Sunday, January 3, 2010

Puppies - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - Part I

Coach is fast approaching five months old and it is time to reflect on the puppy experience so far. My friends are all reminding me that I told them not to let me get a puppy ever again after Jazz. Jazz was cute and annoying and very sick, so he was expensive and scary also. I decided to get Coach because I really wanted to try the puppy experience with a healthy puppy and a little more knowledge.

So we should start with the good part of puppies. There are lots of really great things about having a puppy. They are soft, sweet, cuddly and very, very cute!

How could you not love that puppy?

I have had such a great time teaching Coach tricks and getting to know him. He is very quick to learn and very intense. He does everything with enthusiasm. He has learned to heel quickly. It's been a whole new experience for me to have a puppy that is focused and enthusiastic. He is so much fun to teach and I am so much better equipped to teach him. I am very pleased to feel capable. I was nervous trying to teach Jazz. I remember feeling awkward with a leash in my hand. I couldn't figure out how to hold it and I yanked and jerked poor Jazz. It does me good to remember that time and realize that holding a leash and asking for Coach to cooperate is natural to me now. (Poor Jazz - he really is a better dog than I deserve!) So I am happy to be able to use better methods and have more confidence as I train Coach.

The last reason I wanted a puppy was for the experience of having two dogs. Jazz is a very social dog and loves to play. He is six years old, but he will play until the puppy walks away! I have really enjoyed watching the two dogs build a relationship and seeing how they interact. It has been great for Jazz to have someone besides me to play with. Coach is more centered on me than Jazz is, but he also benefits from having a "big brother." I have learned quite a bit about how to discipline a puppy by watching Jazz. He doesn't worry about hurting anyone's feelings, he doesn't care if it's fair, he just makes a choice and then tells the puppy what to do. Coach never seems to be particularly intimidated, but he usually does what Jazz wants him to do. I think I used to worry about being "mean" or "hurting the dog's feelings." That really is crazy. Jazz has taught me to get rid of that baggage and just tell them what to do. I am feeling pretty good about our little pack. (I know it's early, but one day at a time.)

So the good part of having a puppy is:
They are just darn cute and cuddly.
Training a puppy is fun and helps me see how much I have learned.
Building a pack and seeing dog social behaviors has been fascinating and instructive.

We'll talk about the Bad next time.


  1. The upside-down pic is absolutely adorable. I want to rub his tummy. Can't wait to see the two of you at class Wednesday. And can't wait to hear what's coming next.

  2. Hey, both of his ears are up!! Even when he's UPSIDE DOWN!!! G

  3. He is so cute! Would love to see him again. Coming up to any agility trials ?