It’s that time of year, and of course I recently had a sit-down with Bailey the CR (Canine Resources) Superstar to discuss his performance over the last year.
Bailey is in his fourth year with us, and, frankly, his performance has been a cause for concern.
In the first few years, he got all the basics and orientation down right. He house-trained quickly, and he runs to his crate when we are getting ready to leave the house. But there are a couple of key things that have me concerned about his future with us. You see, he doesn’t always come when called, unless there is something of value for him. Even then, he seems cautious and slow to respond when I need quick action.
His unwillingness to take on new assignments is slightly disturbing. I get that the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution is bigger than he is, but what’s the point of a dog who can’t run a simple fetch errand? And this incessant, unconditional loyalty has me wondering if he can just stand up for himself once in a while and bark truth to power.
Midway through the discussion, or the monologue as it was, I realized something. Bailey is performing exactly as trained. He is not working below standard, I am. I have failed to give him the tools he needs to succeed. Unless I get going, he will never be a YouTube talking dog sensation or the circus performer that I think his ancestor’s likely were.
But that’s my problem, not his.
So, in the end, we’ve decided to keep him on, at least for another year. We may give him a slight kibble increase, though I’m not convinced that this kind of raise is a motivator for him.
And I’ve got some work to do if I expect his performance to improve.