Sit for Petting (Part One)

My first dog, Ginger, was a sweet little Brittany who failed the Canine Good Citizen test for probably the best reason out there… she was just too friendly.

Ranger suffers from this same happy affliction.  He loves petting and cuddles, and turns into a wiggly 85 pound ball of snuggles when someone touches him.  Ok, looks at him.  Ok, thinks about him.

Luckily, this effervescent quality can be tamed without being wounded.  This is one thing I love about positive training – we aren’t punishing a dog for being friendly!

So how do we turn a Labrador shaped Tigger into a dog that greets calmly and politely?  Read on!

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The First Family Walk

One of the best payoffs of devoting time to training is when it really starts to make your life easier instead of just adding another commitment to a busy schedule.  This paid off yesterday with Ranger’s first family walk. Because of his overreactions to other dogs and his tendency to pull, we had not taken Ranger out before with the baby; it was too much of an inconvenience to try to manage a flailing slobber bark-hound (I’m sure that is just one word in German) instead of just being able to enjoy an evening stroll.

This time, there was strolling AND enjoyment.

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Ranger and the Rolling Lumpy Squeak Thing

Yes, she is a person.  She is an adorable little human puppy.  But Ranger is a dog, and he is just starting to figure these things out. So for today, she shall be deemed Rolling Lumpy Squeak Thing (RLST).

The baby has begun slow-mo flopping and flailing and can migrate herself from one end of the living room to the other, without crawling, over the space of a few minutes. And Ranger is quietly curious, but so far unconcerned.  This is fabulous, but we are still starting to take greater precautions.  So what does one do with a RLST and a dog in the home?

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Frozen Toesen

Pardon my reach for a plural.

Want to know what a “It’s 28 degrees and I just worked on heeling for 20 minutes while babywearing outdoors” selfie looks like?

Of course you do.  You’re reading this, so you are either my mother or a spammer from some poverty stricken country who has always secretly wondered what a “It’s 28 degrees and I just worked on heeling for 20 minutes while babywearing outdoors” selfie looks like.

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Ranger’s Vacation

We’re back!  As you may have noticed, Ranger and I took a blogging hiatus over the holidays.  Ranger got to spend some happy Labrador time at the grandparents’ house, chasing four wheelers and going on long walks in the woods with his boy, and I got several naps and way too much fudge and pralines.

I am quite blessed to have in-laws that love Ranger and also respect our rules for baby and dog safety, such as having active, alert adult supervision any time the baby and dog are in the same room. My husband and I got to take some time off from baby-holding to explore the outdoors, so prepare for a glut of Labradorable pictures of Ranger in his natural setting – ponds, dirt roads, and mud.

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Whispers and Winks: Cues for the Baby Friendly Dog

It has been quite interesting to really hone in on the behaviors I need Ranger to know to live politely with a baby, and I’ve had some thoughts bubbling in my mind like porridge that may be useful to other trainers or families searching for ways to integrate their furry and less-furry family members.

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