Brandy is a 5-year-old pitador (Lab-Pit mix) living in Elmhurst with her family. Lucas, a Shpsky (German Shepherd-Husky mix), is also 5 and also lives in Elmhurst. They are strikingly different looking dogs, though both are very attractive. But, the real difference has less to do with their physical appearance; the real difference is in their behavior.
Both are loved by their families. Both came to their respective homes as young puppies. They came into houses that were prepared for their arrival. Both puppies were provided with beds, toys, collars and leashes, food and water bowls and their local dog tags. Knowing how puppies can be, their families also moved things the puppies might chew out of reach. The puppies moved into idyllic situations.
Both had fenced backyards where they were set loose to play and, of course, to do their business. Still, as puppies will, both had ‘accidents’ inside. This is where the difference between Brandy and Lucas really began to show. These weren’t inherent differences; they were differences of environment.
In both cases, the puppies had joined busy families. But, while Brandy’s family tried an ad-hoc form of dog training, which was, and is, a reactive approach that is based on scolding when Brandy does something wrong, Lucas’s family signed their puppy up for dog training with a professional. They even left Lucas at the kennel where the dog training was initiated.
It’s called Board & Train and it involves a crash course and good-dog behavior training. Lucas learned a lot. One thing he learned is that dog training is fun.
Brandy learned, too. She learned that she should feel guilty sometimes, though she wasn’t always sure why. She learned that, though her family loves her, from time to time, they get mad at her. She learned that she’s usually on her own. This probably explains why she tries to sneak people food off the table when her family isn’t looking. She knows they’ll yell at her if they catch her but, when you’re looking out for yourself, you do what you have to do.
Lucas learned that members of the family love taking him along for walks. He bounces along happily beside them on the walks always right beside them, the way he was trained to do. Frequently, he looks up at his family member with an adoring smile of appreciation.
Brandy doesn’t go for a lot of walks. On those few occasions when she does, she pulls constantly on the leash. She’s ready to run off and investigate everything going on in Elmhurst that day – every neighbor working in the yard, every rabbit under a hedge and every child playing across the street. The experience, for Brandy’s family, is frustrating, which explains why they don’t take her for walks often.
Brandy’s family saved a little money early on by not paying for dog training. Lucas’s family paid the money for dog training and have benefited a little more every day since. Both families have mixed dogs that are the same age. They only live a short distance away from each other in Elmhurst. But, the lives they live are light years apart.