April 9, 2016

On the alert for squirrels

Annie has been with us since late June of last year. She turned a year old on Valentine’s day. She’s still a long, lean dog, and she stands taller than Ruby. She’s grown into her big paws and legs, and looks more like an adult than a big puppy.

She’s still behaving like a puppy, especially her jumping. But we seem to be getting a handle on that, and it’s as much about training us, her owners, as training her to respond to our “no don’t jump” command. So we’re working on the finer points of doodle-human communications, and it’s beginning to work. I carry a bag of treats around in my pocket to reward her when she’s good, and I’m now beginning to hold off rewarding her every time.

There’s nothing wrong with Annie. She’s a good, sweet creature who wants more than anything to please us. When she jumps it’s out of enthusiasm and a love for us, not out of meanness. She just doesn’t understand. To be truthful I love the full out enthusiasm she displays. When she starts running, for example, her first move is a little leap into the year, followed by full-out running. And that energy and drive has re-invigorated Ruby. They play together for long and intense periods, and they are now truly bonded as a pair. Annie has given Ruby a second lease on life, and I’m truly grateful for that.

You walk a delicate line when you complain about a dog. You need to consider all of a dog’s aspects, not just the one that might annoy you. And when you do complain about a dog, remember that while a dog might be intelligent, it’s a doggish intelligence. You, the person, have he necessary brain processing to figure out what’s wrong and then fix it.

Annie has been a love as well as a challenge, with the love winning out overwhelmingly over the challenge. Annie makes life with her interesting and enjoyable.