There are a couple of things that I've noticed since getting our new puppy. The first is that dog toys are expensive, and I spend as much time shopping for dog toys as I did for kid toys when my boys first came into my life (Who am I kidding? I still spend way too much time shopping for kid toys).
The second is that things sure have changed since my last puppy. We had to euthanize my dog Shasta a couple of months ago due to congestive heart failure. She was 14.5 years old. When I got Shasta 14 years ago, she was six months old and already house broken, trained, and well-mannered. I changed all that pretty quickly. It wasn't more than a week before she was sleeping in my bed rather than her kennel and running around out of control. Anyway, I never performed any significant training with her, other than teaching her how to play hide-and-go seek.
With Indy, we are in full-on training mode, using techniques from various training books we checked out from the library and got at the pet store. We are using "positive reinforcement" training where treats are doled out like candy for the tiniest of accomplishments (e.g. Not eating my shoes? Good boy! Have some treats!). We have enrolled him in puppy kindergarten to begin the steps of training him and ourselves and ensuring he is properly socialized to avoid any future aggressive behavior. We are potty training, which is now the accepted term since house breaking seems to imply that something is broken and needs to be fixed. We are chastising ourselves when Indy chews something or has an accident because we were not being more diligent in potty breaks and rewarding play time. We are buying "smart toys" to stimulate our puppy's mind and give him gainful employment, the payment of which is food. See how much he enjoys his Buster Cube?
So let me ask you this - am I raising a dog or preparing my child to be accepted into an Ivy League school?
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