Nike is 4-1/2 months old! It's amazing how fast they grow up. She and Elena joined my Top Dog class several weeks ago. She's now training with dogs of all ages and skill levels and is flourishing. Her obedience skills are amazing. She did, however, hit that 16-week mark and has started showing her independence. She's pushing her boundaries by jumping on people - something she never did before and that we are working on correcting. And her perfect recall has broken down when she is called from a distance. Rather than stopping in front of Elena, she gets close then goes around her, off noodling around in her own little puppy world. We will correct this by going back to basics: short, heavily reinforced recalls - gradually lengthening them until we've regained the distance we've lost.
The first year of a dog's life is an incredible time. They leave their mothers and their litter mates, go to new homes, learn a new language, go through puppyhood and adolescence, and finish the year as young adults. As a trainer, I consider it a privilege to be part of that first year ... and beyond.