Dog owner wonders who’s training whom
Published 12:29 pm, Thursday, November 2, 2017
We recently got a puppy.
The training is going well. Our training, that is. If things continue to progress, we expect the puppy to have us housebroken any day now.
To accomplish this, the puppy utilizes the treats method. Whenever he whines we stop whatever we are doing and immediately take him out. If we are quick enough we are treated to not having to deal with a puddle. It’s really important to pay attention. As trainers, puppies don’t have a lot of patience.
The question you may be asking, and the question we have been asking ourselves, is what were we thinking? Why did we get a puppy? Most people get a puppy by design. We got a puppy because we forgot what it’s like to have a puppy.
Our last dog had been six months old when he moved in 12 years ago, and was so attuned to proper bathroom etiquette that if the sink were a little lower I’m sure he would have wanted to freshen up when he came in from outside. It never occurred to us that a 12-week-old puppy would not make a similarly seamless transition.
When being housebroken by a puppy, it is essential to have a stockpile of cleaning and training supplies on hand. Puppies tend to see rugs as indoor grass. Our inventory includes: Spray to discourage the puppy from peeing on the rug. Spray to clean the rug. Spray to eliminate the odor from the rug.
Oh, and paper towels. Lots of paper towels. The only thing we are constantly running lower on than paper towels is wine. They should sell wine in pet stores.
You may notice that I have not included doggie diapers. This was not an oversight. Doggy diapers, in my view, are the pink tutu of training aids. If a male puppy were to be observed by his peers wearing doggy diapers, he would never be able to show his face at the dog park again.
While our training is progressing, the same cannot be said for the puppy. At this particular point, I’m pretty sure the puppy thinks his name is “No-Bad.” There are several issues.
Certainly the one wearing on us the most is the puppy’s schedule. He likes to go to bed late and get up early, really early. His sense of time is nothing short of extraordinary. Every morning at exactly 5 minutes to 5 a.m., the puppy begins whining and barking. It’s like he can tell time. We’re thinking about getting him an Apple watch for Christmas.
Another bone of contention is the chewing. He will chew on anything. To help him through this stage we have bought him a dozen chew toys, bones and balls. In retrospect, we probably should have just bought him a table leg.
While I am opposed to the puppy gnawing on the furniture, I do admit I am more vigilant about some pieces than others. There is an ugly end table in our family room that I have been thinking of wiping down with bacon grease.
Although I could be wrong about this, I’m beginning to believe the puppy watches television. On more than one occasion, I have come back into the family room and found the remote on the floor and the channel changed. Obviously, this is a bit unsettling. I can see where it is headed. Next he’ll want my Netflix password.
Excuse me. I hear whining. Must be time for him to take me out.
Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist who believes the keys to life include the avoidance of physical labor and I-95. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @jimboshea.