We took Bodhi to Puppy Playtime at Petco where he is learning socialization skills. He is still a fabric toy hog and tires out most of the other dogs by the end of the hour. I wanted to take Keith out to dinner at a sit down restaurant instead of ordering take out and eating at an outside table where Bodhi can hang out with us. We put Bodhi in the backseat of the car with his car halter clicked in. He spread out, luxuriating in comfort. I told Keith that I accept full responsibility for any damage he may cause to my car seat. Whatever he does, I accept the consequences. We opened the car windows and the cool evening air breezed through. We had a celebratory dinner. When we returned to the car, Bodhi half opened his eyes to see that we were back and then went back to sleep. I trusted him and he came through. If Bodhi would have eaten my car seat, I was ready to accept the consequences of my decision. Thankfully, we did not have to find out.
For the past 8 weeks, we have been attending AKC’s Canine Good Citizen class. The 10 item test consists of:
1. Accepting a friendly stranger
2. Sitting politely for petting
3. Appearance and grooming
4. Out for a walk on a loose lead
5. Walking through a crowd
6. Sit and down and stay in place
7. Coming when called
8. Reaction to another dog
9. Reaction to distraction
10. Supervised separation
The first time around he failed sitting politely for petting and supervised separation. After all the other dogs got a chance at the test, the evaluators allowed dogs who failed two items a “do-over.” After waiting about 2 hours, Bodhi was tired, hot, and thirsty. In a state of low energy, he was able to pass the two items without a problem. Bodhi at 4 months and 3 weeks old passed.
I wondered if a human baby at 2 years old could pass the test. It probably depends on the baby.
I just finished listening to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. He points out that in the realm of the universe, the earth is cosmic lint which makes us even less than cosmic lint. That perspective helped me realize that Bodhi and I are only here together for a blink of time. Whatever he does, I don’t have to take it so seriously. Time passes quickly. Take a breath and enjoy.
Now that Bodhi is 4 1/2 months old, he has discovered that he can stand on his hind legs and put his front paws on the kitchen counter. No amount of “Off!” has deterred him yet. When told to sit, he will sit for a few seconds and then up he goes again. He seems to choose a new thing to jump up on each week. As he grows taller, more enticing objects, places – such as the bed- are within reach.
I just read “5 Things We Cannot Change and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them” by David Richo.
The 5 things we cannot change are:
1. Everything changes and ends
2. Things do not always go according to plan
3. Life is not always fair
4. Pain is a part of life
5. People are not loving and loyal all the time
I am trying to accept the fact that Bodhi will continue to change and challenge me in our brief time together. No need to get all worked up about anything he did or didn’t do, wait a day or two and he will have moved on to something else.
After three days of bed rest, Bodhi was back in high gear, racing around the house. Bed rest for a puppy means only walking on a leash, no climbing stairs, and no jumping around. His leg seems better. Lack of exercise resulted in built up energy that exploded like a volcano. He dashed around the living room and crashed into a ceramic cup that I had on a shelf and broke it. Of course, I yelled at him, but I know who didn’t prevent this from happening, me. All the dog books instructed us to puppy proof the house. I thought that as long as he is supervised, he wouldn’t break anything. I was wrong. I gathered all my breakables and stored them in a closet. When we know better, we do better.
Bodhi is four months old, can hold it for four hours in his closet during the day, and eight hours at night. He is in a defiant mode, challenging our authority. Having to be alpha dog is exhausting for me. I understand that I have to be consistent and be not afraid to confront him. We can’t be afraid to use the leash pull to show him that we are the boss and that we are in control. My learning continues.
Dog people use “good dog” as praise. I am trying to use “skillful dog”. Skillful means is a Buddhist concept. That there is no good and bad, just a continuum of skills. There is less judgement. We can all become more skillful. Bodhi and me.
Bodhi has been under the weather. He is not his bouncy, crazy puppy self. We are laying off the exercise and letting him rest. Could it be something we did? He got his vaccinations more than a week ago, could he be having a delayed reaction? He could have hurt himself playing with a bigger dog. Are we overreacting?
When he is lethargic and sleeping a lot, we wish for the crazy, bouncy puppy. When he is healthy and racing around the house the kitchen table, we wish for the calm, mellow, mature dog that he will one day become. One year of puppyhood equals fourteen human years. We will have a teenager soon enough.
Bodhi participated in his first dog show match and he bounced around the ring. The other puppies were calm and serene. It didn’t matter, Bodhi got a ribbon for Best of Breed because he was the only Hungarian Vizsla at the show. That’s the beauty of just showing up.
I understand that he is just a puppy, but I didn’t expect those sharp pointy teeth. To deter him from jumping on me, I was trying to give him his bone, but instead he bit my hand. I was enraged. Keith tapped Bodhi’s muzzle to show him who is the alpha around here as I put band-aides on my fingers cursing. The next day, I brought Bodhi out to play with a neighbor’s dog who had a rope leash. I stepped on the leash, the dog ran and I got a nasty rope burn on the top of my foot. Another large band-aide on my foot. I look like I’ve returned from battle.