When you are a Very Hungry Puppy (as so many members of the retriever clan are), it takes self-control to avoid pouncing on crunchy, delicious morsels of DOG KIBBLE!!!! when it is placed on the ground, just inches from your jaws. Yet I have seen evidence that certain CCI puppies could be trained not just to sit calmly next to one or two pieces of kibble, but to do this next to enough kibble to spell out their names. I’ve seen photos of this sort of thing on the Facebook page of Kat Greaney, who is raising Kyndall’s sister, Kihei. Still, Kat is clearly a remarkably gifted dog and puppy trainer. It never occurred to me to try to emulate her kibble-control demonstration.
Until last week. In honor of National Dog Day, CCI announced that it was launching the Kibble Name Challenge — inviting all puppy raisers to try it. Last Sunday Steve and I were still taking care of 4-month-old Spirit while her puppy-raisers were on vacation. It seemed laughably impossible, but we decided to try the Kibble Name Challenge on both pups (Kyndall and Spirit). Simultaneously.
As the video shows, it was — remarkably — NOT a total disaster. Kyndall at first stares, mesmerized. Then she just looks worried (though she often looks worried.) You can almost read the shocked disbelief on Spirit’s face when she sees that some of the most glorious objects in the world (pieces of FOOD!!!!!!) have been put inches away from her nose… and she’s being told not to go for it. I know the clip is long (almost 3 minutes). But nobody ever trained me to spell with dog chow. And the three minutes are fraught with suspense.
I’m still, embarrassingly, confused about what’s supposed to happen at the end. (Kyndall isn’t the only one in the house who needs more training.)