One of these things is not like the others

Posted: April 3, 2012 in dog breed differences
flying border collie, stationary labradors

You get the idea.

Copper checks in with me while we’re hiking because I feed him. Jagger checks in because I’m the one who can throw the pine cones. And sticks. And leaves. And sweet gum seeds.

You can feed Copper things like cucumbers and he eats them with gusto. Jagger hides such things under the couch.

Copper likes to be right next to me. You can tell Jagger “go!” and he just goes. He has no idea where he’s going, but he’s going to get there really, really fast.

Jagger retrieves the ball because he’s learned that it’s the only way to get me to throw it again. Copper ‘trieves (one shot, no “re-“) the ball because he wants to hold it in his mouth. The last thing he wants to do is give it up so you’ll throw it far away.

Jagger bringing the ball

Mr. Overachiever offers to combine "retrive to hand" with "hug the object" behaviors.

Jagger gets a post-bath hug

Recovering from the bath-induced trauma

Copper loves water. He loves drinking it. He loves blowing bubbles in it. He loves lying down in it. He loves biting it when it comes out of a hose. He loves swimming in it. He even loves to retrieve objects from it, endlessly. Jagger thinks Copper is a freak.

Speaking of water, Copper was pretty cool with his first bath. He even fell asleep while I was drying him off.  I have fond memories. Jagger first attempted to flee in panic, and when that didn’t work he tried to bite me.  He finally settled into full out howling.  Fortunately, he did forgive me when I dried him off, but he wasn’t about to suffer the shame of being caught sleeping. I have teeth marks.

Copper needed moral support to go down the stairs for quite some time. He still has not mastered going up the sharp 90 degree turn on the stairs at my mother’s house with confidence. Within days of his arrival, Jagger started going down the stairs like this:

I should probably update my medical insurance for when we start working on his running dogwalk.

Jag getting a hug from "grandpa"

"I love Grandpa!" (extra amusing, since Izzy is *horrified* of my animal-loving father)

Last but not least, you might expect that my Labrador, America’s #1 family pet, would be the friendliest of my pack.  Well, not exactly.  Surprisingly, Copper is a bit of a one-woman dog.  He’s sociable and quite happy to greet people and get pets for a short period, but then he’s ready to move on.  It’s the rare person that finds Copper sitting by them for extended periods.  Jagger… let’s just say Jagger is definitely over his fear period and is back to living up to his name and loving on anyone.

Jagger and Eric

"I love Uncle Eric! ... with lasers." (My brother is kind of a cat person, and complained that Jagger was trying to make out with him. Yes, he really said that. Strangely, this is not the first time I've had this complaint about Jagger.)

  1. Scott Miller says:

    I’m your new blog stalker. Deal with it.

    1st of all. That’s Eric? Cute younger brother Eric? He’s all grown up and looks great!

    2ndly – thanks for reminding me that dogs have personalities. Going from Bartlett to Hiccup has been quite the change, especially considering i got Bartlett at 9-months, when much of his personality (and bad behaviors…) had already developed. I had to break some bad habits, and learn to live with others. Still, he was never a scaredy pooch… which Hiccup has been off and on.

    She got so skittish for a while, that I backed off almost completely from any sort of correction. It’s all about love love love and encouragement. Lately she’s gotten too big for her britches (bitch’s britches?) and has pushed the envelope too far. So correction has come back in, and she’s responding to it much better. She doesn’t hold a grudge or leave with a general fear of me (or Duane)… instead she picks up on the connection and doesn’t do the behavior that got the correction to begin with. She’s pretty sharp.

    Still not great on potty training. In Duane’s house, yes. Anywhere else, not so much.

    Bathing and nail trimming are not her favorite things, but she tolerates them well enough. Duane gives me the scary tasks, while he gets do to such awful things as lay down on the floor with her and kiss her endlessly. It’s a rough life.

