(Social media disclaimer. As I talk about Eukanuba, it is as an employee of P&G Pet Care. However, anything I say in praise of Eukanuba supports my personal belief that we make some great pet food now. No kidding, y'all. It's totally true)
A question for you. So, what does a puppy experiencing the canine equivalent of the Terrible Twos do?
Whatever she wants, of course.
We're going through a phase here at the Sword House. Where the word No happens a lot. Oh, but even that is in competition with the puppy raiser. Like a toddler, Miss Euka is becoming aware of her ability to make her own decisions. Events where the otherwise solid recall, Euka! Here! is met with a passive-aggressive response of I don't know what that annoying buzzing sound is, but this blade of grass is worth a leisurely snort. And our Euka is a clever girl, right? If she finds me in a distracted state, she'll ensure that I'll repeat a command once or twice just to watch me do it.
This is a behavioral period where a puppy raiser needs to stay focused. If the pup's rewarded with getting away with a delayed response to a command, by having me repeat it, this will be a beast to fix later. So Sit means Sit, little missy. I'm only gonna say it once, then me and you are gonna have a stare down. A raised eyebrow and head tilt from the puppy raiser, then Oh! You mean Sit! I know that one. This whole que pasa thing from the puppy isn't fooling me. At five months old, she's aware of proper behavior.
|Yeah, we had one of those weeks.|
Euka is with me during the workday; most days you'll find us at the P&G office where Eukanuba is headquartered. And many times, the mighty Micron, an office veteran, is with us as well. So Euka's been getting rather comfortable down here on the cube farm and makes herself at home. Which means she's been taking on a rather casual attitude lately. You know what, Food Lady? she tells me. I feel like barking at Micron. He's just laying there and it's really annoying me. woof woof bawoof rawr . . .
Euka! Quiet! I say. Use your inside voice, girl. Ah, but this is a reminder that she's just a pup and so we'll be heading out to the play park at lunch where I'll run the snot out of her for a while with a yellow tennis ball. With luck, we'll meet another pup out there and they can detox together.
For an extra adventure this past week, we moved some folk around to different desks and we are enjoying a new cube neighbor, Gail. Euka likes our new neighbor and finds her very interesting. She want to spend more time with Gail and is vexed to find herself ignored when the rest of us are deep in the throes of getting work done.
Euka is tethered to my desk, compliant with our office pet policy. A generous range, however, with two leashes connected to give her a wide area to command. Ah, but not wide enough. Euka can't reach around the cubicle wall to see Gail. What's a girl to do about this? Right, you know the answer.
Whatever she wants.
If you can't go around the cube wall and you can't go under, there's nothing to do about it but try going over. I see a flash of yellow head appear in my peripheral vision. A moment of denial - no, that couldn't be - but the sound of puppy claws trying to gain purchase on the cubicle panel on her way back down brings me back to reality.
Familiar with the term Prairie Dogging? It's when your co-workers' heads pop up collectively from all over the office to see what that sound was. It's like a flippin' gopher field in here. Witnesses always make these things better.
Holy sh. . . really, Euka? Dang it, ok now we're gonna see how long you can hold a Down. No, no, right here. On the bed under my desk. Yep, that'll do for a bit. Self-control, my love. It'll do you good in life.
At five months old, we know this is an important time to start proofing the basics too. We'll be hitting the public venues now. Euka's sporting her big girl cape while we visit the library and make quick stops at Starbucks, like we did yesterday.
We meet a family, a mom and her two young girls, just outside the library. Is she working? asks the mom. She is, I said. But she's here to learn proper greetings, too. Let's have her sit and then she can be petted.
Sit, Euka. Holy cow, she does. Huh. Well, this is going quite well. This is Euka, I say. She's a puppy in training to . . . Ack! Euka! Off!
Euka has had enough of this sitting nonsense and jumps up to lick one of the girls on the lips. Well, crapola. I'm sorely embarrassed, but not yet defeated.
Ok, I say to the girl as she uses the back of her hand to swipe away the puppy french kiss. You can help me train her, right? Let's have Euka sit again. If she tries to jump up, just put your hands behind your back until she sits back down. She only gets petted if her butt is on the ground.
Ah, lovely. That goes much better. We enter the library where they have no idea of my first name, but still ask about Puppy #1 Inga. And Puppies #2 and #3. And things go well here on our first walk through. We greet adults, children and a babe in arms. A pretty Sit, no jumping and the occasional Shake. Good girl, Euka, I say each time. Well done.
I know these puppy terrible two's won't last. I just gotta stay strong. Keep focused and pay attention to reinforce the good stuff.
Because after this, we're going into the puppy tween period.