I had a great conversation recently with some friends about the importance of having a dog who is a nice pet.
The breakdown of time I spend with my 8 month old dog for example is about this:
In a week:
That means that for 145 hours a week, she is just an inside pet that I expect to sleep, hang out, entertain herself quietly and not destroy my home.
This is also what I still invest most of my time into right now: no counter-surfing, no freaking out at the doorbell, lots and lots of quiet praise and the occasional cookie for laying quietly, for asking to be let out to pee, for choosing appropriate chew things (not my shoes…still working on that). Yesterday we had my son’s friend over for a playdate, she did not freak out at the sound of steps approaching the house, she did not jump up and after greeting in a sitting position she came and lied next to me in the kitchen. For me, this is a bigger success than any running contacts or handstands or whatnot I could teach her – I want a dog that is a joy to live with first and foremost.
The second most important topic for us is great skills on walks: check in frequently, don’t run out of sight, don’t chase wildlife. She is pretty much nailing most of that 🙂
My third priority are play skills. I want her to have a blast playing with me, to bring back toys, to tug hard and release quickly when I tell her to (not 5 seconds later in slow motion), to switch between treats and toys and play in different environments.
This leaves trick training, training other stuff and agility very much at the bottom of my list. Both time-wise and also interest-wise. I just don’t care as much about training artificial skills as long as the real life skills aren’t in place.