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an adolescent puppy returns

06 June 2011
You Just Confused Me Someone Who Cares:

yes, your puppy really thinks like this!

Whenever things get back to the status quo, people refer to it as a “return to normalcy.”

Last week, life with our 6-month-old Great Dane puppy returned to normalcy.

Normalcy was a return to the capricious drama of puppy adolescence. The faultless behavior she displayed to B2 the previous weekend disappeared into the fog of history. Chutzpaw returned in its insolent glory!

In five days, we experienced thievery, recalcitrance, belligerence…and a few more descriptives ending with “nce.”

Wednesday Night Sprints

Wednesday night found us (me, MW and OD and Luna) crossing the street to train at the local public school. We carried a bag of dog treats and the intent to work with Luna on walking at heel and “come-heres.”

Having missed her morning walk, Luna was as skitzy as an addict trying to kick heroin. From biting her leash to gamboling like a Lipizzaner stallion, it was quickly obvious (within the first 100 yards) that she wasn’t in the mood for training, voice correction or anything resembling calm.

We released her from the leash and the tornado started; 40-yard bursts, quick 180-degree turns and more sprints. A bit of recovery and then more frantic sprinting as if she was running from an Animal Control officer. Corralling her took more than 10 minutes, until the lure of treats overwhelmed the lure of yet another crazed dash across the baseball diamond.

Thursday – The Bread Thief

Ciabatta loaf:

if you’re going to steal food, might as well steal the good stuff

Having just started to love butter, she switched her thieving to bread. Not a slice of morning toast bread, though. No, 1/5 of a really yummy ciabatta loaf that the local Whole Foods markets as artisanal.

I’d last seen the loaf when I’d made a sandwich about 30 minutes earlier. The remainder was to accompany dinner that evening. I left it in the middle of the kitchen island on a cutting board.

I was working again in the office, and heard Luna thunder up the staircase. (She only does this when chasing LC, or seeking an escape from a just-committed misdemeanor). The noise suddenly paused and I found her frozen on the landing, staring at me. Something tan stuck in her mouth, filing her cheeks, and sticking out just enough to tease my curiosity and launch a closer investigation.

Nothing could save part of our dinner entrée.

The crust had been a challenge. She hadn’t had enough time to shift it around in her mouth and apply her teeth. I think it might have actually been stuck in her mouth. So there she stood, just staring at me while making what should have augmented our tomato barley soup ever soggier. I pried it from her mouth and returned to writing.

Friday – Vegetal Destruction

In the morning, Luna’s BF Zoe escaped her house next door and raced over for an impromptu morning playdate. Ignoring the closed garden gate and the falling rain, she shoved it open and started frantically banging on the back door.

Luna took this as a behavioral invitation. It could have been an ice cream truck, and she a 6-year-old rising kindergartener on a 100-degree summer day. From placid to unhinged in mere seconds, she suddenly wanted outside more than the door wanted to stop her. Avoiding a potential repair to the lock, I let her rush outside.

Neither Luna nor Zoe has any sense of moderation. Play is full-on, 100 mph energy. Unfortunately, both dogs have grown to the point that our garden is becoming a very small oval racetrack. Far too small for the speeds they hit while chasing each other on the perimeter of the lawn. It’s a Great Dane chasing a Bernese Mountain Dog in a space better suited to Yorkshire Terriers.

Because the corners aren’t banked like a velodrome, momentum often sends them farther outside in a centrifugal loss of control. This is where galloping puppy paws trample ready-to-bloom hopes. Our greenery paid the ultimate price.

Green leaves and flower petals were trampled. The dirt, soaked by the unseasonable rain, was churned to mud while Luna and Zoe did their best Whirling Dervish impressions.

After the Destruction, the Inventory

Fifteen minutes later, their gas tanks were as empty as our hopes for many of the plants that would have otherwise have bloomed this month.

Zoe returned home with her Dad. After Luna’s paws were wiped, she flopped on the couch ready for a post-whirlwind snooze.

MW and I looked around, thinking that a 3-acre backyard, more than 15 times larger than ours, would be a good thing to have this summer.

It’s what every adolescent puppy needs, if not, deserves.

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