I had sent out a plea to the dog trainers of San Diego to heeeelllllllllllpppppp, and I had a scheduled phone consultation.
That phone call was encouraging, the trainer reassured me that most of the behaviors I described were normal for puppies, and that it's common for dog owners to forget the woes of puppydom when remembering the overall disposition of a family dog. That reminded me that although we've got nothing but loving memories of our dear departed Porgie girl, she did once eat a whole couch.
So we set up an in-home session with this person, mostly because she was the fastest to respond and we had e-mailed throughout that whole first day. That evening, I had a couple of really nice e-mails from another trainer, one who had young kids and seemed totally positive and cool. But I stuck with the plan I had made, which turned out to be a mistake. That first trainer was not good. We didn't "click" (puppy training humor, God I'm pathetic). She was more interested in selling us the 5 lesson package than she was in helping us. She made all of us feel like incompetent idiots, especialy the kids, who had to pretend to be puppies while my husband and I practiced our clicker skills. She was scary.
I called that other woman, I had a good feeling about her. And that was the right move After our first lesson, she e-mailed:
Your puppy is starting off with a perfect family dog temperament and your kids are nice and they will be working on linking their contact with treats so I expect that your puppy will be great with your kids.
She invited us to bring Moki to her house for a playdate with her dog.We've got tricks up our sleeve now, and when Moki gets the devil in her, the kids can grab their clickers and treats and coax her to sit, lie down, touch her nose to various objects, and our favorite: relax on a mat. That one is going to come in very handy.
Don't get me wrong, she's still a puppy, and she's still completely demented. And she's bigger, and finds new and surprising trouble every 3 or 4 seconds. But the training really helps, it's just a matter of finding the balance between working with her and just enjoying her. It's just like parenting, sometimes we have to remind ourselves that every moment does not have to be teachable, sometimes we should just savor the special kind of crazy that this little one brings to our otherwise predictable household.
I imagined that this post would be filled with adorable photos, but she is never still, and the kids and I have a flight out of town at the crack of dawn's ass, and I've got to finish packing. I do have a first attempt at showing a video, I'd say the odds are 50/50 that it will work.
Remember Bambi and Barbie?
But just in case the video doesn't work, I want to leave you with a beautiful image of humankind. A photo that I took a couple of nights ago when man walked in to the restaurant where my family was dining, sat by himself, and acted like he was completely normal.