The second puppy class went well. I forgot to finish writing about it but it was mostly, “Wow. He calmed down and started to get it. He performed wonderfully.”
Puppy class 3 hit and I had a sinking feeling. I always do with him. He is rapidly showing me that he is not the type of dog that is going to be able to work young. He is also to smart to not be forced to work on the basics. But, class isn’t exciting for me. I’m not looking forward to it. Instead, I roll my shoulders and pray I’ll make it through.
It doesn’t help that my work schedule isn’t really one that fits having things to do every week. Yesterday for example, I had to be up at seven to get to work by eight. I left at six and was tired before I even got home. But, I work 12 hour days. So the day before I worked 10-10 as normal. Inty is normally in bed by 10. We’ve been trying to have him up later and he just turns into a raging jerk.
The problem is the puppy has not developed an off yet. These come at various times. Some puppies learn them for reward based reasons. Most dogs learn them as they age. Some learn them later then others. Inty has no off button unless you put him in his crate. He will immediately pass out almost every time. But, he cannot do this for himself. We’ve been encouraging it with high reward chew toys but anything and everything breaks him out of his calm.
He is a very busy dog.
Cue the third training session. Getting there went well. My husband is back from his trip so came with me. Inty drooled but did not get car sick. We’re doing good. We got there and while he is still a bit barky and excited upon seeing other dogs, he is calming down faster. Maybe we will be okay.
He loses his shit. I have him by the collar. He has leaned to duck his head so that the collar slides down his throat and doesn’t bug him. He will not walk. Hes leaping forward and hopping like a frog. You’d think I was choking him by his collar but I was holding it at normal height.
I frankly, drag him across the room to an empty area. He then spends the entire start of the class trying to lunge for the other dogs. There is no aggression. He wants to play with them.
And that is mostly the entire class. He wants to play with the other dogs. He wants to jump on people. He does not want to look at stupid things on the floor and touch them. He just runs over them or kicks them out the way. He wants to play, play, play, play, play and not with me. I’m boring. He has me all the time. He wants those other dogs. PLAY PLAY PLAY.
But this isn’t a play class. I’ve reached the point where a slack lead means he goes for another dog. Treats are not but so interesting. They are nice. He likes treats. And he is hungry. So he just bites my hand. Then tries to play with another dog.
“Have you thought of a no jump harness or head collar?” They ask me.
No. Because I don’t like ether tool. The head harnesses I hate. The no jump harness is a danger waiting to happen. Nether will teach him the one thing that he has to learn. To do what I say on a regular collar.
You see, I’m cursed with a smart dog. He understands the collar. He understands that he cannot do things on one collar vs another. He will behave like a dream because he HAS to. But we cannot always use this tool and I want him to behave because he is supposed to.
And he is six months old. A six month old dog is not mature. Not even a little bit. In fact, this is the exact age I didn’t want to bring him to class. 4-5 months, the class I didn’t get into, would have been perfect for foundations. Then keep him out till eight or nine.
Instead, he is in class during one of the worst periods he could be. His teeth are in but not settled. His hormones are starting to kick on. That doesn’t make him sexual. It makes him notice more things. The flooring at the school is more interesting then me for instance.
Did I mention he keeps trying to kill himself? It has become a battle to stop him from finding the most random things and consuming them. He figured out how to shred his rope toy with his incisors and ate the entire end. That produced vomiting until it all came up. I think he ate plastic the other day but he swallows it down so fast. He also get my slipper sick, buzzed it in half, and I wound up dragging it out of his throat.
He will eat cardboard. He will eat dirt. I’m not sure I’ve had one that was this mouthy. Nox nipped. Inty just wants everything in his mouth and he wants to eat.
That’s the other thing. He is growing and growing and growing. His weight is good. Dare I say hes a touch to heavy? But he could use more. He’d like more. He doesn’t understand that if he grows to fast it will be devastating for his body.
Because, he is six months old. Nothing changes that but time. And while, halfway through the class I was fighting back sobs of embarrassment while his behavior escalated, I still know he is six months old. And as upsetting as I find it, it won’t be forever.
But, I’m tired. I’m tired of waking up in the morning to his screaming because hes awake and its time to do stuff. Autumn just lays on the bed and stares at us as if it confuses her too. It looks like I won the battle about what time we wake up. For a week he started to get up earlier and earlier and start screaming and barking. I ignored him and he never had an accident and after a solid week of cutting an hour out of my sleep, he stopped.
I enjoy dogs. He is a bigger challenge then most I have had. I’m not going to say there are not hard times and exhausting times. I don’t want to get rid of him or give him up. But he is not an easy dog. Oh, he is house broken. Hes good with the cats. He is a sweet dog. He catches on quickly. He isn’t even that destructive. But he has made me doubt myself. The test of wills is on going. Until I convince this dog that the only way forward is through me, we’re going to be at this.
The funny thing is that I think we’ve created this monster by doing the right thing. My mom’s home with him all day. He gets a steady stream of attention and interaction. Most of my other dogs have had to deal with my work schedule from a young age. I actually think that it has made us, the people and the attention we bring, cheap. He wants to play with other dogs more then he wants to please people.
But, phases. I’m convincing myself of that anyway.