Thursday, April 16, 2009

More on Real Life.

(wendy took these photos today- I can't BELIEVE she captured the smile!!!)

While I am on the subject of real life I want to talk about Vito.

For those of you who don't know, Vito was a rescue. At 14 weeks old he was looking for a new home. I fostered him. I loved him. But keeping Vito was probably a bad idea. (and a certain someone even told me so.....) I knew he had baggage (what kind of 12 week old puppy bites people???) I knew he was a little odd (what kind of 12 week old puppy wouldn't play with toys?) And I knew he was going to be a LOT of work (what kind of 12 week old puppy either bites people, or runs away from them?) But I loved him. From the moment I first met him. I knew this dog would teach me things. And he has.

Vito is a perfect example of what my priorities are. He is over 2 years old and has been to one trial, entered in one event, and he mostly trotted. I entered him for fun, to see what he would do. Ha! He is not likely to ever get near an agility ring again.

I had high hopes initially. After all he's a cross that you would think would be eager, fast, and willing. I did lots of "motivating games" with him- never asked him for more than he could give, and carted him everywhere with me in hopes of getting over the people issues. I think of myself as a pretty good dog trainer. He tested that theory. I did get him to the point where he would play with toys, he will happily chase a ball, he will even tug! (that's a whole post on it's own!) He learned handling foundation on the flat- front cross, rear cross, lead outs, etc. He learned how to race across the dogwalk like lightning (okay, maybe not that fast...) and he learned how to properly get his long body over a jump. But he learned all of this only because I asked. He never loved it. He never was truly excited and happy to train. Maybe it was something I did, or didn't do? Regardless I will not push the issue.

I love him to bits. He is my snuggler, my couch potato, and the dog most likely to be at my feet. (like right now) He is silly, and playful- and his sneaky little smile is the cutest thing. If you've ever got a Vito smile you'll know what I am talking about. But he is not a confident dog. I do not trust him around strangers although he can and does go out in public. He is just one of those dog who has a bubble that needs not to be broken. He tolerates other dogs very well, he has great little daycare buddies, but is as bossy as all get out- he has serious little man syndrome. But he likes to do tricks, and is a pretty good heeling dog. He is very operant, and is super smart. Maybe one day he will do Rally? Or maybe not? It doesn't really matter as beyond dog sports he is a great pet. And that is what is important to me. I will never be one of those people who give their dogs away to make room for a better, newer, faster model.

I won't lie though and say I never wished he would just turn "on" one day. When I see him running flat out, beating Wicca to the ball, turning on a dime, I am a little sad that I couldn't make him love agility. I think he would have been wonderful. But he has different ideas.
And that is okay by me.


Sarah said...

at the time you were dealing with kate and you made it very clear you would never have another dog with "issues" .... that is why i warned against it, alot. he is who he is, and i'm glad you love him that way!


a certain someone.

p.s. the record he "loped" not trotted in his gamble at the trial LOL

Paws on the Run said...

oh, don't get me wrong- i'm not saying you said anything I didn't already know! I knew he'd be trouble. But look how cute he is. And besides who else would have wanted a puppy who bites? :o)

he did break into a trot on the dogwalk three times...

amanda- not wendy :o)

Jen said...

I just wanted to say I loved both of your two recent posts about "real life". :)