Yoda, my Hungarian Kuvaz, is almost two years old. He came to me as a curly white furball at 2 months old. He is, as true to his breed, maturing into a bold, spirited dog, determined to protect and be in charge. As a livestock guardian, his genetic makeup is to lead. Working to establish myself NOW as Alpha, we are enrolled in an obedience class. I have survived three classes with the help of my chiropractor.
What I believe…
Since I was in my early 20s I have had only St. Bernards, and though they are “stubborn” by nature, they are easy to train. They were my breed. With seven grown ones at all times, I only had one dog that I had to take to a training class. All the others learned, perhaps by osmosis, from the older dogs.
In 2008, after having just lost one of my Saints, someone said they knew I loved big dogs and wondered if I like a two month old Great Pyrenees. Being similar in size to a Saint, I assumed they were like a Saint. Not so, but he was easy to train, though very independent.
Seven years later he died from bone cancer, and knowing that “the larger the dog, the less the life expectancy,” I set out to find a big dog who would live longer than a Saint or Great Pyr. I found him – a Tibetan Mastiff, described by my vet as “stoic.” After much research I got a 2 month old male puppy, and I worked diligently to socialize him. They are such large dogs you must start early socializing them to have control.
Now almost two years old, he is much bigger than I. In fact, several weeks ago at dusk I was walking him and a police officer approached us for a look-see. He saw us from afar and thought it was a little girl walking a bear. He was in awe of the dog’s gentile manner, not being affected by him stopping us. I trained him myself, and he learned from the St. Bernard.
Rewinding back to age three months, this Tibetan Mastiff puppy, named Doggie Lama, was the absolutely worst puppy I have every owned. With my being a night owl, his schedule of sun-up soon took its toll on me. After a month of this, I was exhausted. I wondered why everything worked so well with all my other dogs and not this one – was it his breed or me? Then I had an epiphany. All the puppies I had before had another puppy to play with.
I was offered a Kuvaz puppy a month younger than Doggie Lama and I got him. He was the solution. Life was good again, but it never occurred until I went on a trip that the Kuvaz was not one to learn by osmosis.
On my return, I was told that Doggie Lama and Klaus were wonderful. Yoda, the Kuvaz, however, was a a very bad boy. They said he had boundary issues. I asked if he 86ed from returning and they said no. Since they train dogs, I asked if we could set up a private lesson to deal with his issues, and we did.What a workout, for him and me, proving what I had heard, “A tired dog is a good dog.”
We started practicing daily. I had not devoted proper time to the dog who saved me by wearing out Doggie Lama. Yoda quickly took to our dedicated time together and my being the Alpha. Now in a 6 week training class, we both are learning boundaries and manners. It is work. We do homework twice a day and he loves having someone to look to as the leader of the pack.
My Mother always said, “Anything that’s worth a darn is trouble.” That is Yoda.
Many times a discipline issues cause a dog owner to get rid of the dog. Dogs are like children, they need discipline and they need your time. They are the absolutely one unselfish friend we have in this world and each one, just like us, is different. Most things are fixable – willingness, work and love made us both happy.
Now, what I BELIEVE is “a tired dog is a good dog,” and a “tired owner is a proud owner.”