Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Flunking Out, Sort Of

I am working my way through Chou Chou's adolescence. She's a bundle of energy! Bad behaviors (jumping on me in the yard) are much fewer, but taking her for walks can be challenging; after a nice walk with perfect healing, when we pass a certain neighborhood bush, she goes berserk and jumps on me in a snarly way and then I struggle to calm her and get her home. 

Next time I will choose a different route and avoid passing that bush, until she forgets about it, and then I'll try it again. Maybe the bush has an odd smell that upsets her? Dogs are weird. ("No, no! Millions of dogs have peed on that bush! It's so exciting!")

I hurt my thumb in puppy class 2 weeks ago and now I have to go for physical therapy. The dog trainer told us to slip the leash around our thumbs; I thought that was a really dumb idea. "Won't that hurt our thumbs if the dogs pull?" "No," the trainer assured me, so I went along. Chou pulled, and my thumb got hurt. 

Tonight, Teacher's Pet flunked out of puppy class. I was at the physical therapist for my thumb this afternoon, so Chou was in the crate and very wound up when she got out. We had to rush to puppy class, so she didn't run or exercise. 

I was sick last week and missed puppy class (and all my university classes, too). Although I am over whatever virus I had, I am still weak. I went to training anyway; I didn't want to miss another class. 

What a Wild Thing she was! I couldn't get the new harness on her to walk into the class (I didn't have it on her in the car, because it would have been shredded by the time we got there; she's already chewed up two of them). She wiggled and squirmed and kicked as we were in the hall struggling and missing what the trainer was saying. I believe Chou Chou could feel that I was not strong enough to hold her back, and she took advantage. ("Moi?")

Then I got her into the harness and we went into the class, and she started barking! She never did that before. She's been a completely silent puppy. At first I thought it was a different dog barking, but no, Chou Chou was barking and disrupting class. She was pulling towards the instructor; then when the instructor came over to us, Chou was jumping on her and wouldn't stop. ("I wanted the treats in her pocket!") I couldn't concentrate on the class and we were disrupting it, so I left. No more puppy class, missing 2 out of 6.

How can she flunk Puppy 101? Very embarrassing. 

After all the money and trainers, I am on my own. The briarders assure me that their dogs were the same way at this age, and with patience and consistency, they grow up to be loving companions who don't jump on people. I believe that. Mimi was a terror when she was an adolescent -- squirming and wiggling until she slipped out of her collar and ran into the street, running and ducking cars until I caught her -- and she became a sweetheart. 

I forgot how challenging a briard puppy can be! And some briarders have several of these pups all at once ... how do they do that? ("Get me a little friend and we'll see?")

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