Penny came to Quinebaug Kennels as a 4-5 month old golden retriever puppy for the 2 week Head Start Program. When Penny first arrived at QK, she was very nippy and jumpy, she would bite at our hands out of nervousness. It was clear she had very little trust in people and little confidence. Head Trainer Jordan instantly picked up on her trust issues and started off slow with her by “just going for a walk.” Penny reacted pretty aggressively by rearing up on the leash and biting at it. It was like having a little alligator on the end of the lead the way she was turning and snapping. It was clear to us that this little golden retriever puppy was going to be a larger challenge than originally thought. As the days went on and Jordan put multiple lessons on Penny they started working as a pack and she started to look to him for direction and leadership.
Penny made huge progress through the Head Start Program however, she was a very challenging puppy and it was clear she was going to be a lot for her owners after only 2 weeks. Because of this, we suggested she stay for the full 5 week retriever program. After Penny started looking for leadership she became one of the most intense working dogs we have seen at her age. We were able to put all the resistance in the past and she redirected all that fight and energy into working. She would do everything she was asked with effort and gave 100% during each lesson. She quickly excelled in the field as well and hunted hard to find game, working for her trainer. Penny was doing things as a 5-6 month old pup that usually you see out of a 1-2 year old seasoned hunting dog. Her athletic ability and drive were unmatched but she made you work for her respect as a trainer.
Penny is a great example of how challenging a young puppy can get and how quickly a dog can develop stress and anxiety if proper leadership is not given at a young age. Mother dogs provide structure, discipline, and leadership to their puppies, which humans quickly take away without even realizing it. Young puppies are forced into a very stressful leader position starting at 7-9 weeks old. Instead of growing up with guidance and leadership pups are faced with obstacles on their own, this is where almost all bad habits develop. As humans, we nurture and raise our children and try to set examples and be good leaders for them. Without meaning to, we do the complete opposite with a puppy.
Penny showed a lot of resistance young but through properly communicating to her we uncovered such and incredible animal that will live a successful life with her owners. If her owners did not get Penny to us at a young age, she would have become extremely powerful and resistant and would never have had a chance to show her true potential.