Now that I am on my 7th puppy in training I am starting to notice a cycle.
You get your new puppy or dog, they know nothing (or next to nothing). You diligently spend a couple weeks teaching them the basics and getting to know their personality. You celebrate all the highs with great enthusiasm (YES! Fido sat on command and seemed to actually know what I was saying!!). You celebrate all the bumps (Looks like I need to go sock shopping since all of mine now have holes in them).
The next thing you know 6 months have gone by and you and your puppy in training are in a groove and rocking life. A year hits and I usually go "Oh shoot! Need to refresh my brain on the puppy manual." This is when I realize what I have or haven't taught my puppy and try really hard to get all the skills taught. About a year and a half to 2 years in, there always comes a day when me and my puppy are out and about and they are so freaking good I don't even know what to do with myself. This usually ends up with me crying my eyes out on the car ride home as this is also when I realize they are about to leave me and become a service dog.
This happened most recently with Ice. He and I went to Walmart. He was so loose on leash I didn't even know he was there. I could point at things on the shelves and say "look" "get it" and he would get exactly what I asked. I would ask him to get into different positions to navigate the store and he would do them first try. I was beaming ear to ear when we walked to the car. I was then bawling my eyes out on the way home. The crying wasn't necessarily a sad cry. It was a "holy crap I just spend almost 2 years putting my heart and soul into training this pebble eating, pillow destroying, yappy loud puppy and he is now a young gentleman who couldn't be better behaved" cry. Maybe I am just overly emotional or completely crazy. Who knows.
Shortly after this epiphany, Ice was introduced and then placed with his forever partner. Of course more crying, laughing, smiling and jumping for joy ensued but that story is for another time. I am now starting training on an approximately year old lab mix rescue named Hector and the cycle starts all over again.
7 dogs later and I still enjoy this as much as I did 7 dogs ago. Scratch that. I enjoy this even more than I did 7 dogs ago.