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Love the video where Brae is not only following along in a heel but mimicking you in the tight turns. He is such a good boy waiting patiently for his chance to play with the toy.

Weather change in my area, too. We were just grumbling about how hot it was the past two days. Summer is breathing down our necks and will be in full force very soon -- too soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #282
Brae's almost 2 and a half! Crazy how time flies... Some photos from today:


Pre and Post holding out a ball. That neck really grows :D


The "throw the ball" face. If he knows I have a toy and we are next to any body of water, there is no cue I can give him that would prevent him from going a few feet then stopping and looking at me likes this.













In general, life is sweet. It still blows my mind that walking through the world with a dog could feel this easy. Granted, I think I've changed a lot too. A lot of Brae's busyness has rubbed off on me. There are behaviors I now find endearing that probably would have driven me mad years ago. The other day I was sitting on the floor, slightly leaning over to use my computer on the coffee table. Brae came over, cat-rubbed against my back, then sat on it - butt at an awkward angle but totally leaning into me. I didn't consciously notice but my partner did and said, "I think Brae's getting more clingy." I said "what do you mean?" and he said "do you see him right now?" What even is personal space anymore? :D Though he does have a good off switch if he gets told to go away. It's also still very strange having a dog that is not very food motivated. Don't get me wrong... chicken, cheese, and even dry biscuits are desirable! But food, in general, falls below play and social interaction. We were in a pretty heavily used area today and Brae was ahead of me, nosing something in the grass. From where I was it looked like a ball. I was actually encouraging him to "Get it!" and such. When I got closer, I realized it was an entire dinner roll. He casually left it when I told him to and was even happier that I tossed him a real ball instead. I think about Soro and how he would have swallowed that bread before I even knew it was there. Brae didn't even take a nibble, whereas I am sure he would gladly eat a piece of bread at home (I've given him plenty of bread). I even think his food motivation has dropped. He used to enjoy pork skin rolls. A couple months ago, he would ignore them until I 'played' with it with him, then finish once he got started. Now there's a pig roll on the floor that's been there for two days.

Overall, Brae is still everything I've ever wanted him to be. An all-purpose dog. He's doing a great as my demo dog in class. We still do a little bit of everything, activity-wise. He's gotten even more level-headed around dogs - he is still social and eager to meet but greetings are much more neutral and brief now, without any input from me. Though he would still happily play if another dog engaged him, and at daycare he is still not a great match for high arousal dogs because he will gladly get to that level too. But I trust him around dogs and it's no big deal when we are out and about. I trust him with people too, as he is still social with humans. A few days ago a toddler came up to pet him and Brae was so appropriately gentle. When there's nothing better to do than greet people, he will moan and whine and yip out of excitement when they first pet him. When there's anything else going on, like if we are on a walk, on a hike, training, or if there's a toy, he totally ignores people. He does have a protective side and does a very menacing warning bark and charge if people are at the door, but I've done nothing to discourage that and I've only seen it turn into excitement once he knows they're friends. And if it's not appropriate (ex. mailman needing a signature), I have him wait on his bed and he is calm while I deal with the doorway situation. Of course, the toy situation is still the same. Iron grip, and goes gaga for any toy. His drive to bite and play are insatiable.

Brae has set some pretty high standards. A year ago I thought, "I'm already so impressed and he could be the way he is now, forever, and I'd be thrilled." But somehow, he just keeps getting better and better in small ways. Or maybe I just appreciate him more and more every day. I don't know. I LOVE this dog.
 

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I cannot "like" this with a button because there is none. I know how you feel. I feel that way about my boy. He is about the same age and is suddenly "coming into his own." NEVER thought I would own such a NICE dog! HAPPY FOR YOU!! Enjoy the Ride!! :)
 

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l haven't had time to read all the way from the beginning yet; I'm saving that for when I have to dig myself out of a funk. ;)

I have appreciated your practical advice on other threads so it's nice to see someone I trust to be "sensible" obviously every bit as much in love with a 2 1/2 year old as I am with this goofy mutt puppy who came into my life last November so I could "rest on my Laurel(s)".

It still blows my mind that walking through the world with a dog could feel this easy.
I don't have your gift for the English language, so suffice it to say "me too".
 

