When the pups were just tiny trouble nuggets, I remember noticing Tenzing and thinking he was particularly smart. But I didn’t think about it again until the pups were about 6 months old, and I started teaching them to jump on their houses.
Now, these puppies have a TON of energy—remember, they’ll grow up to run 100 miles in a day—and sometimes that energy gets the best of them when they’re excited. That’s why one of the most important things we can teach them is to not jump on people for attention.
You may remember that my favorite animal behaviorist is Karen Pryor. She teaches that there are eight ways to extinguish an unwanted behavior. This is a good lesson that applies to a lot of things in life, so if you’re interested, here’s more info: https://www.clickertraining.com/node/290
One of the most effective methods is to train an incompatible behavior.
So, you want a sled dog to stop jumping on you? Teach them to jump on their house when they want attention! They can’t stand on their house and jump on you at the same time. You’re all happier, and the dogs get more attention—plus, they LIKE knowing what to do.
Anyway, when I started teaching the puppies to jump on their houses, they all learned at different speeds. Some of them forgot the method every time, at least for a while. Some of them jumped on their houses and then launched off them again. But Tenzing got it immediately.
During their last grandpa-grandson play date, Tenzing even got Hari to play chase.
My predictions for this boy?
Well, all the yearlings could end up being leaders. It depends on if they’re motivated to run in front of the team or if they prefer to chase. But this is a prediction, so I’ll just say it.
I think Tenzing will be a star lead dog.
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