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We thought we were buying the slow, lazy one of the litter. Which, granted, wasn’t saying a ton considering his breed, but we thought it would balance out into a nice, slightly zippy middle ground. It turns out that he was the fattest puppy because he was beating everyone else to the food.

My first real experience training a dog was with our older dog, Emma, who was almost six when we bought her from the local shelter. Like most people, my knowledge of training came from things I’d absorbed throughout my life about dominance, pack dynamics, and being loud and intimidating. This approach went out the window when we discovered that we had accidentally turned her nervousness with other dogs into full-blown reactivity. Our training methods were teaching her that being nervous was the right thing to be feeling – she thought that seeing other dogs was scary, and we taught her that it was.

Our introduction to positive training methods helped me see dog behaviour from a fresh angle and I now employ them with both of our dogs. Waffles has had the benefit of these training methods from the day we got him and I can see the difference in his response levels and interactions with other dogs. He has spectacular recall, a good nose (har) for how other dogs feel about him, and is picking up on agility training very quickly.

He’s still a puppy, so he has his issues that will smooth out with both practice and age, but he has one thing that I just can’t seem to rid him of –

He eats everything.

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