Meet Dori, the cutest and calmest Nova Scotia Duck Toller of the litter we were told.
We were first-time dog owners so we researched carefully what breed would best suit our three active teenage boy family. The dog we got had to be energetic, intelligent, must love water and must not be too big. A Toller would be a perfect dog for us, we were told. After owning Dori for 2 months we realized there were two speeds for her, full speed and asleep. We have no puppy pictures of Dori awake because all we got were blurs. And then we started really having a problem.
It turns out Dori is what is known as a 'submissive peer'. She is submissive to all dogs, all people, and anything else that moves. We didn't have to worry about dog fights but our kids were not able to bring friends home because Dori would roll onto her back and liquid would end up everywhere. Everybody wanted to talk to and pet Dori because she really is so cute, but we couldn't take her anywhere. Everyone was her new best friend but they left shaking their head and wiping liquid off their shoe.
Dori also followed a typical behavior pattern brought on by the book learned controls we used. She was good as gold at following our instructions at home, but as soon as we took her out to a park or anywhere there were other people and dogs, her ears suddenly stopped working.
On leash she was constantly straining at the leash, and if she was ever allowed off-leash, it took forever to round her up again. This had to change. Our friend assured us Sit Happens could help. The assessment was that Dori needed more self-confidence, and training would give her that.
We realized after the first lesson that Dori was trained, but the rest of us needed some additional training. With three boys and two adults Dori had five different masters. We needed a few regular visits to the park for the lifetime included Sit Happens 'socialization and training' sessions before we were all consistent with our commands. Dori happily obliged. And Dori stopped being submissive all the time.
Sure, every person and every dog on our walks were 'new best friends' to Dori, but she no longer found it necessary to demonstrate how submissive she was. As her self-confidence grew, we could create more and more complicated situations for her to have to figure her way out of while being totally controlled without a leash. Instead of "Oh what a cute dog", we started to hear "Oh what a cute, well-behaved dog".
At Jeff's encouragement we registered Dori in Agility Training. She loved it. She shook with controlled excitement when it wasn't her turn. Even though Dori is a cautious dog, because of the quality of the training she would undertake any challenge, as long as she was being shown what was expected of her.
Her self-confidence grew even more as she overcame successively more complicated obstacles.
Dori is just over one year old now, and we don't hesitate to take her anywhere or give her any situation or environment. Her energy, enthusiasm and love of life are now balanced with proper self-confidence.