    Last but not least: stairs. Hiccup wasn’t too thrilled with them at first and had to be carried up and down to go to the bathroom. But after one day of leaving her with my roommate Joe and his dog Maddie, stairs have been a non-issue. Whatever Joe did that day, he created a monster with no fear of stairs at all. I approve.

    Thanks for sharing, my dear. I don’t mean to make my reply all about Hiccup, but your posts are all about your dogs so why not share perspective? Hell, at least you have a follower. 😉

    Oh, and I’m high on Oxycodone right now, so please excuse any weird sentences.

    • jaggerpup says:

      Yes, my “little” brother is like 6’2″ and 30 years old now. He owns his own small computer game company. I still can’t believe it sometimes.

      I love hearing about Hiccup! This is all about comparing notes and observations about our dogs, anyway. One thing I noticed with getting Izzy at around 7 months was that she was pretty much house trained in a weekend. Copper caught on about #2 very quickly, but #1 took until he was like a year old to be truly reliable. Yes, he would hold it, but I didn’t get a lot of warning so I had to be really on the ball, especially if we were in a strange place (dogs don’t generalize well, after all!). Jagger seems to get #1, but #2 is proving to be a little more challenging for him. I don’t think he notices he has to poop until he REALLY HAS TO POOP. I have him on a schedule, which helps, but it’s not perfect.

      Personally, I don’t do much in the way of corrections. With small puppies especially, I prefer to redirect unwanted behaviors whenever possible. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but personally, I have come to feel that corrections don’t have any place in teaching a young dog what you expect from them. That is not to say I’m permissive; I do control my pup’s environment and I withhold or remove rewards as appropriate to shape his behavior. Full disclosure, I did use a fair number of corrections with Izzy, just a handful with Copper mostly when he was an adolescent, and almost none now with Jagger. I think of the available choices on the behavior modification quadrant (positive punishment, negative punishment, negative reinforcement, and positive reinforcement) I like the results I get in the long term much better when I use positive reinforcement (reward for a behavior) and negative punishment (removing access to something desired) as much as possible. Maybe I should do a blog post about how I started training with Izzy, and where that’s led me to now with training Jagger.

    • jaggerpup says:

      Oh, and Copper was really a wimp on the stairs when he was little. He managed to go up them pretty quickly, but down was a different story. I owe my friend Meg a lot of thanks for being the self-appointed “stairs bitch” that always made Copper work at going down the stairs by himself when she came over to let him out for me while I was at work.

  2. Scott Miller says:

    The generalization is when we have problems. In the main part of Duane’s house, Hiccup hasn’t had an issue in over a month. But if we let her roam in the basement, that place is fair game. We think there’s a decent amount of cat pee odor to confuse her. Then when we went to my house earlier this week, Hiccup squatted and peed right in front of me and Duane on separate occasions. I responded with a “no” then picked her up by her scruff and took her outside immediately. There was no hitting or pinning or anything like that – just startling her and relocating her to where she should have been. She was timid for a little bit, but quickly got back to normal.

    I think where we’ve been missing the mark with potty training has to do with us taking her out. She’s so good off leash, that we rarely take her out in the yard on-leash. When we do, she just sits by us and stares at us as opposed to looking for a place to go. Leash time is walk time, not potty time. I’m mostly Ok with that, but when we take Hiccup to stay with her “grandparents,” Duane’s mom doesn’t feel comfortable with Hiccup off-leash and they just stare at one another while sitting in the yard. Why do you have me out here, lady?

    For me corrections involve flipping Hiccup over and pinning her… but in the time we’ve had her I think I’ve only done that a handful of times. For the most part we reward behavior we like and ignore things we don’t. Well, at least I do. I’m still working on Duane to be consistent with things (like jumping up…). So it goes.

    I’ll have to consider the Negative Punishment angle when she gets overly hyper…

  3. Scott Miller says:

    As I was posting the above comment, Duane went down to the basement to get laundry and took Hiccup with him. She immediately wandered off and pooped in the corner. It’s hard not to be holier than thou, but I basically said “I don’t plan to ever take her down into the basement.” Hopefully he starts doing the same.

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