Specifically, this one:
He is being hard work at the moment. It would be easy to start to worry that I have broken him. When I adopted him, he was such a good boy out on walks - he came when called, he walked willingly on the lead: when he didn't do as asked, it was because he had no idea what you wanted, not because he'd found something more entertaining to do.
And now, he has worked out that if he decides not to come back when I call, I can't possibly catch him, and that if he stands still as if rooted to the ground, he can spend aaages staring vacantly at things and generally being irritating. (I can pick him up and carry him, just about. But he is heavy!). And he's not interested enough in treats to be easily bribeable : half the time I can't even get him to lick liver paste (and he really likes liver paste!)
He was so good at walking nicely off lead to start with, that I probably let him have more freedom to race about than was really wise. Then he worked out that actually, he could take off to the horizon and nobody would stop him. This is not ideal even in areas where I have space for it to happen in reasonable safety. And he has been somewhat hyper - I'll take him for an hour-long or more offlead walk, and all he wants to do as soon as we get back is race madly around the garden (or, ideally, if he can find or make himself an unguarded exit, up and down the lane outside).
I am hoping that when Yogi goes home, it will be easier to get him to focus on me. At the moment, he is definitely focussing on her, because getting her to chase him in mad circles is FAR more fun than any boring old human being, no matter what amazing toy or treat the human being has to hand. Human beings are just too slow to be fun!
The lead walking is definitely harder with Yogi about. Normally I would start to trot along briskly if a dog was reluctant to walk, but if I do that with Yogi about, Brythen starts boinging about trying to get Yogi to chase him rather than running with slow me.
I should probably remind myself of the ways in which he has improved.
1) he is 100% housetrained. Even when we had all that rain, we had no problem with him wanting to pee indoors. This is a major achievement for a dog that had never lived in a house.
2) He does now know: come, sit, away (to your mat), stay/wait, down, and I think he's starting to finally get his head around 'bring your toy'. Admittedly, he does sometimes find it more entertaining to leap madly up and down shaking Benny the Banana around his head or playbowing at Suma Bungle. But I've been a bit lax with the practice lately. Must make a point of practicing more often. I've started doing sit-stay-come exercises on walks and am insisting he does them properly before he gets any offlead time, and I'm doing more practice in the house too.
3) it is about three weeks since he has chewed anything expensive. Yay!
4) He is getting *better* again about staying with me on walks again - much less likely to suddenly vanish and be visible quarter of a mile away ( I am lucky that I have quiet fenced places to walk where doing this is not a major problem!)
5) he can be calm if he wants to. When we had all that rain, we had days when he barely seemed to wake up and had to be encouraged ruthlessly to get him out of the door for even a relatively short walk.
6) he's got much more sensible around ponies. And goats.
7) His car-sickness has improved, and although it can still be a bit of a performance getting him to the car, once he is in front of it, he will jump in and stay there. And he does a nice 'wait' when I open the boot at the other end rather than flying out like a jack in the box.
8) he is very good about going in his crate. I stopped shutting the door on his crate when his house training was sorted, but I think I will start using it again for times when, actually, he HAS had enough exercise and playtime and food and a pee and needs to just calm down a bit and spend time with a chew or something. I did that this evening when he was insisting that the 2 and a half hours of walks he's had today, plus an hour in the garden and several play sessions, was *nothing like enough* and he did calm down pretty quickly at that point. He has been with us six months now, and I think there is still more to do in terms of building my bond and trust with him: that is bound to take time.
I am also still wondering just how old my Big Puppy is. Dogs have adult teeth at 7 months, and are usually more or less adult size at a year, but apparently can go on showing 'teenage' behaviour up to about 4 years. I *think* Big Puppy is a little taller than when I adopted him, and his coat has definitely changed. But the coat change could be seasonal moulting and living inside a house rather than the loss of puppy coat.
I'm kind of hoping that he is on the older side, as for one thing, that is less teenage dog stuff to work through, and for another thing, I am unlikely to see major changes in things like his relationship with other dogs and prey drive (both of which are as I want them!) if he is indeed more or less adult. But who knows.
Edited on 18th Sept to add: took Brythen to vet about mild colitis issues, and weighed him - he now weighs 27kg (up from 24kg at adoption) and looks all over bigger.