I started formally training dogs before I had Rugby, and after Mandi was gone. From the very first day I brought Rugby home, our trainer was constantly reminding me leave his feet on the ground. Just because I can pick him up, doesn’t mean I should. I needed to treat him like a 70lb dog instead of a 7lb one. It was so tempting. His small size is such a convenience, and I could save myself a lot of work by just snatching him up in my arms or placing him where I want. I needed a few reminders back then, but it is something I embrace now.
Every time I take his feet off the ground, I am robbing him of a learning opportunity that a larger opportunity would get. If you have met Rugby before, you know this is reflected in his ego. All that time on the ground has helped him act less like a yappy little dog, and much more like a companion. Since I treat Rugby like a 70lb dog, he thinks he is one!
He still spends quite a bit of time in the air for pictures. I had to remind myself today to let him take pictures like a real dog too. He is much happier standing on his own four paws.