Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Harry Potter & Puppies

I want nothing more than to curl up on my huge over sized couches, with a steaming cup of hot chocolate (made with 2% milk, not water or it's dairy equivalent, skim) and read Harry Potter. It's rained almost an inch in the past 24 hours, making our driveway just about un-walkable. Fantastic for potty training a baby puppy, let me tell you! It's super windy too! You feel like you're stepping out onto the Oregon Coast. That is, when you do actually decide to venture out because you have to go to work despite the hot chocolate and Harry Potter calling your name. Yes, I am complaining. In case you don't follow the calendar, today is April 26. That is 4 days away from May. Oh, and in case you don't live in Minnesota, there's a possibility we might get snow tonight. For three seconds, just bear with me, feel bad and I can move on.... Okay, I'm headed home in 48 minutes. I will bare the stormy outdoors, but I'll make it. I'll be fine.

The Hubs and I recently started "intense puppy training." By recently, I mean yesterday. Remy was starting be a bit of a turd to put it very nicely. Obviously, we got a male puppy which comes with certain characteristics. He likes to push his boundaries, trying to establish that he is in charge and the leader of our "pack" of McCoys (including Aruba). We both noticed a recent change in his behavior and so, I did a bit of good ol' internet research. Did you know that a dog that likes to sit on your lap is really just establishing that he (or she) is in charge? Yeah, I didn't know that either. Oops. And I just thought that Remy thought that he was a lap dog. Did you ALSO know that a dog that is still wired and bouncing around the house after a long, lonnnggg walk is really just not getting "mentally" exercised? Apparently, dogs need to be shown that they are not in charge and not the leader for them to relax. Yeah, didn't know that either. Sorry, Remy, apparently we kinda screwed up on you a bit. However, at least it's a puppy and not a small child. Whew. So, starting yesterday we decided to do a couple of things:
  • Use his crate as a "HIS area" - meaning we put him in it when we are cleaning up the kitchen, folding laundry, etc. He stays in the same room as us and we move it when we go to a different room, so he observes and is still a part of the fam.
  • Strict potty training - after he eats, he goes straight into his crate for 30 minutes then we take him out to "eliminate" (that's the word the training websites used, I prefer pee or poo, but whatevs). If he doesn't go, he goes back in his crate. If he does go, he gets rewarded with playing with us and being out of his crate. 
  • Establishing that humans are in charge (this one is the hardest for me). It includes silly things I never even thought of before like: he must walk behind people when going for walks (the leader walks in front), he has to exit/enter a door after people, he must come to you when you call him (don't go to him), he must sit before going outside and coming inside.
Obviously, there is more to it, but those are the major basics. Can I just say that even last night, I couldn't believe Remington was the one and the same puppy that took off running home on our regular early morning walks? That's probably what stemmed this whole training process. I took him for our morning walk that we go on every single morning before I go off to work. Well, we were about half way to our turn around point, so we still had quite a ways to go and he suddenly decided that we were going to have a change of plans. He looked right at me, our eyes met, there was a pause and then he turned around and TOOK OFF sprinting to the house. Not cool dude, not cool. But after even an afternoon of this new approach to training, he was relaxed and chill. Like a totally different pup. Obviously, since we're establishing that we're in charge and making the decisions, he didn't have anything to worry about. It was fan-flippin-tastic. Example: we knew that Remy understood the word sit. But since he thought he was in charge, he didn't feel it was necessary to listen unless we pushed his cute little tushy down. Last night and today, I just have to look at him and say, "Sit." I have never seen a little tush plop down so quickly. Love it. 

Oh, and on a totally different note from loving adorable animals that just give you fuzzies inside... Yesterday morning, the Hubs shot a turkey. Yes, kind of gross to have freshly cut piles of meat in your fridge. However, to have battered, fried delicious turkey with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce for dinner made it all worth it. It even made finding a turkey feather on my gallon of milk worth it. It was amazing. The Hubs is an incredibly talented cook and once again surprised me with a scrumptious wild game dinner. There's nothing quite like killing your dinner before breakfast, oh what a life.... Apologies if you are vegetarian or vegan....

To leave this windy, blustery Tuesday afternoon on a happy thought, here's a picture of the little turd-turned-awesome-baby-puppy that will melt the hardest of hearts:  

(please note the camo collar, Remington brand of course)

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