8 Weeks 5 Days- Play Retrieve

Sep 7, 2004 | Stitch's Story

We do some “work” this morning on the third part of retrieving – play retrieve. Throw a crumpled paper about ten times. She runs after it, grabs it, brings it back. The last one is a little roundabout, so I quit and give it to her. Scuba and I will pick up the pieces later.

Take her breakfast out to the screen room to work on retrieving. Glad I’m paying attention. She decides it would be easier to jump on the couch and get the food right out of the dish. Fortunately she’s too small to jump on the couch, which makes her mad, so she walks around for a minute yapping and whining. Finally glares at me and plunks her little butt down – CLICK! TREATTREATTREAT! Oh, she figures, I guess this really is easier than jumping up. So we work Sit and Watch for a while. She’s doing so well with the eye contact that I put both my clicker hand and my food hand out on my knees so she can see them. THAT throws her for a bit. Look at the clicker? Look at the food? Clicker? Food? ARGH neither of these is working! What to do? Oh YEAH – eye contact! CLICK! TREATTREATTREAT! From there we’re off and running. She’s doing so well I start using the cue, Watch. How incredibly rewarding for me to see this tiny puppy deliberately looking past food to find my eyes! Did I mention I’m all googly about this little thing?

THEN we move on to the dumbell. Touch in hand, moving quickly to touching only the bar, and we get one accidental open-mouth hit on the bar. Very good. Next we put it on the floor and she goes for it – to the left of her, to the right, behind her. It’s amazing how much you can get done with 150 kibbles. I’m going to have to be alert – she’s very fast and she’s hit the dumbell with her paws a couple of times. I need to be careful that I don’t click those.

Excellent session. And around the house, under the right circumstances, she’s responding to her Sit cue – Park It (I don’t think my brain or my mouth are up to Stitch Sit).

She ducks slightly when I pick the dish up off the couch. Going into her 8-week fear period? I’ll have to keep my eyes open.

A Medical Morning, and another big Discussion. Her ears are a little goopy. The vet tells me that a good cleaning will probably take care of it without any drugs, so I wait until she appears a little sleepy and start cleaning them. She tells me to stay away from her ears. I tell her to knock it off. She tells me to Stay The Hell Away From Her Ears. I pick her up by the scruff and ribcage and KNOCK IT OFF again. Her response is short but furious, teeth flying. When she gives up, she lies still, perfectly happy to let me clean her ears.

This is what I expect from the start of a fear period – the pup gets a bit too big for her britches. Another clue: this morning when I put Scuba’s breakfast down, the twerp actually tried to muscle her out of the way to get the food. Mwah ha, small and foolish! This might work in your dreams… The actual fear period then will be her over-reaction to the world’s response to her obnoxiousness. Totally equated to the Terrible Twos. All I need to do is make sure the rules are in place and I don’t lose my temper.

The mantra of the puppy owner: we’ll all live through this. We’ll all live through this. We’ll all live through this.

The mantra of the puppy: NO!