Tales of Teddy

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Teddy’s Tales: Dog Trainer no.1

dog trainer

I probably should have trusted my instincts regarding the dog trainer. Her telephone manner was stern, verging on the bossy. And in person? Well, let’s say she clearly considers herself top dog. “She prefers canines to humans,” is my husband’s view.
We gather around as she curtails any questions, puts us firmly in our places and issues instructions that sound a lot like commands. When my son endeavours to do as he is told and give Teddy a treat while at the same time trying to avoid sharp little teeth, her remark: “Are you left-handed, cack-handed or what?” seals the deal. Not the trainer for us. We say goodbye.
My friend with a Cavalier King Charles suggests Kevin-the-Trainer. I telephone him and explain that we need a dog trainer to give us some pointers, like what to do when play bites get a little too real (every book gives a different suggestion) and how to involve the children in training. I also want to know what he thinks of Teddy’s temperament. We have welcomed this sharp-toothed little sweetie-pie into our family and yes, he’s gorgeous, but I’ve read the books, I’ve heard the stories: what’s the chance that he will turn our world upside down, but not in a good way?
Kevin comes the next day: “Let’s start you off right”. He scoops up Teddy, handles him confidently and explains in a straightforward manner how to play and train him at the same time. He gives the children some kibble and has them stand apart from each other. One child calls ‘Teddy, look what I’ve got,’ and Teddy rushes over to get a treat and his collar felt (to stop him getting edgy if caught by the collar later on), then the other child does it. Within seconds Teddy is ricocheting from one child to the other, getting to know his name, getting to recognize that the children can dispense treats and are therefore to be respected, getting to know that a touch on the collar often means a reward. And, having slipped over and scrabbled about on wooden floorboards for the best part of 10 minutes, he thoroughly exhausts himself. Excellent. We sign up for puppy classes.