Thursday, July 24, 2014

TBT: Brisbane at Six Months

When Brisbane was six months old, the pet store I worked at had a photographer come in and do photo sessions.

He had a passing familiarity with the stay command, and an intense desire to bite everything and bark. The store, now defunct, sold puppies and specialized in toy breeds. They hated my over-the-top reactive mutt puppy. I hated their support of puppy mills and lack of respect for both employees and customers. We parted ways not long after these pictures were taken. The store is long gone now, bankrupted by poor business practices and a growing public awareness of puppy mills.

With a lot of time and patience, Brizzy now has a reliable stay command, and can handle extended photo shoots provided he has a high enough rate of reinforcement. For these pictures though, I had to hold him in place and then let go and get out of the frame at the last possible second. He still has a lot of his puppy coat here, his ear floof and majestic flag tail had not yet grown in. At the time I felt awful that my perfect puppy was so poorly behaved, in retrospect I think my expectations were a bit high. He barely tolerated the hour-long wait for our turn, he sat still for a few seconds in an unfamiliar and highly-stressful environment, and then he tilted his head and looked adorable. For a reactive and overstimulated heeler puppy, I think he did fantastic.

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