Bragging Rights

My to-do list is getting longer by the minute. Work is hopping, we’re looking for a new place to live, and I still haven’t done my taxes yet. Just when I have checked something off, I think of five more things I need to accomplish, all within the next few days. To prevent myself from getting down and giving up, I think I am in need of a self-esteem boost.

Shiva’s adoption anniversary is this weekend. As the date approaches, I can’t help but think back on all the crazy memories we’ve built together while struggling to figure out our relationship. There are a lot of them. Mistakes are going to be made when one is learning as she goes. Shiva is the most tolerant dog in the world to put up with me. But there have also been a lot of successes. Shiva not only has an impressive roster of tricks, but she has become a brand new dog. A real canine good neighbour.

Even if we never pass that dang test.

Of all the things we have learned together, of all the behaviours Shiva has mastered, there is one of which I am most proud. It’s not in my nature to brag but when it comes to this one thing, I have a hard time resisting the temptation to show off. Oddly, it has nothing to do with her reactivity.

Shiva has a wicked “stay”.

Maybe I am so proud of it because it is so counter-intuitive to her nature. Self-control is something we had to spend a lot of time working on. Shiva is a dog that wants, needs, to be constantly in motion. Staying in one place makes her anxious. We will never be able to take her to a parade because she can’t handle being around so many distractions and not moving. However, if I put her in a stay and move away, she is instantly focussed. There isn’t a whole lot these days that will cause her to break position. She now has so much value for staying when asked, I can ask her to do so in almost any position for an indefinite period of time. Even when she can’t see me.

Her brilliant stay also allows me to capture shots like this on camera and in the moment

Shiva’s stay is so good I have been able to leave her in a sit at the side of the road while I cross the street to catch a stray dog. It’s so impressive she will sit and watch while I train with The Cat, not moving until I give her release cue. It’s so awesome I could throw tripe at her head while performing cartwheels in a circle around her and she wouldn’t budge.

I think that is something worth bragging about.

Now it’s your turn. What learned behaviour of your pet’s – or pets’ – makes you the most proud? Don’t hold back! This is no time to be modest. I want to read some serious self-promotion!

22 thoughts on “Bragging Rights

  1. I knew a rottie who belonged to some surfers, they would put him in a down stay near their stuff on the beach while they went out for a couple of hours. Noone ever stole their car keys or wallets!

    It’s a very useful thing to have.

    I think my favorite thing for Bender is his ‘heel’ – he is so nuts on the lead sometimes but to be able to get him focussed and his head position looking up at me is just so CUTE!

    For Barbie it’s recall. She’s a sighthound. Recall for her is hard, but she still does it.


  2. I still have a lot of work left with Kobi, his barking is my biggest task right now. I’m okay with barking, but barking at everything non-stop is not. He has a serious crying wolf issue, it’s impossible to tell what bark to take seriously and what barks to pay no attention to. Anyway, in recent weeks I am intensely proud of his loose leash walking. I have been working on it for months! And finally I am able to get around the block almost every time without him budging from my side. I now need to start working on transferring the skill every where else. Once we stray from our normal around the block route he tends to start pulling more and I have to go back to lots of rewarding, but being able to walk loosely outdoors with out lunging and barking at people is a big step in his reactivity.


  3. That sounds like one awesome stay! So what’d she think about you tossing tripe at her head while performing cartwheels…? 😉

    Lets see – Toby is awesome at learning new tricks all around, so I’m proud that I can teach him new things in only a few tries. (teaching him what NOT to do is another story…)

    Meadow has an awesome recall (when she’s not afraid). For a “wild” dog, she blows my other two away in the recall department.

    Leah is just all around obedient – and I didn’t teach that to her, but I’m proud of her all the same. She dropped a live squirrel for Nick once upon request. (After it took off though she looked around like “Dammit, it took me forever to catch that thing!”)


  4. I’m a fickle creature. It’s always the last thing we are working on/worked on that I’m most proud of. Probably because the sense of accomplishment is still so fresh. Most recently, I am proud of all my dogs for learning to twirl. Sadie & Maggie especially so since it’s the first new thing I’ve trained and they’ve learned in a while. With Hurley, I’m currently enamored with his dog in a box routine. Which we now show off for everyone who comes in the shop. They think it’s silly and roll their eyes when I break out the box but inevitably, they giggle once Hurley maneuvers his 80 lbs into a relatively small box. So maybe with Hurley, I’m most proud of his ability to bring a smile to just about everyone’s face.


