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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I took Tucker to his first school visit yesterday. There were 4 other dogs and a bunny. We were there to teach the kids how to interact with animals. I got there early with Tucker as he is always excited to go someplace new. The other dogs were pretty mellow, Tucker was the one with the most energy. Not over the top, but let's just say very enthusiastic. Not out of the ordinary for Tucker, and the director and I both know he will settle in when everything starts.

So we get into the room and spread the dogs out into stations. We have 50, 4 and 5 year olds coming, so it is a divide an conquer mentality for this visit. When the kids enter the room, you can just feel their excitement. What Tucker did next surprised me. He turned and locked eyes with me. In an instant, his soft brown eyes told me, "I got this Dad. Thank you for bringing me here." I said," I know Tucker, I love you too buddy." Tucker has never been a dog to focus on me, it has always been a work in progress and a challenge to keep his focus on me, and shut out the rest of the world. Today in the midst of the chaos of the young kids, instead of getting amped up further, and feeding off their energy, he turned to me. This knucklehead is finally getting it.

My boy simply racked out in front of all the kids in each group. 8 pairs of little hands petting him nicely as we talked about how to meet and take care of a dog.

Afterwards, I took Tucker for a walk to build on his experience. As we walked together, all I had to do was just whisper his name, and he would turn and look at me. He has never done that before. Could it be that after almost 4 years of training he is finally getting it? Sorry for the novel, but this is a milestone for him that I just had to share....

Anyway, how old was your dog, and what were you doing together when you had that first connection?
 

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A HUGH congrats to you and Tucker. What an AWESOME experience. It is such an incredible experience when you "connect" with your dog. I find that the bond between each other gets stronger and so does the appreciation for each other . Thank you for sharing that moment.
 

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Dakota Katie River's Mom
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That was an awesome experience and you wrote it so well I could see it. I love how you call it the connection, it just fits. I think the connection comes with maturity, you connect when he/she is a puppy, but one day the bond just deepens to a whole new level.
 

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That was an amazing experience, I was able to visualize it unfolding as I read your post. It couldn't have happened at a better time IMO. Congratulations to you and Tucker.
 

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Just loved this story..here's to many more days of great connections between you and your boy!
 
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Hi, I'm Wendee
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I think that sometimes they just get to a certain age and everything you have taught them just clicks. I'm happy that Tucker was such a good boy with the kids. It can be really hard to keep them from getting too excited around kids. Good for you Tucker!
 

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Gracie's mom and dad
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Loved your story. GRace was four when we took her to a facility for behavioraly challenged kids. SHe just kept her eyes on me and we seemed to become as one. JUst reading each others thoughts and body language. BEing an old show dog, Grace is really good at body language reading.

Tucker seems to have cottoned on great. He has the makings of a great therapy dog. Keep up the good worki
 
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Mardovar Goldens
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Phillyfisher - that is awesome! Keep up the great work.
 
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Kye & Coops Mom
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Fantastic story and you told it so well I could "see" it happening. Bet those little ones went home and had great stories to tell their parents. You and your boy did well and I am so proud!
 
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where the tails wag
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Great job :) Sometimes it takes a lot for the connection to click into place, but when it does - well, a beautiful beginning for sure!
 
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Discussion Starter #15
I am curious about when and how others have experienced a connection. When we got a golden, I was actually expecting a marshmallow of a dog, who was attached at the hip and did whatever I wanted. (What a naive first time owner!). Honestly, Tucker has his own agenda, and we work with him to get it to align with ours. In rally, I basically get one shot at a course with his attention. After that he is like, "dude, I already did it once, if you screwed it up by asking me to do the wrong thing, that is your problem. I'm gonna do something else..." He is confident, yet has his fears. He is always 2 steps ahead of us, planning his next assault on anything he should not have. But take him to a therapy visit, and the moment he sees a patient, he knows exactly what to do. I probably read more into him than is there, but he is more complex than I ever thought possible.
 

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:appl:Good boy Tucker. That is a wonderful story. I am still waiting for Darby to "get it", he is five and I swear he has ADD. Kirby has always been a more focused dog, even at her most excited she will turn to me for reassurance. The best is getting her attention even with a "squirrel" close by! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
:appl:Good boy Tucker. That is a wonderful story. I am still waiting for Darby to "get it", he is five and I swear he has ADD. Kirby has always been a more focused dog, even at her most excited she will turn to me for reassurance. The best is getting her attention even with a "squirrel" close by! :)
Do you think it is a boy thing to be so clueless? Do girls just get it quicker?
 

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I can't really say, Darby is my first boy and he is "impulse control challenged" :) When he gets excited his ability to think just turns off. I will say my sheltie and first golden (both girls) were both easy to train and I could get them to focus on me. I think Darby is just... Darby. :)
 
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