Training the Maniac - Raising a Puppy Part 3
This morning my husband said, “I want to be an empty nester!” Do you know why? Lucy came bounding through the family room barricade this morning at 6:00 a.m. just before I left on a road trip to Cincinnati for an India Hicks get together. I scurried to catch her but was unsuccessful and she ran straight upstairs for the softest carpet in the house to do her morning big job right in the middle of the second floor game room. Oops! Dave was livid. As I closed the front door and said good bye, David was muttering bad words under his breath carrying the red bottle of Resolve and a wad of paper towels.
Now honestly, Lucy is mostly potty trained except for when we are not on top of it. We have decided to get nice gates for the openings into our kitchen/hearth room to avoid this barricade problem. She keeps knocking down the barricade of folded U-Haul boxes and dining room chairs. No more! Dave says we are investing in gates!!!
Aside from potty training, puppies need lots of other types of training. When Lucy started growing, a couple of weeks after she came home, she became a maniac. She got really comfortable with us and became unruly enough that we had to call an in-home trainer. She was puppy biting us constantly, and although she was just playing, her razor-sharp teeth really hurt and sometimes drew blood! Yikes!
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I was working in my home office one day. I was on a conference call, and I heard our housekeeper, Richard say, “Your momma’s gonna whip you!” to Lucy. He just kept saying it over and over.
Pretty soon, he came in my office waving his arms for me to come out and see what Lucy did. I help up one finger to say, “Just a minute,” as I finished my call. He took me to the gated laundry room area where we had allowed her to be (unkenneled) when people were home. There it was. My beautiful black and white toile wallpaper - literally torn off the wall! Not just a corner but a huge piece! I have no idea how she did this……
Mike Deathe, with Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) Dog Training, came to the rescue. He looked over the space where we hang out in our home and suggested we get two crates, one for the back laundry room where she sleeps and one for the family room for “time out” when she gets crazy and starts biting.
He said it is super important for puppies to play with other dogs for socialization and to get their energy out. Lucy has really enjoyed this and so have we. She regularly visits her cousin, Dudley, a 5-month-old Newfoundland and a friend, Rosie, a full-grown chocolate lab who looks like she could be Lucy’s sister.
Mike also suggested that for 30 days we “hand feed” Lucy the 1 1/2 cups of dry food twice a day, a few pieces at a time. For each small handful, she had to perform a command. Then we would say, “Good Girl!” I couldn’t believe my ears. Every meal for 30 days?! This was not what I signed up for. David, Wesley, Chloie and I looked at each other in dismay. We would all need to switch off on this duty.
Her tricks were: Sit, Down, Leave it, Watch Me and Go Get It. He had purposes behind all of these commands, and after 30 days now, can you believe she is so much better with every member in our family? She is! Her puppy biting is now rare instead of constant.
As soon as we started bragging about how well behaved she was, however, we got a visit from my brother and his wife. Lucy was unruly AGAIN! She jumped up on his lap, bit Candy, his wife and wouldn’t let her walk! So much for training. It all went out the window.
She is also now advancing to jumping. Jumping up on tables, jumping up to the height of our kitchen island to get food, and jumping up on people. By the way, we open the refrigerator, and she thinks it’s hers! I don’t know how she got this in her brain - it makes no difference if we put her in time out or say, “No!”
Apparently, we are due for another visit from Mike. And after the routine of training her around family, I guess we need to work on new people as she gets super excited to meet them. Sigh!
Mike cannot fit us in for two weeks and it is an understatement to say we cannot wait for his return.