Sunday, November 6, 2011

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Tim, The Enchanter

There are three boys from the Heather-Jack litter in our obedience class: Jam, Lucky and Tim. Lucky seems pretty laid back with a little bit of silliness, but Tim, he's quite different altogether. I call him Tim the Enchanter.  Here he is when he is being good and not egging Jam on to bad behavior.
Photo of Tim laying down by his puppy raiser.  Fred and Jam are behind them.  Jam is standing and reacting to something, could Tim be sending silent signals?
However, sometimes, Tim will change from Good Tim into Tim the Enchanter and then all bets are off.
Photo of John Cleese playing Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Once the Enchanter is in the house, Jam is completely out to lunch, which is what happened when Trainer Karen decided we were going to do the meet and greet exercise, which is where two puppies and their raisers walk towards each other and try to get closer and closer without one of the puppies completely losing their snot.  As Trainer Karen proceeded to pair the puppies up, Tim and Jam ended up with each other.  OOOOH.  Two 6 month old boys who just got their nuggets and are filled with testosterone.  This is going to be fun.

I walked Jam back a bit for the exercise to begin.  We started to come together.  Jam eyed the evil Tim and realized the duel had begun.  Clearly, a calm walk forward was NOT called for.  What was needed was a LEAPING JUMP and then GRAB HIM BY THE NECK ALA CALL OF THE WILD!

We backed off and tried again, but as soon as we backed up, Jam was already laser locked on Tim's eyes. Did it matter that Tim was looking down and wagging his tail. No! Tim had obviously issued a challenge.  Jam was honor bound to return said challenge.  They met and clashed again like a pair of jousting knights.  Rather Tim calmly walked forward and Jam leap forward and grabbed his neck in a mad dog wrestling lock a la Andre the Giant and prepared to toss Tim to the ground when I yanked him back.

Hmmm.  This duel wasn't going as Jam expected.  Each time they met, the leash holder was screwing it up for him.  What was he doing wrong?  Could it be the obvious stare down he was giving Tim?  Could it be the foreshadowing of the leaping jump that was about to come?  All of this Trainer Karen was able to point out to me.

"Don't look at the person coming towards you.  Look at Jam.  He will signal what he plans to do.  Then you just need to correct him before he does it, when he signals his intentions. And give lots of praise afterwards."

So take that enchanters!  No longer will Jam respond to your evil challenges.  I have your number!  He will be a good boy from now on. I am walking with intention and looking at Jam and if I walk into a wall, you had better not laugh!

After all, this is for a good cause.  And laughing would be wrong.  Oh so wrong. 8-)


  1. Jam is so cute. I love his coloring, the yellow labs I've had have all been snow white like that. Do your trainers talk about 'comfort zones' at all? It's funny to watch because Jam's comfort zone is clear, and once you take that step closer, he loses his mind. Keep up the good work, Jam! And don't worry... my pups are always the calm, unassuming instigators like Tim - causing all the trouble but not getting any of the blame. :)

  2. Love the way you've captured a typical greeting in these young guys. My pup was still doing this when I sent him IFT but somehow he has progressed to Mr. Manners as he is still working the training schedule. I love looking at how Karen works with the group. She is so relaxed in her posture and this energy must certainly translate back to the pups. Me, I'm just a hyperkinetic fool when the pups starting doing this.