Coming off the wedding in Minneapolis, we thought Monte was performing well. As Monte's evaluation approached last week, we noted that he still has a few behavioral issues that need work, but that may come with maturity. My concern is that our effervescent puppy may be starting too soon.
Everything seems to have unraveled the last few days. His behavior has been inconsistent: broken STAYs, fits of energy, barking, and general brain malfunctions. What could the problem be? I was so frustrated, that I was ready to turn him in to the trainer. However, after taking a few breaths and evaluating the situation, the problem might be me. I have not been well the last few days, so Monte wasn't getting his usual attention. I was the problem; unrealistic expectations and short on patience.
Last week, the trainer noted that Monte was very "aware" of the neighbor's lawnmower. Therefore, our walk this evening was a little longer than normal; we searched the village for lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, anything with a motor. When we returned home, I talked Lisa into hand feeding Monte outside as I mowed our lawn. Inside, he had to deal with the vacuum.
It has been my experience that an unstable or misbehaving dog is often a reflection of the handler. Much like a mirror, Monte takes in energy and immediately returns it to the sender. Note: this may not be a good trait for a guide dog. Tonight, we are working well again. We have been practicing STAYs while I roll and bounce his favorite toy - with perfect results. We are back in balance.