Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Pretentious Puppy

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?


Texasholly said...

That is a very cute puppy.

Unknown said...

We put my 14 year old dog dwon in June from congestic heart failure. Sad day -- part of me wants another dog and the other part doesn't want to deal with all the stuff you just wrote about :)

Super cute dog!!

Monica said...

I have a trick for you, it is a great way for your puppy to let you know they have to go out.

We hung a string of bells by the door just low enough for our puppies to reach. Every time we took them out we rang the bell, and gave them a treat when they rang it.

Eventually they would ring it on their own whenever they had to do their business and we had no messes in the house.

Everyone loves it when they ring the bell.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I just want to dip him in chocolate and eat him up! ;)
mdx3mom: great idea! We're about to dive into dog life, so I'll definitely use this! :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful dog..

I feel ya sister..my husband spoils the dog more than me..toys and chewies..

Jack failed puppy school though. He can dance and give kisses and comes most of the time when you call him.. and he can cuddle..

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

This is why I do not have pets. Kids are enough work.


Shan Nan said...

Hey Hev, You may not be preparing him for colledge, but you sure are preparing him for a fun-filled Loveing, and secure life. Besides...animals(and the world for that matter) need the unconditional love and security, that you give so freely, just as much as us 2-legged humans do:)

Damama T said...

At least with the dog you can lock him in a cage when he's too bad. But who would want to lock that cutiepie in a cage anyway?? I know... lock yourself in there. With some chocolate and a good book and when the dog and kids start whining just look at them like you don't have a clue what they are saying. Either that sounds like a really good idea or I am just projecting my own parental responsibility escape fantasies LOL.