Katya in a Sun Beam
This photo is my new desktop, an update from this one which I’ve been running with for a good long while. Our ‘new‘ puppy Katya, who appeared in previous post deserves a photo of her own. When I came in from chores with her tagging along behind she went over and laid down in the sun spot by the wood stove at the center of our cottage. As I disrobed from my outdoor winter work suit I caught her looking up at something out the front windows. It was a pose that showed her off most beautifully.
Her mother Lili is my brown eyed girl, almost gold, but Katya’s eyes are beginning to turn into rainbows that range from dark brown through tan, gold, green and yellow like Kavi‘s eyes although she is more robust like her aunt Kita. Katya is starting to lose her puppy curls as her courser guard hair coat comes in. Her paws are also huge and she uses them to grab things, and me. Another interesting change as she ages is that she is gaining a silver to her face which is just noticeable in the photo above at her temples. These are silver tips to the guard hairs on her face.
We’re working out language structure both ways along with her livestock guarding and herding training. I had previously not tried hard training this early so this is very interesting. With only one puppy things happen a little differently than with a big litter bouncing at my feet. She learns a great deal from the other dogs and we have now had one instance where they learned something from her. I had taught Katya a new command. The adult dogs got quite jealous that Katya was getting attention and honed in on the activity picking up the command and multi-step sequence from watching Katya perform it. An interesting reversal of the usual training.
One of her favorite fun tasks is when we come in to the cottage from working. I take off my boots and she then insists on taking off my socks. If I get distracted and start doing something else or take too long she’ll bite my ankles trying to get me to lift my feet so she can grab the sock by the toe, how she was taught to pull it off my foot. Once she gets it off she parades around the room with it and then gives it to me to hang up. Then she goes for the other sock – best I cooperate!
This might sound like a silly little game but it actually teaches several different commands and behaviors including take, gentle, bring, drop, object naming and sequencing. Not all dogs understand objects, nouns and verbs. Some have more inclination than others and there are definitely key phases. Getting this training in early is key to maximizing their language and potential but I don’t expect her to do full work for a long time as she still has a lot of growing up to do.
A key to training is getting their attention and establishing communications. Rather like with people. After that, train early, train often and train variety. On the flip side, you can train an old dog new tricks, as Kita and Molly proved – everything else still applies.
Outdoors: 32째F/19째F Mostly Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65째F/61째F