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Warning: Puppy ownership is not for the faint of heart.
Nor the broke of wallet.
Nor the already-lacking in time or sleep.
No, the acquisition of a young pup is certainly a task not to be taken lightly. It’s a big commitment that should last the lifetime of the animal.
Then again, it’s not to be taken too heavily, either. In fact, one must remember to keep one’s sense of humor firmly intact throughout the course of puppy training.
A light heart particularly comes in handy when standing on frosty ground in a flimsy pair of slippers, picking up steaming piles of you-know-what (which the husband “forgot” to clean up. Who needs training here?)
A knack for seeing the brighter side of things also is useful in those times when the world’s smartest 4-month-old dog suddenly draws a blank at the words “come,” “sit” and “lie down” – even when she just obeyed the same commands 60 times the day before. (This typically will happen while you’re attempting to show off your dog’s genius to a group of friends – or in front of an entire room of puppy-class attendees.)
It’s likely you’ll forget all about the naughty puppy kindergarten behavior as soon as she casts a knowing, sideways glance in your direction as if to say, “We’re in this together, babe.” That incident with the bird and the chasing and the hiding under the deck in clear defiance will melt away as soon as she licks your face. All the pain of that $246 vet bill dissolves under the head carefully placed on your lap.
Ah, yes, we never quite knew the bliss that comes with puppy parenthood until we had one of our own.
The amusement and delight turn sour, however, when sweet pup proves to actually like the taste of “Bitter Yuck” spray when applied to furniture. Or, when the 20-pound package of cuteness wriggles away and takes off running down the alley thanks to Stupid Human Who Opened the Fence Gate Before Puppy Was Leashed.
Yes, the human is the only one to blame for the vast majority of the naughty things sweet little puppy does. Don’t open the gate before the dog is on leash, and she won’t have a chance to piddle in the neighbor’s yards unfettered. Actually spend time teaching her the “off” command (however deaf she may be to this particular rule), and you won’t need the yucky spray that’s apparently delicious when paired with the taste of $800 chaise lounge.
Keep her healthy, busy and close to expensive treat-filled toys at all times, and even when she grows into a 60-pound powerhouse with far more muscle than you could hope to gain, she’ll most certainly come to obey your every command.
About the Author - Lori Carlson, editor, Prior Lake American newspaper.