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Part 2: From Puppy Mess to Progress

Mark and I have had Jones for two and a half months now. Despite all of his incidents, he is a very sweet dog. He loves to snuggle in the evenings. He’s attentive. When he romps through the house with chew toys it is comical. He adores his big brother Buster.

Because of how sweet and loving he is, we want to make sure his a-hole side doesn’t flourish. So, we hired a dog trainer. You might think that is fancy, but it’s not. Jones has a tendency to rocket out the front door, chase forest dwelling animals, and snarl at grandmothers hobbling down the sidewalk. For us, the dog trainer is just the right thing to do.

Denise, the dog trainer, has come to our home one time so far, and will be returning three more times.

After the first session, I was convinced that upon completion of these lessons, Jones might just be the smartest dog in the United States Of America. Okay, fine, the smartest dog in all of North America.

Denise is a small woman, with long brown curly hair, and a southern accent. She is direct and confident and I like her a lot. She had Jones sitting, staying, coming when called, and dropping it (dropping things that he had collected in his mouth) in no time at all. It was magic. In one hour, our dog had become the perfect gentleman. I was so encouraged.

She left us with a lexicon of 12 commands that she was certain Jones could learn. She wrote each command down and the definition of that command. They say that a dog can learn about 165 words with consistency and training. Our homework was to work on just four of the commands and I am reporting with great enthusiasm that Jones is doing great. And as a cool bonus, Buster is learning too!

Jones does best with the command wait. Wait means “pause in action.” Something he wants is going to happen, he just needs to hold tight. When I open the door to let the dogs out to the bathroom, I say wait and they won’t go through the door until I say “OK”, enthusiastically. I also say wait when stopping at a crosswalk and when I am putting their food bowls down. It’s a handy command.

We are still working on leave it, which means “not yours/ignore,” Also, for the command “come here” we’re about a 60/40 success rate, but things are moving in the right direction and I am hopeful that in the near future Jones will take first place in the National Best Behaved Dog contest.

From a-hole to A+, my 12-pound furry mess is making progress.


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