A special guest post from Kaytee's sister Sara!
This last week I had the pleasure of spending time with Kaytee, Max, and their baby, Orent. And as soon as I stepped off the bus and met Orent, I knew he was different than other dogs. He stayed very calm and greeted me nicely. I was so excited to see him and tried to get him riled up but he really just wanted to lie on the sidewalk and lick the ground. Then when we put him in the car it was like I forgot he was there. He made no noises and sometimes I had to turn around just to remind myself that there was a dog in the car and that he was still alive. It was crazy!
That night I got to watch Max train Orent with half of his food. It's a really good idea to train that way. They think they're getting a treat but they are so hungry that they will do anything to get the food. I think I'll use that trick if I have another dog someday. But I also found out that they take him outside every 2 hours. Sheesh! That is a lot of stairs to go up and down every two hours. Thankfully they never asked me to do the 5-6am shift.
The next night I got to babysit him while they went off to the Phillies game. He stayed quietly in his crate while I walked to get some dinner. Then he stayed in his crate while I ate. After a few hours (and no complaining on his part) I let him out and we went outside. Then we came back upstairs and played chase the bone a little. This was the first time I saw any ounce of puppy come out. He got very excited with the bone and really wanted to chase it. Excitement? I thought puppies had excitement all the time! Not special Orent.
A little more puppy came out the next day at the farmer's market because all he wanted to do was dig in the mud. He's allowed to dig in the mud but only if someone checks the mud for bad things first. Then we went back to the house and Orent played in his crate until it was time to go to the puppy picnic. There it was clear he was less trained than the other, bigger CCI puppies, but he was still so well behaved! He never barked, and listened when Kaytee and Max told him to drop something and play with a better toy.
The real difference I saw between Orent and other puppies came when my puppy, Brady, showed up with my aunt on Saturday night. Brady ran around, barked, and was so excited to see me and wanted to sniff Orent and growl at him and all of the puppy things puppies do. Orent just chilled and waited until Brady was done sniffing him and growling. It was like he didn't even care!
So all in all, I realized that CCI puppies really are different. They are bred to be much calmer and receptive to training. However, with that change in behavior, comes a change in the things you can let your puppy do. Most puppies are allowed to play tug of war, and lick, and jump up and down, and run around, etc. Orent is more limited in what he can do because he has to learn to be a very good dog. So I couldn't say words like "hurry" because that meant "pee" to him. And I couldn't let him lick me to say "hi" because that was not a good trait for him to learn. It's a tough life training a CCI puppy because there's a lot of rules you have to follow.
I guess it all comes down to give and take with CCI puppies. While it's awesome that Orent has a good disposition, he doesn't get to do a lot of the puppy things. But he also doesn't bark all night long, bite everything, or run wild. He is definitely a different kind of puppy but I think that's what's special about him and about CCI. They really take care of their dogs to be the best service dogs they can be.
Kaytee and Max make great parents though. They reall care for him and want to train him up right. And I think a lot of what they are learning will help them train a dog when they have a puppy for real. But I do hope they let any future non-CCI puppies be a little more puppy-like than Orent gets to be!