All dogs are not created equal

Even though two dogs can look nearly identical and come from the same lineage, every dog is different. I may sound a little like Captain Obvious right now, but it’s something to keep in mind when you’re training your hunting dog.

My first Golden Retriever, Cricket, was a nearly perfect dog. Her only flaws were that she would tear up something that had my scent on it if I left her in the house for too long, and that she wouldn’t get far enough away from me when we were hunting. Other than that, she was an angel.

She was a quick learner, and she picked up on all my commands after only a few tries. We got her when she was about a year old, so I didn’t ever have to worry about house training, but I assume she figured that out quickly, too. And she was gentle, kind, sweet and always eager to please.

Copper, my new Golden, is a different story. He’s pretty closely related to Cricket, and he’s a miniature carbon copy of her. He’s also very quick to pick up on the commands, but that’s where the similarities end. He’s an absolute menace.

He saves most of his deviousness for Paisley, the other dog in the house. She’s a nine-year-old Australian Shepherd, and Copper’s turning her into a cranky old lady. He can’t resist stealing every sock he can get his mouth on. And when I take him outside, instead of sticking right by me like Cricket would, Copper immediately heads for the tree line, the end of the driveway, or the pasture out behind the barn.

That last one might turn out to be a good thing. One of the things I could never get Cricket to do was to range out far enough. She didn’t cover enough country when we hunted, and I’m sure we missed some birds because of it. If I can get Copper to split that difference a little, he might be even better than Cricket was.

As long as I can keep him from eating all our socks.

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