Young Kygo has been with us for just over a fortnight and what a woofing, wonderful whirlwind it has been! Prior to Kygo coming home, we had a fair few doggies through the doors of our Nero B&B so I had plenty of practice establishing the common house rules and boundaries. Addressing different breeds with various personalities really sharpened my training skills and gave me a fresh challenge to practice what I preach!
Kygo has just turned five months old, looks set to become a very large Shepherd (following in his predecessor’s pawprints) and possesses a food drive that rivals my own.
He was adopted at my favourite shelter DOA, the largest rescue centre in The Netherlands which is located in Amsterdam. Considering I was contacted by the same lovely lady that took care of Nero and who interviewed me for his adoption all that time ago (shout out to Renee,) Kygo’s arrival truly feels like doggy destiny.
Toilet training was a breeze with Kygo. By day three he was pawing once at the back door to go out, doing his business and rushing back in for a treat. Then, the cheeky woof figured he could paw the door, pretend to go potty and come back in for his reward. Admittedly, it took me a couple of ‘freebie’ repetitions to catch on and realise his scheme. He still tries his luck occasionally, but those puppy eyes no longer work their magic. I’m not cold hearted, just true to my training beliefs to not over-humanise the dog. Kygo is always rewarded handsomely when he does a wee-wee in the garden, so much in fact that he prefers not to relieve himself on our walks…. work in progress, it’s only been a couple of weeks.
The night time schedule was also set swiftly. Kygo sleeps solo downstairs in his bed. The first few nights consisted of the expected pup whining, but we stuck to our guns of ‘no dogs upstairs’ and he now settles with ease. We decided not to crate train – even though we have one, we prefer to have our dogs roam free. Potentially sacrificing the sofa was a risk I was willing to take (also a very good excuse to convince my other half to buy a new, better one if Kygo ate it) but he left it well alone. Of course, I will desensitise him to being familiar with a crate and enclosed space as I believe this is a must for any dog, but that will come in time. There are so many more things I want to focus on such as loose leash walking, trick training, basic obedience and of course, social skills and exposure to various environments and most importantly, other dogs.
Kygo’s character is typical of a herder breed. Alert, incredibly intelligent and inquisitive, he loves to play chase with other dogs and tug with humans. What is NOT so typical of his breed is his lack of interest in the ball. I always tell my clients that to train your dog, you need to first figure out their currency. How do they want to be paid for working? For my dear Nero (and any Shepherd for that matter), it was always the ball. Ball is life. Ball before biscuits. Not Kygo. Kygo’s kryptonite is food. Regular kibble, ham, treats, ice cubes – you name it, if he can eat it he will work for it. Perhaps this will change as he matures but either way, he loves to train and put his mind to work!
Kygo’s love for food made the photoshoot we had earlier this week much smoother! Kygo and I were lucky enough to pose in front of the camera that resulted in these precious photos. The awesome duo that make up Paw5 Dog Photography really have a way with woofers and I cannot recommend them highly enough! Patient, kind and professional, they made sure the entire experience was relaxed, fun and that I got the shots I wanted! (Side note – DID YOU SEE MY GSD SLOGAN JUMPER?)
Let’s talk teeth. The sharp little needles that are those of a teething German Shepherd are a force to be reckoned with. His bite inhibition is improving, but he has only just began losing his baby teeth. We’re bracing ourselves for the increased alligator antics that are inevitably on the horizon. You don’t just get indents or scrapes, you get bruises!
Poop eating. The sheer sickening thought of it is enough to make me heave. And then there is the sudden realisation that someone didn’t tread poop into your house, oh no, that horrible smell is your puppy’s breath! But hey, he’s a puppy and pups do that. However, I still see this issue as a perfect reason to begin muzzle training. My plan was to introduce the muzzle at a later stage but since he like to track down little brown nuggets when out on the field, I think this may be a good reason to start sooner.
We’ve got plenty of awesome adventures ahead with Kygo. This pup is the new ambassador for Nero Dog Training and I will use all of the lessons Nero taught me to ensure Kygo matures into a calm, confident, happy dog that can be taken anywhere! Once his exercise limits can be increased we will start public transport training and city exploring in Amsterdam and Haarlem. We’ve already began the packwalks and photo shoots and he is excelling in every aspect of his training programme so far!
I plan to post regular updates and training videos on my social media accounts, so make sure to keep tabs on the NDT Facebook page and Instagram page!