Blog server seems to have a bad day... here is the correct version of Seeing the light part II

After a good night sleep - some thoughts about the story that was written below. In 'London' this time for a change.

Yesterday I had a chance to witness Solo's second agility training session, and that little girl just blew my mind away! It is simply astonishing how Solo (and apparently Lego too) can concentrate in such a situation with such mental pressure on. There were other dogs barking (training agility too in the same hall where we were), lot's of noises and so on... and still - Solo had 100% concentration on Elina, and what Elina was asking her to do. For me, this is amazing! If I'd tried that with Nemo or Kino, they wouldn't accept any treats or anything - and their full concentration would had gone to other dogs mainly. They are a real challenge to motivate in such situations.

But what's behind Solo's behavior?

1) Master's interests?
Solo and Lego are Elina's dogs - and Kino & Nemo are mine... emotionally that is.
Elina is a person who challenges the dog's all the time. When walking, she trains them (obedience, social behavior and so on).. when at home, she grooms them, trains them and so. There is a rock solid bond between those 3 girls. Me - well.. lazy bastard? I try to remember to train Nemo and Kino, at least as much that they behave like normal dogs - so some obedience, some tricks, mainly just contact - when we remember to do that. So there is a bond, but the group of 3 is more like 3 individuals... as our girls are a group. Of course this is a male/female thing also.

2) Genes?
Looking at Mary (Lego's and Solo's mom), what I've learnt to know her - she is mentally very strong bitch. When seen her in show ring, she always just concentrates on Lene, and doesn't too much pay attention to anything else. And.. when thinking of it.. so does Frederik with even stronger concentration. Thus there is no question about where the mental stability comes from, at least with Lego. But how about Solo? She seems to be even better in concentrating to things as Lego is. Different dad, same mom - legacy is inevitable! Also - watching Waldo proves this to be true. It is our best luck, that Mary (and Frederik and Hermann of course) can give such a great heritage to her puppies.

Genes are strong guess also, because at least what we have heard - Solo's dad, Hermann, is also absolutely in love with agility. So 1+1 = 2 in this case.

3) Learning by watching?
Why Solo seems to even beat Lego? Solo has only seen Lego doing obedience training. Solo knows by this, that it's a thing of following Elina - and getting treats & goodies when you do a good job. Solo hasn't seen our boys in such a training, and she hasn't learnt that one could also yell/scream/bark/twist&shout in such occasions. Perhaps this is why Solo seems to be so solid case. Let's just hope we don't mess it up later when we train her :)

4) Solo is Solo?
Solo has grown up in a very strict school - as a puppy that is. Her mother, and other dogs in Danscan's taught her strict and well. She learnt to be so humble that it amazes us over and over again. Does this have something to do with her ability to concentrate & learn? Most probably yes. She can handle the pressure put to her, her mind just doesn't "lock up" in a tough situation.

xx) Doing what's required vs doing what you want to do? A bonus question..
There is intriguing phenomena in our dogs. Both males are willing to do what's asked from them. Kino and Nemo both obey strict orders quite well - i.e.. they respond to authority. But - when they are required (in a happy - happy way :D) to obey in obedience training, they get fed up very quickly. You can see the middle finger immediately when they notice that what they are doing, isn't something which is fun - but it's something I'm expecting from them. And the training session usually ends there. Lego and Solo then... hah! If Lego barks, and no matter how much weight do I put on my "silent!" command, she still says the last word - barks quietly once again. Solo is the same. If one tells them (with a strict voice) to do something, the response is visible total surrender - without doing what's asked. They do anything but what's asked from them... there isn't more humble dog than these two at that moment, but they will not do what's asked. And... take them to training field, and they have a completely different attitude. So.. Boys take orders, but don't want to co-operate in training.. Girls don't take orders, but will co-operate. Go figure??

Well... Enough praising our little princess. Amazing little girl, and we just hope that WE don't mess her growth up. She has it all, it's up to us to bring it up and not to spoil it :)

- marko -

ps. This blog has been just Solo this and Solo that for a while.. Don't let that fool you. Solo also has her tricks & twists. Kino&Nemo have also their strong areas - perhaps we'll get back to those a bit later...