Brandon Brags About His Dogs

Brandon's dogs, Willow & DJ

Afternoon Blog #1: Brandon Brags About His Dogs

Well…it’s my turn to write a blog. And as usual, I’ve waited until the last minute to get it done. (I’m on vacation next week, and if I don’t finish this before I leave today, the nit-picking weenie might not let me come BACK from vacation.)

I have been struggling to come up with a topic. I only write well when I’m passionate about something. But last night I realized I have two things I’m passionate about – my dogs!

My girlfriend and I have two Huskies. The older one is a male, DJ, who I’ve had since he was six months old. He’s five now, which is what…35 years old in dog years? DJ was named after Husky head coach Don James. (I’ve always been a big UW fan.) The younger one is a 12 week old female named Willow. I chose her name because Willow, Alaska is the true starting point of the Iditarod race. We got her when she was just six weeks old.

Anyways, when I got DJ  back in 2012, I was gifted a training class by a local place in Bellingham where I grew up. I still remember how much the trainer disliked us at first. He was an older guy, and I was the youngest dog owner in the class. DJ was without a doubt the most fidgety, whiney, and all around difficult dog there. He was smart, but unchallenged, and quite frankly bored. Husky owners know what I’m talking about.

I think the trainer, Michael, didn’t believe we would put in the hard work it would take to train our Husky. I actually didn’t like him at first either. I thought he was harder on us than everyone else. But I’m glad he was, because thanks to his teaching, DJ grew into an amazing dog.

After he passed his first class, we decided to sign him up for a “Canine Good Citizen” class, that ended with a test. If DJ passed he’d get his CGC certification, which is an AKC program to “promote responsible dog ownership and to encourage the training of well-mannered dogs.” Michael told me he’d never had a Husky pass the test, but that didn’t discourage me. I worked hard with DJ for weeks – and he passed! (Side note: One of the most helpful tips I got from Michael was to hand feed DJ every meal. It made a HUGE difference. I still think it was the most influential change I made, like night and day.)

It was a very rewarding learning experience. DJ taught me what patience, loyalty, friendship, and unconditional love really mean. He’s truly a great dog, never getting in to things while he’s alone at home, kind to all dogs and people, and even though Michael told us that he may never be able to go off leash – he’s now off leash almost all the time.

I’m hoping for a similar experience with Willow. She’s still very a much a puppy – still going to the bathroom in the house, getting into things she shouldn’t be, not listening at times, and being all-around frustrating – but like DJ, very smart. I know she’s going to be a lot of work, but if there’s one thing I learned from my time training DJ, it’s that it will be more than worth it in the end.

Thanks for reading! And let us know if you’d like more blogs from us below. (It’s looking like the nit-picking weenie was right.)

Brandon Naff

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