In recent years, Steve and I have often found ourselves speculating about how Tucker influences our CCI puppies. It seems clear that the puppies all adore him. Kyndall wags her tail passionately and licks his face whenever she’s been separated from him and then reunited. Although he plays with her only rarely, she loves to snuggle up beside him. And CCI has no problem with pups in training living with “change-of-career dogs” (like Tucker) or even pet (barbarian) dogs.
Still, we wonder if living with an older dog might tend to make the puppy imprint more on dogs than on us. Whether or not that’s true, we can certainly see Tucker’s influence on Kyndall. For example, she’s still displaying some resistance to being Dressed in her cape or even her Gentle Leader. But if we call Tucker and put on his leash and halter first, Kyndall runs up, sits nicely, and doesn’t balk at having the strap slipped over her nose and the leash clipped to it. (The cape’s another matter; Tucker doesn’t get to wear one of them, so she can’t imitate his good example.)
Yesterday I watched with admiration an online video of Kyndall’s sister Kihei Speaking beautifully. Kyndall also Speaks. But she’s learned to do it in the goofy way Tucker has adopted. He always takes a while to spit out the sound, in a kind of canine version of nervously clearing one’s throat. Then he usually feels the need to launch himself skyward, before emitting a quiet “woof.”
Here’s what it looks like, as demonstrated first by Tuck and then by Kyndall.