Lyra - Pet or Competition dog?

Yesterday I spent the day in San Diego teaching.  Lyra was left in the care of my husband for twenty-four hours. I wasn't worried; he's really taken to Lyra, and goes out of his way to take her places and to spend time with her.

That did not take away from my shock when I came home last night.  My husband took a piece of cheese out of the refrigerator, called Lyra with a cheerful "come come come" command and then used the cheese to help her into a rock back sit (sit, sit, sit), roughly in "front" position.  He then gave her the cookie, handed out copious praise, and let me know that she had already learned to offer that sit in front instead of jumping on him.

This was a moment I had not yet considered.  No one in my house has ever shown any interest in "training" my dogs.  They use commands to get them to do things (come, go, stay, etc.) to make it easier to live with them, but this was Training.

In exactly five seconds, I needed to formulate a response.

My family has never shown any real interest in the dogs.  They like them most of the time, but let's face it; sometimes it's hard to live in a house with dogs that slavishly worship one person.  If I stand up, they stand up.  If I walk through the house, they walk through with me.  It is not peaceful when the dogs think we are going to do something interesting.  It is....lively.  For the most part, my family just tries to stay out of the way.

My husband has taken to Lyra.  He really likes her, like he hasn't liked any of my dogs since our first Belgian fifteen years ago.   I think he wants a doggy buddy, and Lyra fits the bill.  She's calm, good natured, and isn't always biting.  She listens when you tell her to stop doing things.  She's loving and affectionate.

So I guess it's natural that he wants to teach his pet dog a few things, and he's watched me train enough dogs over the years that he has a rudimentary grasp on the basics.

So, as I watched him train Lrya....I said nothing.  My heart beat a little faster, but her quality of life will be infinity richer if she is loved by more people than just me. Someday I'll teach a new command to mean "sit here in front and be dead straight with your toes two inches from mine".  And it will be ok.  In exchange, she can be a family pet.

Admitedly I hoped he'd lose interest quickly in training, but this morning as I lay in bed, I heard "sit, sit!" coming from the kitchen.


Linda b

Hilarious!! Thanks for reposting!!


I do the training in our house, too. My husband loves the dogs but doesn’t really train. However, it’s interesting because our Border Collies like him more than they like me. One of the BCs is his hiking companion and his dog, I don’t work that BC at all. The other, though, Chase, I have trained in agility, obedience and flyball. But Chase still likes my husband better.

I don’t mind at all. I’m actually glad that Chase likes my husband. I have the other dogs that tend to prefer me over him. So it’s a nice balance. ;)


Reblogged this on Denise Fenzi and commented:

She did learn to sit straight, and my husband continues to adore Lyra. My choice was a good one.


All I can say is “Yay for you!” I think it is great that you are allowing him to have his thing with Lyra. It is very easy for me to connect with a dog, I could easily take home at least 1/2 of the dogs in my group classes every session and could easily keep 1/2 of the rescues that I foster, but for some people connecting with a dog is difficult. I think it could be easy for your husband to resent the dogs (and maybe you) if he wasn’t allowed to do things with them, even if it is not so great training. I do not train my dogs for the level of competition that you do, but my husband does things I wouldn’t do either (like feed my ACD from his fork from the table!!), but whatever, it makes him happy, it makes him tolerant about my dogs and it makes my dogs love him. Your choice was so excellent:)

Madeline Gabriel

This is another situation I’ll be facing with our new puppy in February so it’s nice to get a sneak peek from what you are sharing. The dogs all end up being “my” dog and joining the parade of following me from room to room.

I really, really don’t want that with our next dog. This next dog is supposed to be a “family dog.” Our current dog is turning 15 (hopefully!) in a few months and our other dog is inherited at 13 from my father-in-law so my kids have yet to experience a dog that really wants to do things with them.

I’m prepping myself for life with a dog that’s really “bad” but in a good, part of the family kind of way. My sons are 7 and 10 so we are looking at a dog to be a good fit with them through the teenage years. We chose a Flat Coated Retriever after a LOT of discussion and consideration. I’m hoping we end up with a dog that’s smart and interested in what I want to do, but equally happy and wiling to go along with someone doing it “wrong.”

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