Meet Walnut, a 1 year old Havanese Mix and our Wag The Dog of the Month!
Walnut’s eagerness to learn and his family’s willingness to keep raising their goals for him higher and higher have more than earned him a feature on our website. Check out how far this young dog has come in the past 9 months…
Walnut came to Wag The Dog as a 4 month old puppy with a tendency to nip, snap, pull on the leash, and steal the family socks. He woke his family up at 6 am with his ear-piercing yips… even on a Sunday. He ran away when called, bit people on the bum, and basically acted like, well… an untrained puppy!
Although he was in group puppy classes, Walnut’s family wanted a private trainer who would come to the home and work with all of them at once. They knew that consistency was the key to dealing with Walnut’s puppyish antics, and they knew they needed more personal attention than a group instructor could give them.
I was the lucky trainer who got to add Walnut’s family to her client roster.
I discovered that Walnut was an intelligent and high-energy pup who would need a lot of help to reach his full potential. Thankfully, his family rose to that challenge, following my every recommendation to the letter, and making me laugh at every session with their great humour and lofty goals. They even fed me brownies, which was a great way to positively reinforce the trainer!
The teens, Tristan and Noelle, are especially dedicated to working with Walnut, and he loves playing trick games with his brother and sister! Lori and Wayne, meanwhile, are delighted that their kids have become so involved in Walnut’s care and training.
Within a couple of months Walnut went from a bum-biting mischief-maker to an eager-to-please trick dog.. who still occasionally thinks up new mischief.
His family chose to keep working with Wag The Dog long after he graduated from his puppy sessions because their dreams for Walnut just keep getting bigger, and that’s what Wag The Dog is all about: dreaming big.
Not only can Walnut at one year old come, heel, sit, lie down, walk on a loose leash, and play dead, but he can dance on his hind legs, walk backwards on his hind legs, walk backwards on all fours, close cupboard doors, go to his bed on command, wait at doorways, target a hand, jump a hurdle, retrieve a dropped set of keys, and (perhaps most impressive of all) do a “leave it” with a giant, tempting cookie placed right in front of him!
He is currently working on doing a handstand, and practising a formal “say hello” so that he can become a therapy dog.
Thank you, Wayne, Lori, Noelle and Tristan (their initials are W-L-N-T, Walnut, isn’t that awesome?) for being the kind of clients that Amelia and I adore, and for giving me the privilege of working with Walnut. I can’t wait to see what he’ll achieve in the next year! Maybe he can start cooking for you, or helping the kids with their homework…
-Carol Millman, B.Sc., RAHT has a science degree in Psychology, a diploma in Animal Health Technology, and years of professional dog training experience. She trains in Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster and surrounding regions.