Shortly after bringing Rigby home from the rescue last summer, she was enrolled in school. I was bound and determined that she would be a very well trained dog who listened to her owner. I met a trainer at the dog park, and hired her to work with the two of us over the summer. Rigby is an extremely smart working dog and was a prize student. She learned very quickly and seemed to thrive on learning new things.
Well, Rigby has reached adolescence. Many of the things she learned before she was a year old have been thrown right out the window. Sometimes her behavior is so crazy I fear she is possessed and, I swear, her head spins around multiple times.
“Come” now only happens if I have something good in my hand, and only if it is as good as the squirrel, bird, or dog walking by outside. “Leave it” works only if the item that she is destroying isn’t important, expensive, or a box of Kleenex. “Stay” has turned into a power struggle of sorts. She stays for a bit, then gets up until I tell her “no” and she goes back only to get back up again. At that point I usually end up chasing her around the kitchen table because she won’t “come” or “leave it”. On top of that she refuses to get into the car. I have to physically pick her up and put her inside if I want to take her somewhere.
In the midst of being sick and stressed out at work a couple of weeks ago I had had it with her “teenage” defiance!
The trainer came back today for some maintenance work this afternoon. We spent about 3 hours working on my list of frustrations. It was money well spent. Rigby didn’t disappoint. She was her silly self, but she also demonstrated the reasons why I made this appointment, which was great because the trainer was able to give me some techniques and reminders on how to handle things when Rigby
rolls her eyes at me tests the boundaries.
The best part of the whole session…My beast of a dog who can jump 10 feet in the air but refused to jump in the back of the car now jumps in without hassle. It took about 20 minutes of work and a lot of cheese and salami bribes, but she now hops in with just a quick, “Up!”
Rigby really is a cool dog, but I am so looking forward to her turning 2 and leaving the teenage years behind.