, Will. Informative, yet sentimental. Do you sometimes think that Eko believes you brought Penny home to him as a new toy? He seems as excited by Penny as you do. I feel like she’ll be a part of great things to come. And, it’s a new beginning for Eko, as he learns how important a role he’ll be playing in her life. Plus, making you so proud of how he learned to handle it (and her).

  11. fozziemum says:

    It’s a wonderful journey with a new pup 🙂 she looks well settled and very happy 🙂 hugs Fozziemum x

  12. Will you will seriously have to consider a bigger sofa in future otherwise you are on the floor mate. Winter will be interesting to see if you get any heat from the fire LOL 🙂

  13. OhMelvin says:

    She is in good hands (and paws!). I found the quickest way to gain trust was to give them a schedule to count on. If they know what to expect and then they get it, it goes a long way in building trust!

  14. how great to have a big brother as a reference!

  15. I wish everyone that had a dog was as educated and thoughtful as you are. Joy!

  16. Great advice Will. Unlike my own, her neck wrinkles are adorable.

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