I now live in a house with two gold dogs - Kennel Club Good Citizen gold dogs that is. Buddy passed his last year, and Star has passed hers tonight. I am so proud of my daughter and her dog, and it's been fascinating for me to see them train together.
Buddy being a Labrador is highly motivated by food. He does have the will to please, but treats have to come into it somewhere! Star on the other hand being a Bichon Frise is not so interested in food. She frequently disdains mere dog food, chops and changes which treats she will accept, and is only really keen on human food, preferably straight off our plates. (I don't mean we feed her off our plates while we eat, but she adores leftovers!)
She has worked for Jenny so well, and her best reward is to be allowed to lick her "Mom's" chin. To see her trotting along beside her person, head tilted back, ears flapping, awaiting the next command has been brilliant. It took me a long time to understand how sharp a brain that fluffy body housed, but now I truly do appreciate that. Other small dogs we have in future will be treated accordingly right from the start!
In two weeks time Jenny and Star will be joining Buddy and me in the advanced class. I'm looking forward to this, though I have a funny feeling they're going to end up doing better than us. The trick of training is understanding that it isn't about doing better than anyone else; it's about doing better than you've done before. It's about building your relationship with your dog, trying new things, learning. And it should of course be about having fun too. So if Jenny and Star do surpass Buddy and me I'll be cheering them on all the way. I don't know how Buddy will take it though!