As I took the "Whole Dog Journal" magazine from Fern, I said, "Fernly, WHY are you such a bad dog? Why must you get into mischief all the time?" She looked at me inquiringly and said very distinctly, "How was I to know that I should not take that magazine off the bar stool? You never told me I couldn't do that!" Yes, I heard her say that, or maybe I just read it in her expression. . .
Fern is not what I would call an "easy" puppy. She's very active, always busy, way too smart, incredibly curious, and already seems to have a wicked sense of humor. She misses absolutely nothing, and MUST check out all new objects and anything else of interest. It must be studied, smelled, and often tasted as well. I've raised a lot of puppies over the years and some were easy, while others were more of a challenge. We often joke that the dumb ones are the easiest to raise and the best for pet homes, yet the smart ones are incredibly entertaining and often amazingly funny, and they do grow up to be wonderful companions. BUT they take a lot more time and patience!
This is not an easy time for Fern. Because it gets dark so early there is no time to take her running after work, on-leash walks just don't do it for her. Weekend runs just aren't enough for her. The puppies will take an increasing amount of my time too. Fern will enjoy all the visitors, but because she'll get so excited I may have to keep her on leash, at least at first. She's very easily stimulated and will definitely jump up on and climb all over visitors. It will provide lots of training moments, but if she's like her Grandpa Argus it will be a long time before she actually has Company Manners. It's much easier to manage and control a single dog - an enthusiastic puppy with all the competition for attention is much more of a challenge.
Fern was a Puppy Kindergarten drop out because of my broken hand, so it's time to get back to class with her. We work for awhile every evening, doing Sit, Down, Stand, Stay, Watch, and Walk (not formal heeling), and she's very good - when there are no distractions. Home training does NOT take the place of a good obedience class!
Beginners Obedience starts a week from Saturday, Hooray! Although I ask my puppy buyers to attend training school or obedience club classes, Fern & I will be going to PetCo to train with Carol. Many of the pet shop trainers have gone through their company's classes to train "trainers", but are not actually very qualified. Carol is a trainer at my local PetCo and I have gotten to know her over the years and respect her knowledge of dogs and training methods. Her sister also breeds and shows dogs, AND Carol feeds her dogs a raw diet, just as we do. The store is only a mile away, which will be nice when the weather is bad, and classes are Saturday afternoon. My only conflict will be the weekend of the local dog shows. Hopefully we get through the entire class before Fern comes in season!
This too shall pass - but not without a fair amount of work on my part. Good dogs don't "just happen". They are raised to be that way. I know Fern will grow up to be a Good Dog - it will just take time!