Puppies as patience practice

The moment I’ve been waiting for has arrived!  Casey has now been with me for 2 weeks and has decided this really is his home.  What does this mean?  It’s time to test his puppy boundaries!  So, as expected, this amazingly well behaved puppy of the last 2 weeks has started become a little tester – can I get by with …?  At 10 months old, he’s decided that being a calm dog is just plain boring.  And he’s right, of course.  The impulse control training focus of the first week, especially, is really all about teaching him how to be calm and ok with boredom.  Now that we’ve reached the testing phase, this is where I get to practice even more patience, consistency, and being very very clear with what is and is not allowed.

beagle chewing shoeSo, what kind of testing is he doing?  What boundary questions is he asking? Here’s a partial list:

  • If I start yipping when I want something, will I get what I want?  Answer = no.
  • Since this is my toy box, is the box next to it with vacuum cleaner parts available, too?  Answer = no
  • Can I sneak up on the bed when no one is in the room?  Answer = no
  • When I’m feeling playful, can I nip just a little bit?  Answer = no
  • How about if I start yipping to demand play time?  Answer = no
  • If I can’t get on the sofa, can I at least put my front feet on it or on a footstool?  Answer = no
  • Can I sneak a tissue out of the waste basket?  Answer = no
  • and so on

In other words, it’s getting to the stage where he’s no longer needing to be under foot every moment.  What this means is that I have to pay very close attention when it suddenly gets quiet.  He might just be checking things out, but …

My patience practice is in having to quietly and frequently let him know what is and is not allowed – for example, these things are your toys and these other things are not.  And, at times, this is literally happening every 2-3 minutes.  To me, this is one of the many great gifts of dogs – it reminds me to be constantly aware of what’s going on while staying calm and not getting frustrated.

Casey in a calm moment

Casey in a calm moment

As I often say, dogs can teach us so much if we let them!

As I wrote that last sentence, he came out of a bedroom dragging a headset….  And so it continues.

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