Christmas came and went. When we had first planned the prospective puppy timeline, and based on some very early guesses from the breeder, I had placed my bet in the “we’re getting a puppy” pool on a vague date between my birthday (near the end of November) and Christmas. So, in my imaginary, completely unrealistic sketchy planning we had a puppy for the holidays. It all worked out in the end, but not because I’m a good predictor of puppy breeding cycles.

“becuz mer paws are kold”

I’ve had a little more than a whole week off work as I write this, and another week to follow, so we’ve been working on ways to kill some of the free time that results from a pandemic-timed vacation when you can’t really go anywhere of significance. The pup and I have been (safely) touring the local greenspace, avoiding contact with other dogs for her (because of diseases) and avoiding contact with other humans for me (because of COVID). She is getting better. It actually hasn’t come easy. We’re working into the walking habit, but she is very reluctant and spends the first hundred meters or so cautiously planting and inching forward.

“i peeze alone now”

One of the greatest development has come in a minor upgrade to her potty training. Step one was getting her to stop peeing inside. Step two was taking her outside and having her pee. Step three (ta-da!) has been opening the backdoor and letting her out to pee. It’s not quite the deepest bitter cold heart of winter yet, but that’s coming up soon, and the less I need to dash outside in my pajamas to make the pup squat the better for me. I love her, but I’m all for independence for some of this stuff.

“take it er leave it”

The complexity of behaviors that we’re working on has increased. The basic SIT and SHAKE commands are fun and all, but as we’ve been increasing our range around the house and beyond, the pup needs to understand more obedience-focused rules. To that end we’ve been trying to build up some understanding of the TAKE IT and LEAVE IT commands. She’s a smart puppy, but this is a tricky set of rules that mean ignoring the natural inclination to eat everything. We’re officially working against instinct now.

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