Kyber doing his best Risa impression.

Kyber bears a sometimes striking resemblance to my first dog, Risa. Both are seal in color. Premature greying struck them both. The similarities aren’t just physical, though. He reminds me of her in other ways as well. He’s pretty into training and has really snappy responses to cues. It’s frustrating at times to take him for a simple walk. Trying to avoid seeing dogs in our lives unless I’m prepared to deal with his meltdown is very similar to how I spent my first several years with Risa.

He is absolutely himself. I do not believe he’s Risa reincarnated nor am I painting him with the same brush as my heart dog. Kyber is his own, unique self. He simply presents with similar challenges.

And it’s frustrating. I’m not going to lie or sugar-coat it. (Not that I ever have on this blog.) I still find myself lamenting not having an easy dog AGAIN. How could I possibly be 3 for 3 on difficult dogs!?

But, if I’m being honest, there is no such thing as an easy dog. As I struggle to figure out Kyber and how to meet his needs so that we can enjoy our time together more, I’m reminding myself of that. They all have trade offs. Sure, maybe I could have a dog who is more easy-going about day-to-day life. But that type of dog is probably going to be a lot more challenging to train. The things that make Kyber a great sport dog make him more difficult in certain life situations. (I also have my suspicions that his unconventional puppyhood due to his broken leg probably is playing a part in his current behavioral difficulties. Plus he’s still a teenager!)

While Risa was my biggest challenge given she was my first dog who had significant behavioral problems, each dog is an opportunity to learn. What I learned through training and understanding Risa I applied to Kyu. But Kyu is his own dog with entirely different challenges and so he taught me more. What I learned through Risa and Kyu informs how I approach Kyber but, as previously stated, he is still an individual and neither a clone of Risa nor Kyu. Though I find he is a rather nice blend of both in most instances (except at least he has good health thus far!).

They all give me a new opportunity to learn and grow both as a dog trainer and as a person. While it might be nice to have my only challenge be learning a new sport, I still appreciate that these guys force me out of my comfort zone and help me to understand who they are, what they need, and how to best provide for them so that we can have a better system of communication and, ultimately, trust.

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
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