Her registered name will be Sprite-Fanfare’s Lyra. My husband named her.
Lyra likes to be held; she licks my face and is cuddly cute. She has a lovely expression. When you call to her she smiles right up at your eyes.
She handled the Portland airport as if it were her personal castle. That’s a big one for me….I want to spend my energy training rather than doing behavior modification. Obviously she’ll be well socialized, but for some dogs most of your time is spent building their confidence towards people, places and things. As far as those qualities go, she seems to be starting on the right foot.
Her toy drive is very good; she naturally retrieves most objects back to my lap and chews on them with me for company.
Her natural style for playing tug is also very good. She is quiet, comfortable and tenacious. She is easy to engage and clearly enjoys a good game. If I decide to train her for Schutzhund, she shows the calm, full bite that is desirable, and I will continue to develop that quality.
Lyra’s food drive is not pronounced. That does complicate aspects of puppy training, but I will work around it as needed. I wouldn’t be surprised if food drive increases naturally over the next few weeks. If not, I will play games to increase this interest.
She is comfortable moving away and exploring on her own, but also follows along nicely if I take her for a walk. She delights in personal interaction and is already showing a preference for me as her person.
I’d say I am very fortunate. Lyra is a charming puppy with a calm and stable nature, nice toy drive, and good balance between outward focus (curiosity and independence) and handler focus.
My job is to maintain that balance. To do so, I will start work on both “stability” and “choice” exercises, such as laid out in Leslie McDevitt’s “Control Unleashed” book. Lyra will learn to “look at that” and to “take a break”. At the same time, I’ll work on drive building, specific behaviors, and socialization.
She has started her training. Yesterday we took a walk in the woods together. Anytime she looked up at me I praised and played with her. If she also accidentally showed up on my left side in heel position, I clicked and treated her. I have started saying her name, waiting for eye contact, and click/treating that behavior along with copious praise and personal interaction. That was about 5% of our walking time. The rest was spent enjoying all of the fabulous things that are available to observe, smell and sample in the forest. I did the observing; she did the smelling and sampling.
If I clicked I offered a treat. Sometimes she took it and other times she declined, but either way I made sure to give lots and lots of praise.
We’re off to a fabulous start.