Diesel and Rugby don’t play together. They don’t live together. Their interactions are closely monitored so that their time together can stay safe. They aren’t friends. They work together, however. They go to matches, training sessions, field trips together. They hold down/stays while they take turns working, and Diesel sometimes carries Rugby around in a basket. In the process, a relationship has formed.
When Diesel hops into my car for our daily training session, he climbs onto the center console to say hello to Rugby before getting comfy in the back. Rugby gets up to greet him too. He wags his tail, sniffs his toes and is genuinely happy to see Diesel each day.
They enjoy each others company. I know Diesel takes comfort in the fact that Rugby always knows what to do and how to handle new situations. Why Rugby likes Diesel is something I still haven’t figured out. But that is besides the point.
Today Diesel went to the World of Pets Expo with Cas, a 6 month old rescue puppy who recently started Basic Obedience Lessons with us (going on week 4). Cas got to see really big Great Danes, tiny Chihuahuas, fluffy dogs, long dog, people with hats, people in big coats, birds, sheep, gerbils, dock diving, agility, and everything in between. He was happy to see it all.
Diesel was overwhelmed by the chaos of the expo. He liked the people, and he didn’t mind the dogs, but it was so much going on everywhere that it worried him. Without Rugby there to guide him through, he relied on the next best thing – Cas. It became very clear as our field trip progressed that he was taking comfort in Cas’ bravery.
A confident buddy can be a powerful training tool. Even with this limited exposure to Cas, dogs are amazingly social, and it helped get Diesel through the stressful expo. Eventually, Diesel will need to be confident enough in himself to manage his worries. In the mean time, it is nice to have good role models every once in a while, even when they are adorable 6 month old puppies.