Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Learning Curve

She is learning. I know that everything is new to her. I also know it is my job to teach her the things she needs to know in order to be an acceptable part of our family and society.

She used to whine and scratch at the doors to be let in after potty times. My husband put and end to that pretty fast. Now she sits and looks from us to the door and waits pretty patiently to be let in.

She used to jump on me or the piece of furniture I was sitting on if she wanted my attention. That's fine for a 15 lb puppy... but not so much so for a 90 lb dog. So I say "NO" and move away from her. A few times I stepped on her back paws (lightly of course). Now she comes and sits in front of me if she wants my attention. She learned this so well, in fact, that when we were at my in-law's and she had had enough of being chased around by their 20 month old boxer Taz, she came and sat at my feet and dodged Taz's licks and nudges until I picked her up.

And the other day, she sat on command. We haven't really even worked on that... only when she gets a treat for going potty outside will my husband make her sit for her treat. I am not as consistent... I usually just give her the treat if she goes where she is supposed to.

The chewing is another thing all together. I don't know how much of it is just her being a puppy and how much is a habit I need to discourage. She is better than I thought, though. She takes re-direction to appropriate objects pretty well and hasn't really been interested in chewing on the furniture (God said okay to that particular prayer).

With us, however, it is a different story. She will mouth our hands or arms or feet. I think that is ok. That is how babies learn about their environment. But when she bites, that is not ok. We redirect her to a toy but she just goes for the hand that is holding it. She will even wrinkle her muzzle and lash out to bite us when she is repremanded. My husband or I will grab her muzzle and say a firm "NO BITE!" but it doesn't do anything. We remove ourselves from the situation when it's possible but it is not always possible (like when driving in the car, etc.) Most of the time this happens, she is in that snippy time I mentioned in a previous post, right before she falls asleep. I'll be so glad when she is done teething...

We start puppy kindergarten on February 3rd. I am looking forward to getting the foundations of obedience training started.

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