  5. First off yes you should brag!! You and Shiva are inspirational to all of us with challenging dogs.

    For Sampson it would be the “Stop” or “No” command. Honestly he can be in a full-out run and I can yell one of those commands and he puts the brakes on. It has saved him from the road a time or two.

    For Delilah it would be her ability to complete ignore whatever it is that I am saying and do it her way.

    Clearly I am not as adept with challenging dogs as you are. 🙂 Sampson was easy.


  6. Congratulations and good for you! You should be very proud.

    I wish the brown dawgs had a wicked stay, but as they say around hunt test circles: There are two kinds of dogs, the one that has broken (the stay) and the one that will break. lol Usually it is when you least expect it and on the very last honor of the day and oops there goes that qualifying score. 🙂


  7. That is definitely something worth bragging about especially when it goes against her active nature. And you are inspiring me to work on this with my pack.


  8. Wow! That is a gold star stay! Georgia’s is good but nowhere near that level. Well done to the both of you.

    I think the learned behaviour I most appreciate in Georgia is her tolerance and acceptance of all dogs big and little these days, even when they lunge and nip her. She only retaliates when the other dog really goes overboard, and even then, she seems to have a “must not overdo it” button herself. I’m terribly grateful for that 🙂


  9. Utility wise, I’m very, very proud of Elka’s “drop it”. We were at the park once, and she was at the end of her 20 foot leash and she picked something up. I said “drop it” and called her to me and rewarded her prompt reaction to both. When I investigated? She had a turkey sandwich IN HER MOUTH, and listened to me anyway. The other day, she had a piece of candy (sour patch kid) that somebody had dropped. My fiance said “drop it”, and she did, no hesitation.


  10. Cali’s recall used to be amazing- if we said “Cali come” she used to stop mid-run and come back . .as she has gotten older, her listening has gotten more selective – if we don’t catch her before she takes off, she’s less likely to stop – she’s 13 . .she doesn’t move quite as quick as she used to, so I don’t worry too much 🙂 She also has an excellent “drop it”!

    Shiva is a rockstar! Sorry you have to work tomorrow – BOO!! I hope you enjoy your short weekend!


  11. Ace also has a great stay (except when someone comes to the door). At obedience class the other night, we had all the dogs lined up and staying while we walked several yards away. The dog next to mine lunged and tackled the dog to its other side and the two were tumbling and growling. My dog just sat there, staring at me, waiting for me to tell him what to do. What a good boy!


  12. Biggest thing I am proud of – Kita will not touch any food unless I tell her it is ok. Pretty impressive for a rescue dog we have not had a year yet –
    As for taxes – email them out – they will be done – See you in May-


  13. That is completely awesome Kristine!! Who would have thunk that with Shiva of all dogs?? BOL!! Really that is amazing!

    I’d say Chance and Blaze have a wicked ‘leave it.’ I’ve had grated cheese falling from the sky and they won’t touch it. I can toss a treat for them to catch, tell them leave it in mid air and they will. Still have to work on my distance, but they have come really far for a couple of counter surfers!! 🙂


  14. Emmett’s learning to ride in the car… it’s a work in progress, but he’s getting better everyday! First ride included whining, trembling, barking, excessive panting, foaming, pulling the fabric off the door and jumping from the backseat to the front seat. Currently we have whining, trembling, some drooling, and a we sit well in our doggy seat belt!


  15. Hi Kristine, that’s really great. My dad’s really proud that I’ve become even more outgoing, interested in life, meeting people and going for long walks. Sometimes I get to run free and that’s fun because I can move really, really fast and my dad has to run to catch up. And I meet lots of people and pretty girls, which makes my dad happy.


  16. Happy anniversary to you and Shiva … you two have accomplished a lot together! Buster’s stay is no where near as good as Shiva’s. I’ll have to work on that. Stay is an important command for safety reasons and I’ve avoided it because it’s hard for Buster. You’ve inspired me to tackle it! But, if we could get a video of you doing those cartwheels around Shiva, that would really put me over the edge. =)


  17. Hi Kristine, that is truly great! Happy Anniversary to you and to Shiva, I am happy to know you both. Stay good and healthy!


  18. What a great post! Congrats on your progress with Shiva! I don’t know that there is really one behavior or command that Pearl has really nailed yet, but in general I am proud of her at how fast she learns and how willing and eager she is to work. She doesn’t always listen or do what I ask but she tries and I think we are definitely making progress on our working relationship. I hope to one day be able to brag about all the things Pearl and I can do together!


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