Things my dog knows

Training Wish has taught me about the huge difference between knowing a command and reliably obeying it. She can do some neat tricks in the house, but in the presence of a squirrel she forgets the word “sit.” So the following list of things Wish knows feels silly, since most of the work we’ve done has centered on soft skills like focusing and staying calm in scary situations. She has made an enormous amount of progress in staying focused and obedient around new people, cars, and distant or unfriendly dogs, but squirrels and nearby, friendly dogs are still challenges.

Things Wish knows, unless there’s a nearby squirrel or friendly dog

Basic obedience crucial for safety

I didn't tell her to do this. She just thinks she's a snake.

I’ve been delighted to see these skills carry over to agility class, despite the presence of strange people and dogs. She’s totally wild if I don’t tell her what to do – zooming around, hopping fences, and searching for food – but if I tell her what to do, she does it.

Trail running

Teaching Wish to run without pulling on the leash and stay close when off leash has been by far the most difficult thing to train.

Living in human society politely

Again, Wish is basically a wild tornado who will be polite as long as you tell her exactly how to do it.


Works in progress