Amber will be 6 years old this year, which also mean that we have officially been training dogs for more than 5 years now! For those that are new here - We blogged about Amber when she was younger and shared how she was trained, owners that needed help stumbled onto our guides and requested for demonstration in person, and that was how we became trainers :)
Amber at this point of time is reaching middle age, her personality is more or less fixed and like all dogs, she has her good and bad points. I will start with the good points first, Amber is an extrovert in nature who loves exploring and meeting people, we brought her out a lot when she was younger - daily walks plus 1-2 outings per week. She loves humans especially and would not hesitate the shower them with kisses at first meet. Amber loves to share, of course not her favorite food and toy, but doesn't mind other people or dogs touching her other belongings and general food/treats. Sometimes she'd even bring a couple of toys and leave it in front of guests to play with.
Amber is also very well behaved for a hyper active dog. I'd say that training her strictly when she was young contributed to this, many strangers love her, she even helped a couple of traumatized people reduce their fear towards dogs. I don't know how to explain this, others kept saying that her eyes talk and she can express her feelings very well, some Muslim friends even exclaimed that they would've hugged Amber if they could! Amber is also very intelligent, this is expected for a poodle and she does display her intelligence no matter how tough the challenges are.
As for the bad points, her friendliness which is supposed to be a good thing can sometimes backfire. She is crazy about humans and would go nuts when they approach, she can just follow any stranger home! Amber's energy level is also very high for a small dog, she needs an hour walk everyday to stay calm. Also for her intelligence, she does attempt to trick us from time to time, for example she could pick her nose in bags when we are not watching, quickly run back once she hear someone walking over, then proceed again when the person is gone.
For commands, I have shrunk down useless ones and kept to a standard set. Sit, down, wait, stay, no, off, go back, left, good, okay, up. For tricks she does know quite a bit, together with commands she can understand about 30 words at the moment.
Amber's health is still in tip top condition, she did experience a bit of diarrhea last year and also a bit of flu, but overall there isn't anything serious to take note of. Her dental health is not very good thought, plaque is forming and we are considering to send her for dental scaling this month. I'm not sure why but her dental condition seemed to worsen after starting her on raw (her first try was K9 natural in 2016), since then her breath had gotten worst together with the plaques, could be coincidental though. Other than that, she is not as active as before, slightly less energetic and her sprint time has shortened, she used to be able to sprint non stop for a minute.
Onto behavior, Amber is no longer playful towards dogs, she does make a couple of first time interaction but after that she would just continue doing her own stuff. I'd say that having her to assist with training contributed to this, she is more wary and would be in neutral mode nowadays, I really appreciate her body language display especially with fearful/aggressive dogs, she really knows her stuff and would do her best not to trigger them. We still crate her when no one is monitoring and we have never regret doing that since she was young, it not only keeps her safe from things around the house, crate also make her feel comfortable and secure.
That's about it for now, I really hope she can continue to be healthy, as well as to continue making people and other dogs happy!