Yes, that's right, "training." I have about six months to get my bounding Border Collie to walk nicely down the aisle as my ring bearer. And I'm not quite sure where to start...
To Leash or Not to Leash
The biggest thing I need to decide is if I want him on a leash or not. Brodie is great off-leash on walks or at parks. He wonders and does his doggy exploration thing, but he follows my general direction and practices a pretty reliable recall. If he starts to chase a squirrel or cat, for example, he stop as soon as I ask him to and comes running back to me.
The one exception to this is when he sees a person he recognizes or a dog that is excited. He calculates the distance between me and thing he wants to go to. If he's closer to me than what he wants, he waits. If he's closer to what he wants than I am to him, it's a toss-up.
Now if it's a person he not only recognizes but loves, I am sure to lose the battle. If we were walking along and he saw my sister across the street, for example, no amount of the "tone" or "eh" or yelling to him could stop him from running over to her. It's like he loses his mind for a half a second, but the half a second is just long enough to get him into trouble.
At the wedding, he'll see a whole bunch of people he knows and loves so I'm not sure he'd be able to resist going over and saying hello to everyone instead of completing his job. Now if I were to have treats, that's a different story... So what if he stays in the back and only comes when I call him at the time the rings are needed? If we practice this with treats, even with all the people, he'll come right to me. But then who holds onto him in the back until that point? And he'll be more likely to bark because he'll be all excited from running to the treat. Maybe on the leash will be best...
But then who walks him down the aisle? And how do I train that person ahead of time? And how can we practice to make sure he's not pulling? And should I have him carry the rings in a basket or tie them to his collar? And... oh goodness, this is going to prove challenging. I know the less stressful thing to do is to not have him there, but even though the canine kind he's still our son and not having him involved just doesn't feel right. So what do you think? How would you do it?