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Discussion Starter #287
Thanks for your kind comments everyone! I'm glad to share the experience here. Honestly I thought it would turn out to be more serious, like here is my chronicle as a first time working dog owner and 'what am I getting myself into?!' but it has turned into a much more lighthearted journey than I imagined. :D
And of course, I am always happy to read all your updates too. How we all love our dogs in different lives and different ways.
 

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Discussion Starter #288
Hilarious. New experience today... I realized Brae has never seen a balloon. I brought some home and his reaction was... surprising yet unsurprising. Unsurprising because what he does is totally who he is. Surprising because knowing that, I've discouraged that kind of over arousal all of his life. He has NEVER reacted at me like this before and I did not encourage him at all. Yes he has jumped for a toy here and there. But 99% of the time he is intensely focused and driven for toys but steady and not losing his mind. Today he lost his mind.

While I blow the balloon:


Playing with balloon (he must of popped a dozen today):


Really, I don't mind. It is a very specific situation and I was very amused. If he reacted that way every time I pulled out a tennis ball, I'd work on it. And since I'm always trainer minded, I even have a clip of what it would look like to work on the over arousal. But it's much less interesting than clips of him going crazy :) But it just goes to show, I can train all I want but underneath it all this is who he is.


PS. His tail is wonky because he's been swimming a lot this week and he has limber tail. Clearly it doesn't hold him back...
 

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Discussion Starter #289
Some random photos and videos from this week.

Some pics from a hike with friends:










When he makes this face, it means he needs to take a break. They were playing well but Brae was doing some intense herding and barking.


It's nice to let him just be a dog sometimes. But training is always happening, of course. Because he can be intense if he was allowed to run up to any dog, he's really good at checking in with me first. Here's a compilation of some of the dog greetings on that hike. I had to call him once since that dog was a familiar dog and he was excited. But all strange dogs, he automatically came to me and waited for a release cue to greet. If I sense the dog is not a good fit, I don't let him greet.



Lastly, a short compilation video of Brae working on 3 different food toys. It's interesting how he's trained by the toy to work them in different ways. I love watching the very deliberate ways he gets the kibble out.
 

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Discussion Starter #291
We did a long day hike today. 18 miles, 8 hours. Unsurprisingly, Brae was perfect through it all. We traversed some pretty challenging terrain: three knee-deep creek crossings with water cold enough to numb my skin, two snow fields with steep grades, 3000 feet of elevation gain to reach an alpine lake that still had ice over it. No hesitation or signs of tiring from Brae. And overall, he was extremely responsive and trail savvy, as always.









 

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That sounds SO FUN and the pictures are absolutely gorgeous. I'm beyond jealous. Glad you guys had a nice hike!!
 

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Discussion Starter #294
Today was a fun day!

Brae got to try out dock diving - a pool is available once a year during the local fair and that's it! I predicted he would jump in to get the toy, but that he would have a problem with the ledge. I was right! I am certain that if we had access to a pool he would learn to love it and fly. But alas :) He still had a blast playing tug out of the water.


I love how stable this dog is. We waited about 15 minutes for our turn to play on the dock, with dogs all around, and he was chill (okay, he tried to grab the tug toy out of my hands a few times) and not disruptive to the other waiters at all. We walked around the fair through crowds of people, loud sounds, food, past a fence where he was 5' from a few cows, and he was just loose leash walking with a super casual wag and smile on his face.


Then he got to do his absolute favorite thing, which is play tug with some of my coworkers who are stronger than me and can put up a decent fight (Brae still 'won')
 

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will try back again.. slow messed up internet I can't get the pictures to display... "it's killing me" wantah see so bad the dock diving ones....
 

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Discussion Starter #297
The dock diving is NOT impressive, hahaa... As my friend put it, it's more like "dock flopping".
 

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The dock diving is NOT impressive, hahaa... As my friend put it, it's more like "dock flopping".
Kiran also dock flops.

Mostly because he tries to jump like he would for agility and that's just not right LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #299
Ha! More parallel lives craziness with the two boys.

Brae's very particular about jumping. He doesn't track things in the air; he just waits or expects them to land where they land. No strategy at all! And he's so athletic that I can have him do 180 flips predictably and continuously, but I am struggling to teach him to just hop straight up as a trick. Oh well :D
 
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