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Since getting Echo I've been constantly comparing her to my other dog, Nevy. I was getting worried because Nevy knew more commands/tricks than Echo did at her age. Nevy picked up on focused heeling so much quicker. Nevy figured out her puzzle toys a lot faster.

The majority of Echo's training has been socializing. She has already had negative experiences with large, reactive dogs and she was a little shy to begin with. I was feeling like I was a slacker because Echo didn't know a variety of tricks or obedience commands already.

I know it's common sense, but it dawned on me a couple of days ago: Nevy and Echo are not the same dog. They each have different strengths and weaknesses, and varying training needs. So what if she needs LAT training and Nevy never did? The goal is to have a happy, well adjusted dog. The heeling and tricks and retrieving will come with time.

I've been training myself to recognize the positives in each dog, and adjust my training strategies for each. What works for Nevy may not for Echo. And that's okay.

Owning two dogs with very different personalities has challenged me as a trainer, but I'm beginning to recognize the learning opportunity and feel excited about it. :)

Have you ever been your worst enemy when it comes to training? What have been your personal challenges as a handler?

Off leash heeling and group sit-stay pics just because. ;)
 

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Yep, absolutely and especially because both of my dogs look alike. When I first got Phoenix, I thought she'd enjoy everything that Zoe did and that she would be just like her. I couldn't have been more wrong. That little dog taught me so much about dog behavior in a very short time. I had to re-learn everything with her and she taught me the true meaning of force free because when I got her we couldn't even touch her. She was traumatized and had survived a house fire. Three years later and she's still teaching me stuff but we've figured out how to be a great team. It's also interesting working with the two of them because they work in different ways. It's been a fun journey!
 

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What a thoughful and profound post! :)

I have trained my own dogs and I'm not brilliant at it. I'm not good at timing, don't know my left from my right, etc yet despite this they still managed to get what I'm trying to teach them .
I think its important that if your dog doesn't get what you are trying to teach him or her, to take a look at what you are doing and if you can improve in any way.
 

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I've actually been trying to type out a very similar post for a few weeks now (I start typing then can't find the right words and then delete it all out of frustration).

I have two dogs, Callie and Pip.
Now Callie is a border collie mix, she will be 2 in October. Before I got Pip, I was forever comparing Callie to other peoples dogs. Callie isn't a fan of other dogs (not reactive really, she will happily avoid/ignore them) and I struggled with that for a long time. It took me a very long time to accept that she isn't and probably never will be a social butterfly, it's only been in the last few months that I've accepted it and taken real pride in the times when she does get along beautifully with another dog.
Then I got Pip. She's a 4 month old JRT. Callie was a breeze when it came to basic training like putting on collars/harnesses, claw trimming and general tricks/training however Pip is the total opposite and puts up a fight every time I need to put a harness on or trim her claws. I've been working so hard on getting her ok with having a collar put on, trimming claws, recall and impulse control that I haven't even started on anything else really. On the plus side? She is total social butterfly, loves everyone!

Two dogs, total opposites!
 
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Lol this is actually why I'm slightly dreading getting another border collie. I'm terrified that it won't be like Tigger. At all. I absolutely adore this dog and I'm 99% certain that a lot of what I love about him is a part of the breed. I've met plenty of other border collies that have similar tendencies and habits from those breed traits. I don't want or expect a second BC to basically be his clone....I want my next to have it's own personality and be different from him. It's silly. I'm not sure why I'm worried about a border collie not acting like a border collie lol.
 

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I have a feeling that my next dog is going to be MUCH more difficult than my current dog ever was. Mainly because my current dog has been remarkably easy in every way since puppyhood and the breed I'm getting next is notoriously somewhat difficult, especially wild as puppies. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm feeling slightly intimidated too. I have a year+ to prepare though, so that's what I'll be doing.
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Katie and Tyson are so very different it's hard to believe they're the same breed.

Katie is friendly, outgoing, confident, fast, generally mannerly, eager to work and learn, easily frustrated, and a slave to routine. I'm pretty sure if she had been placed with a more experienced owner, she could successfully compete in any performance sport. Unfortunately, she's stuck with me.

Tyson is lovey with people he knows, frightened of strangers and other dogs, opportunistic, kinda dopey (in the cutest way), eager to work and learn, not as easily frustrated, and generally easy going. I plan to talk to our vet about meds for his fearfulness next week. I'm really curious what he would be like without the nervousness.

As far as training them... For Katie, I need to have very clear criteria that she can reach easily. Shaping tends to be challenging for both of us, but I'm getting better at breaking behaviors into smaller and smaller tasks and noticing tiny movements. Tyson is easier as he will offer everything and the kitchen sink. My difficulty with him is making sure he feels safe. And "stay" he has a hard time not following me.

@laceyj19, I get what you're saying. I do different things with each dog based on what they need. I've been taking more classes with Tyson and doing more outings with him because he needs that. I still feel guilty, but remind myself that the goal is "happy, well-adjusted dog." :)
 

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I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels like this! I was worried I was being too hard on Echo- and that maybe I wasn't bonding with her like I did Nevy. But I think it's part of human nature to compare and contrast things.

Thanks so much for sharing all of your experiences. <3
 

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I am very very nervous to pick up my puppy. Levi was a very easy dog, and I'm worried he has given me a false-sense of confidence. Hopefully I'm not getting in over my head.

I think it speaks very highly of your prowess as a trainer to recognize that and adjust your training. Those are two adorable, lucky pups! :D
 

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Absolutely! I am my own worst enemy in MANY different aspects of training.

When Roxie was a baby I had a LOT more time to train her. I was working as a trainer and she was coming with me to work at least 3 times a week from pretty much the day I found her at 7-8 weeks old til I quit when she was 1 year and a half. Also she went through some things like dogs running up into her face constantly that have stuck with her to this day. I feel like I expect a lot out of her and sometimes have to remind myself that I don't work with her 1 on 1 as much as I use to or should. I can't expect her to be on point like she was back then. Then in agility I have to teach myself to get out of my own way. I had an ah ha moment one class where I realized my attitude was what was bringing BOTH of us down. If I don't make it positive for both of us, not only will I get down on myself and blow things that I know, but so will Roxie. That moment came after a class that I ended in tears because of how far she had regressed. I was ready to throw in the towel. I'm SO glad I didn't!

Forbes is a COMPLETELY different dog then Roxie. He WANTS to please. He is a sponge. But he is also very emotional, and if I don't keep it upbeat, he becomes defeated FAST. I really wish I had more time (and money for classes at this point) as I feel like this dog could do ANYTHING.
 

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Forbes is a COMPLETELY different dog then Roxie. He WANTS to please. He is a sponge. But he is also very emotional, and if I don't keep it upbeat, he becomes defeated FAST.
This is Levi to the letter. As soon as I start to get the least bit frustrated, and my demeanor/body language changes, I see it in his face. He doesn't know what to do, and then I feel terrible.
 
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