Weekend retreat or retrieve

Puppies are a lot of work! This one feels like a full time job. Most of the projects I had planned for the weekend at home have fallen by the wayside. Ok, we bonded. Now I can’t leave the room.

Crate training is going  well, it is a clicker game after all. Get in, get a cookie. Get out, get to play. Get left in there, another story. Angel or Demon? He is wild, biting, frantic, throwing his bones in the air to hear them hit the hardwood floor in my office. Oh great, he just tipped the metal garbage can over to get the paper. Then he crashes.

Pups need a lot of sleep. He hits the sack at 9 PM, will sleep till I get up, even if it is 9 hours later. Steven Pressfield wrote in his incredible book The WAR of ART, that no one is born as tabula rosa, a blank slate. Each of us ‘come into this world with a distinct and unique personality, an identity so set that you can fling stardust and great balls of fire at it and not morph it by one micro dot’.

So puppy, what are you? Angel or Demon? Ankle biter, or lover that will sleep in my lap for as long as I stay sitting.

First things first. He needs a name. A cute name that I will enjoy speaking for the next decade and a half. A short one that works as a recall on the agility course, and one I don’t have to explain the meaning of, or tell gate stewards how to pronounce.

Short list today. Jeep, Cabbie, DJ, Beckham, Sport, Saint, Pepsi, and Jute.

 This weeks’ training assignment.

  •  Stop biting my feet and shoes
  • Handle his body without biting my hands
  • Walk on leash
  • Grooming- soft brush on body
  • Nails- Drommel introduction
  • Name game
  • Release word
  • House training
  • Crate lessons
  • Retrieving
  • Tugging
  • Reminders for this week: Walk on pavement, grass, gravel, wood, linoleum, tile. Walk up and down steps of all kinds. Low water container for him to get into, especially if it is warm and he can cool himself.
  • Don’t carry him anywhere, let him walk, use the leash. Control my environment.

We are having great fun retrieving. Maybe he is talented, maybe I am a good trainer. I dunno. But here is what we do. I sit on the kitchen floor, I turn him around and face him away from me, holding him in my lap on the floor in front of me. I bang the floor in front of him with a toy, then throw it  and off he goes. As soon as he picks it up I bang the floor with my hands and in he comes, hitting me in the gut, toy and all. We cuddle, I tell him he is a perfect puppy, and I keep my hands off the toy. In a while he gets a little into me and a little not into the toy and drops it. I take it and start the game again. He likes all kinds of toys. I have a stack at my side. Sometimes I throw a different one each time, sometimes the same one. If he forgets to bring the toy back on the recall (when I am banging the ground and saying nonsence words), I just throw another toy from the pile the next time.

Then he ges tired which is a very good thing! Now I can work at my desk till the devil wakes and takes over my weekend.  NJG




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