Thursday, March 23, 2006

17 - 18 Weeks

A few notes about training and discipline: Now that my work schedule has gotten back to normal, Savage and I are trying to get in at least two 20 minute walks a day. The only problem we're having is that in the mornings he is so wired that walking on a leash is a nightmare. I think he really resents being held back, and is constantly trying to eat the leash. This doesn't make for a very peaceful outing. When he's excited and I let him off-leash he sometimes gets into this habit of nipping at my jacket sleeves and legs. I was hoping that he was getting over this phase, but apparently it's going to take more time. Thank god that he gets enough exercise playing with Ted and Roger, and also just running around the house. I now realize the importance of a big fenced-in yard, because we have to walk for a bit before I can let him run without a leash, and let me tell you, when he gets in this mood, walks are not very fun for either of us. The house plans R. and I made for our new house (hopefully completed this summer) include a huge fenced-in area, dog doors, ample space for his crate inside, and lots of floor space for him to range around indoors. When I bought Savage, I knew that a fenced-in yard was pretty necessary but figured we could wait until summer. Now I'm realizing I should have planned for even a temporary fence system at the place we're living now. In any case, Savage is getting a good amount of exercise and play, but it will be easier on both of us when we finally move to our new home. Other than that, he's been behaving very well. His chewing obsession has become concentrated on his toys rather than R.'s hands, for the most part, and he's learned that "no means no!" as far as nipping at other people in play. Since he's been with us, I've left the kitchen garbage can where it has always been, and have scolded him every single time he's nosed into it. I want to make sure he knows that garbage is off-limits, no matter what. For the last month or so he will approach the garbage and stand still, checking to see if anyone is watching, before he moves any closer. As soon as he touches it, I say "no" loudly, and he backs up and looks at me like "where did you come from?". Then I call him and take his mind off it. It is working great now, but took a while for him to resist. When we have dinner I used to put him in his crate in order to discourage begging for food. Now he will check out what we're eating, but after a reprimand, he moves into the living room to take out his frustration on his toys. He seems to be "getting it" but it's hard to get everyone that visits to treat him the same as R. and I do. People are usually inclined to cut puppies a lot of slack, letting them chew on their fingers, or eat from their plates, so I hope Sav isn't getting too many mixed messages. All in all, Savage knows good from bad, right from wrong, but being a puppy, wants to stretch all the boundaries. As I read over this, it sounds like I'm being a dictator with my dog, but in truth, Savage is generally happy-go-lucky. But he will also grow up to know that nipping is not allowed, garbage is not to be touched, and someday, walking on a leash is FUN! I'm crossing my fingers.


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