Benjamin talks about ...
Golda the Adolescent!
Benjamin talks about        

Benjy shares some of his experiences and insights into a
"sister" who is catching up with him!


Golda is now six months old. This is the equivalent of a human teenager. And, like all teenagers, she is experimenting with various personalities. One of these personas is Guard Dog. She is hyper-alert and very suspicious of everything new and different. This is mostly just part of her growing up. She is learning for herself so much and so quickly that she thinks she knows everything. Like I said, she's a teenager.


As well as hyper-alert, she is also hyper-intelligent and hyper-active, at least for a Chow. She is always trying to figure out and learn new things, even when it means putting her nose in the way of bee stings. All by herself she has developed the habit of sitting before receiving her food. But she is also a digger and she can look quite fierce with a face full of dirt!


I have been training her to do things among which is to walk on the lead. We recently had the chance to test that at a dog show. It paid off. She showed fantastically on the lead, but when it came time to show her teeth she backed off. Chows are extremely head shy. They hate being approached from above, even by the people they love. She allows me to do pretty much anything I like with her because of the trust we have, but she needs to learn to accept approaches from others as well.


Training has to be kept light and fun and I can't be too harsh on her when she doesn't do exactly what I want. Lots of praise is required and I have to keep it interesting, fresh and fun because she gets bored really quickly. She is a very fussy eater and she resists bribery so food rewards are ineffective in the long run. What she will work for are the more intangible things such as praise, or even over-the-top applause.


But training is not just about learning tricks.  You have to socialize your dog with people, dogs, and new places. Golda has had lots of people visitors since she was little, as well as a few dog visitors such as her “boyfriend”, Hercules. She has also played with lots of other dogs, but Hercules is closest to her in age, and he adores her completely.


Environment socializing is important to build confidence so your dog doesn’t flip out everytime you go somewhere new. We keep taking Golda to new and exciting places. We often go to the beach and to the forest so she can explore and meet other dogs and people. The dog show was also good for her to learn to be controlled and well-behaved in new places too.


Recently we went on a long trip for a weekend. This was the first time Golda has been away from home overnight, her first time away from her mother, and her longest car trip. The car trip worked well even though she still gets car sick. Sitting on my lap seems to help and she managed to get all the way there without incident. On the way back she did get sick just after we started the journey, but that was probably because she had a tummy full of sea water.


When we came back her relationship with her mother had changed. She is no longer treated like a baby in the family. Which is just as well, because Mia has just had puppies again. While Mia was in labour on one side of the door, Golda brought her giraffe and lay on the other side waiting for her mom. She wants to know what’s going on and she wants to meet the squeaky new creatures. But not yet because they’re still too young.


Written by Benjamin Munro in December 2012.

"Golda is one of the most intelligent dogs I have ever met and it is a real pleasure to live and work with her. She grasps new concepts so quickly she seems to be reading my mind. I am learning a lot from training her as she seems to already know what to do and I just have to figure out how to ask her to do it."

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