Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Something new, something (really) old.

I got home from work this morning and when I went upstairs to change, I saw something that looked like white plaster lying on the carpet. It was a smattering of tiny chunks of what looked like drywall. I picked up a few pieces and couldn't figure out what it was. I asked Rockwell but he looked as mystified as I was. He also looked completely innocent. I looked up, expecting to see a hole in the ceiling. Nothing. I looked into my sewing room and nothing looked amiss. Then I looked into the guest room and saw on the floor, the tiny pillow on which had sat a tiny, plaster figurine of a Labrador puppy. It was only the size of the palm of your hand but it was completely gone except for these tiny plaster crumbs, some of which were also on the floor in the guest room.

I turned to Rockwell and pointed and said, "j'accuse!" but he didn't even flinch. He had completely forgotten that he had eaten this thing. And so my precious puppy figurine is gone. So now I have to decide, do I close all the doors upstairs again whenever I go out? I think the answer must be yes. And what else should I do? I don't know.

The "old" thing was the refusal to come home after I decided the walk (outing) was over. I took him out for our usual second walk of the morning and this time, I spent an hour sitting on the bench by the commercial complex. Quite a few people stopped this time to pet him and talk to me and so he had a LOT of company and stimulation. He'd get up and find something the chew on, I'd haul him out from under the bench from time to time, people would pet him, and there was constant movement from people coming and going and cars driving by to cyclists. Finally I got up and he walked quietly and nicely with me until we got back into the neighbourhood. And then he lay down. So each time he lay down, I gave him the command to sit-stay and waited. And waited. Then I'd ask him to "come" and he did for a bit and then he'd lie down again. It took us 30 minutes to cover the distance I walk in about 3 minutes at a leisurely pace.

I don't even mind looking like an idiot, standing outside, waiting for my dog to exhibit good behaviour. What I mind is not being able to MAKE him do what I want him to do. I mind that he has not made the connexion between my saying "good dog" and him actually walking in the direction I want. And I am mostly annoyed with myself because I let this thing happen and then escalate to where I cannot walk him at all without it being a constant confrontation. So during the 30 minutes it took to walk home, I told myself that this was a remedial lesson for both of us. In the end, I still had to physically put his feet under him and rush him to the door before he could lie down for the third time in the driveway. Argh. I am hoping I can fix this over the weekend so I'll be outside a lot, if you want to get a hold of me.


At 2:51 p.m., September 08, 2006, Blogger M-Fax said...

been there, just when you think the training is done, they set you back.

keep strong

I am actually in ottawa this weekend! Hope the weather is nice.

At 2:55 p.m., September 09, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Thanx MFax, I am trying to maintain sanity. Sorry about the weather in Ottawa today - hope it gets better tomorrow!


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