Hi, I’m Teddy Boom-Boom. I am a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and will be two years old on September 22, 2009. I live most of the year in Scottsdale, Arizona and spend four months a year in Vancouver. My life in Vancouver is much different from my life in Arizona. In Arizona I live in a very quiet gated community. When my masters take me for walks I rarely meet other dogs or people. I will see an occasional Coyote or Rattlesnake, not to mention a Javelina (they are wild pigs) but I don’t play with any of them.
My friend and pet setter Suzanne says I want to get as much out of life as possible (she’s right) so when I came to Vancouver last summer, wow, it was like I went to heaven! Everywhere I went I met new friends and people. For example, there is my pal Lincoln, a Pugle who lives around the corner or Hefner, a Yorkie mix, and Madeline and Oliver, two pugs who live in my building – oh, I could go on forever.
Well, I wasn’t very good a year ago. I always wanted to play with my new friends, jump on people to say hello, smell the grass, flowers, bushes and fire hydrants. I was, as my master would say, “a mess.” I was fascinated with the Canadian birds and squirrels – we only have hawks and cactus wrens in the desert – and I would chase the birds, too.
I had gone to two schools in Arizona. I started school when I was about ten weeks old and thought that I suffered from DADD (Doggie Attention Deficit Disorder). At my second school I even did a little agility training which was fun, but the head trainer didn’t take me seriously because of my surfer hairdo, and he spent more time with the big dogs. I wasn’t a star pupil anyhow and was too much of a free spirit. I did whatever I wanted to do.
But, then I met Sit Happens. And as I suspected I wasn’t the problem – it was my masters. Now, my masters go to school, (I go with them) sometimes twice a week, and are learning how to better communicate with me. I like that. We usually go to Burnaby. When we get there we do a lot of fun exercises and I practice teaching my masters how to heel me properly, keep me focused and not fuss with other dogs when we are walking, how to sit, and how to come and a lot of other things. I bring this little blue nylon platform to training and when my master says “Place” I jump on it, lie down and relax. I think that may be my favorite thing.
Recently, I helped the trainer teach the course by working off the lead. This was a really big deal for me, as I used to be incorrigible as soon as I was off my leash and no one trusted me. If I saw a bird, rabbit or lizard the chase was on! But off leash I walked around the other dogs like a slalom course, sat, and came to my master on command. It’s not hard, I just have to make sure my masters keep working with me on a regular basis so I won’t forget what I am supposed to do. I now know most of the commands and like showing my skills to the “newbies.”
I have made good progress this summer compared to last. For instance, I don’t embarrass anyone now when I go to Starbucks, (well, most of the time). I can walk down Granville Street and mind my own business, and have even showed restraint when meeting new dogs. My masters now work with me daily on my manners and this helps me understand and remember what they want me to do.
Now, if I could only teach my cat Lilly some manners! Oh well, maybe next year she’ll come to class with me.
Note from Joan and Ron: Teddy was very difficult to manage, especially when he got distracted, which was often. He has learned quickly with Sit Happens and has become a pleasure, not a chore, to walk. The other training methods we used were not working for us. This method works, is fun, and as you can tell from his story, he’s one happy little dog.