I am proud of the Kipperdog - and of myself. Let me explain. Kip is my first dog, my starter dog, the dog I need so many do-overs on... but I'm learning. The first year I had him, I listened to the "positive-only" trainers - the "ignore bad behaviour, reward good behaviour" ones. And this may work for some dogs. But it doesn't work for Kip and I. And it took me a year, and a lot of advice from some great dog people, to make me realize that there is no one way of training that works for every dog and every trainer. And that no training tool is cruel - it's the mis-use of any training tool that can be cruel.
Long story short, I now have a dog that can walk off-leash, can do a recall, and can generally behave well in public. Is he perfect? No. Do we need a lot more work? Oh yeah!! But he (and I) are miles ahead of where we were a year ago.
Today, although cold, was sunny, so I took the camera along on our walk. And taped this:
Is it a perfect heel? No. Is it a perfect recall? No. Neither would win any points at an obedience competition. But it is a dog that is heeling, off-leash, outside, and then doing a recall. And I am proud of Kip. And of myself. We are a work in progress, but we are getting there! It's a good day.