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September 25, 2020: Ryder’s Shadow

This is now our puppy’s full name. This is because she is our older dog Ryder’s shadow. They hang out together and stick close to one another when out for hikes. Ryder seems to have taken it upon herself to teach Shadow some manners, not an easy task. And though sometimes she seems like she’s rough, she’s never left any marks on her. Nor has she acted aggressive when Shadow has made overtures in the direction of her food bowl.

I don’t think that Ryder is saying what she’d said in the past, which is, “get rid of her,” but rather, “she appears to be here for the duration so I will make the best of it.” In time, they may become inseparable buddies. They aren’t there yet.


It’s easy to focus one’s love and attention on puppy newcomers. This is because they are cute and demanding simultaneously. Knowing this, I every so often take Ryder for walks by herself. She also has access to the upstairs and a brand new bed in the early evening while Shadow does not.

Yesterday was a red letter day for Shadow. We attended Puppy 1 graduation with her. One of the activities was a contest – the dogs were required to sit and stand for sixty seconds. The one with the most sits and stands was declared the winner. Shadow and Pete had at it – I was the counter. Shadow did 15, would have done more, Pete said, but she was attached to the wall cable and this hindered her movement.

It was no contest. None of the other dogs, that is either black lab, the little mop dog, the American bull terrier, even came close. The owners of the American Bull Terrier remarked that all the while, Hades watched Shadow with great interest.

For her efforts, Shadow won a tug toy.

We all also had to show a trick we’d taught our dogs. I was a bit concerned about this because I hadn’t taught Shadow much of anything. She did know touch the hand and also to weave through my legs – sort of. I have discovered that she picks up on what she’s taught very quick. And additionally, we have taken a very pragmatic approach to her training. Pete works on heel with her in the mornings when he takes her down to the road. There she poops. And we both work on recall when in the yard or on the trail. Recall, a dog’s coming to you, means that you have her or his attention. And having a dog’s attention is key to its learning what’s being taught.

This evening, before we went for a ride, I took Shadow back up to the house. On the way, she jumped up on the propane tank, the kindling box, and the picnic table. Then she hung out on the porch, at chest height. So she has the table command down.

I have this odd feeling that she’s going to do very well at agility. She is both bonded to us and at the same time is fearless. She also likes the challenges inherent to learning new things.

We’ll see. I think we are off to a good start with her.

Next: 266. 9/26/20: A Conversation with Tyra

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