Last night, Kaline had a big milestone! And damn, I wish I had video of it. Juno had just opened the fridge for me—there is actually a rope toy looped onto the door handle for this purpose. As always, Kaline had watched intently. Sometimes he'll mouth the toy, but that's as far as it's gone.
But last night, once the door had closed, Kaline took the knot in his jaws and just started tugging away! The whole family were in the kitchen, so all of us were just cheering him on. He had a hard time, because he is wee and also because he was pulling from a bad angle, but he kept on going, and eventually he got the door open! We all made a huge fuss over him.
I was really impressed not just with the physical aspect of it—I didn't think he was strong enough to open the door—but with the fact that Kaline learned all of this just from watching Juno. I never did any work with him on opening the fridge. Sometimes I'd verbally praise him for mouthing the rope, but nothing more. No treats, no focused attention, nothing!
Juno is a very good teacher, and Kaline is one smart, observant little boy!
Some notes ...
Operation Peace & Quiet Update: Kaline went on a lot more timeouts than Juno last night—they swapped. I didn't really keep count, although at one point Kaline was in and out three times in about three minutes. It really seems to be working—the barking has decreased markedly, even when Kaline doesn't have his pressed rawhide or a bully stick.
Training in the Park: Juno did bar jump, instead of flyball jumping, and did her usual 26 inches, woohoo. She also did fabulously on heeling figure eights. Usually this is a problem for us, as Juno is a chronic lagger on the outside turns. We watched Kristin and Ben go first (a very tough act to follow), and when it was our turn, I tried to position my free hand (left) and the hand holding the shark line (right) just like Kristin had. And Juno did much better than normal! It was very exciting to have her actually watching while she was heeling and staying exactly where she was supposed to be.
Kaline also got to work on some heeling, though not figure eights, more up and back along a line of dogs doing down-stays. We did lots of left turns and left-about turns. Kaline actually does okay at left-about turns because he doesn't really have the automatic sit yet. Most dogs have issues learning that because they sit right in the middle of it, but not Kaline. Yay.
Kaline's Neck: Freddie agrees that the flat collar is probably the culprit. The head collar was only a so-so solution for pack walking, unfortunately. So Kaline may just end up going collar-less as much as possible, and wearing the prong collar for walks and training only. For walks he'll have to wear the super-soft flat as well, just in case. No prong when he's tethered, either. (Obviously he'd never be tethered using the prong, but usually we leave those collars on just for convenience. Dogs are always tethered on their flats.) Hopefully that will help. I remember having tons of issues getting Angel's hair to grow and stay nice on the front of her neck too ... sigh.
Pet Peeve: Between yesterday and today, I had to explain to people that there is no such thing as a Miniature Doberman Pinscher, and neither is there such a thing as a King (sometimes called Warlock) Doberman. Miniature Pinschers (note the absence of "Doberman"!) may look similar, but they are an unrelated breed. The woman who believed they were actually miniature Dobes had MinPins. I guess I have unrealistic expectations that if something is your breed of choice, you actually know something about it. Silly me. Oh yeah, she doublechecked with me if Kaline was in fact a miniature Doberman. Did ya look at his feet?
King or Warlock Dobermans are simply irresponsibly bred Dobermans, bred to be oversize on purpose. Anyone who breeds for large size (i.e. above the breed standard) is not a reputable breeder. Dobermans should be medium sized, athletic, graceful, elegant dogs, not lumbering hulks. In case anyone is reading this and thinking about looking for a puppy: When researching, if a breeder's site says they breed King, Warlock, or extra-large Dobermans, or they brag about how big their dogs are, run away.
Ending on a Positive Note: Kaline's being cuddly on the couch right now. Excellent. He's also started a new habit of being very chilled out in his crate in the morning. He usually wakes up when I do, but stays all curled up. So instead of rushing him outside in my pajamas, I can shower and actually get dressed, and then he's ready to go out for his first potty break of the day. Fantastic development from my point of view.
Also super cute—when my mom went to put Kaline to bed last night (I was out with Juno on her last potty break), he jumped up, put his paws on top of his crate, got his new rope-dog that I'd left there, then trotted right inside. Awwwww.