Some people are blessed with normal dogs. I have never been one of those people. My dogs have always been found or adopted because they had problems that no one else wanted to deal with. Through hard work and dedication they have all turned into wonderful loving dogs but none are what most people would call "normal".
Yesterday I put Phlox through what in my mind would prove that he is in fact one of those elusive "normal" dogs.
My sister, husband, son and I headed to the park to play some disk golf. Phlox of course tagged along.
We spent several hours throwing disks at ridiculously far targets while Phlox trotted along side us with his leash on the ground.
Other dogs passed by, balls and disks flew over head, bicycles zoomed past and there Phlox was by my side the entire time. If I chose to give a command he complied without hesitation. If I chose to ignore him he would check in every few seconds to make sure there wasn't anything I wanted him to do. An off leash border collie even ran up and stuck his nose in Phlox's butt with out so much as an annoyed glance by my little dog.
We then went and watched my son play on the playground with a number of other children. A few kids and parents came up to pet him but mostly he just sat calmly at my feet. No barking or whining he was just happy to be there.
The only downside to having a "normal" dog is that training is rather boring. No need to be creative or figure things out. The dog just learns, complies and is eager to please.
Later Phlox earned his Novice Trick Dog title (NTD). We decided to go ahead and just see what our dogs knew during our trainer class. Phlox knew almost every single one of the behaviors listed. My mom's Puglet Roxi and one of the other trainers dogs also earned theirs. It was a fun and lighthearted way to spend an hour. Violet and Charlie will get theirs next weekend.