Monday, November 19, 2012

who's leader of the pack?

so many stories to tell... it is hard to know where to begin. I think this week i'll tell about jesse's first lessons as a pup.  the first thing I taught him, even before the sit-stay-etc. commands was "don't pull" and "leave it", the latter getting the most used.

I knew he was going to be a big boy and hate walking with dogs that make that horrid choking/cough sound as they pull against their leashes; and....didn't want to be dragged down the street when he became full grown -- thus, the "don't pull" command was learned while on a leash.

 I had been told that Berners were easy to train with their gentle nature and needed a gentle, with love, training. The breeder warned against using old fashioned  "obedience" training.

However.... Jesse was the "alpha" in his puppy pack and there were quite a few moments that he tried to make me think he was in command and made the rules. I had read somewhere a long time ago about domestic dogs also thinking in terms of a pack, just as wolves & coyotes do. Okay, knowing something about those guys in my wildlife studies, I pondered what do the Alpha's do to establish their leadership... next to beating the ever-living-bahgezies out of the usurper, ha! They simply do two things for the most part. One they eat first- always actually they are first in everything, down a path, hunt, mate, you name the task, the alpha is first. So, with that thought... Jesse never got anything to eat within one-half hour before we ate and always had something, a treat or meal right after us. Second, and I think this one was the best of all... he never entered or left the front doorway of the house or gate outside before us... he went through those portals behind us.  I will tell you-- those two things once established, made his training so much easier. And it was so nice being able to open a door without worrying about him dashing through.

The only thing left to do was for each of us teach the other our specific languages and the "rules of the pack."
he also loved to eat crab-grass...note the bare spots on the lawn
his "eating paper products" fetish began.... next story.... the $600.00 snack.

Monday, November 5, 2012

muffbarkling ~ what the????

Unable to personally bare to put the "little guy"- as jesse j was called those first days- in a "crate" to sleep, we set up a pen in a corner of the kitchen area, tarp on the floor, that accommodated his bed, water area, watering area, and play. It was plenty of space that had a doorway we could open and close to allow him inside or to come out. I was working night shift at that time, 7pm to 7am, and it worked beautifully when he had to stay there for several hours at a time.

His very first "stuffed" toy was his "lambie." One of the first nights he was home, we were asleep and woke up to the strangest sound I ever heard- remember we had been without dog sounds, let alone puppy, for a couple of years; however, this was different, almost erie- kind of a sound you would think as being paranormal on the verge of deathly. It suddenly occurred to me that something was amiss with jesse and I flew out of bed, down 2 flights of stairs, a hallway and slid into the family/kitchen area. There he was with his "lambie" toy clinched in his mouth as he vivaciously tried to bark and whine his loneliness.

The lamb toy cause a muffled "muffbarkling" sound that was so funny I nearly pee'd my pants laughing... until the look on his "oh there you are..." happy face and tail wag turned into a "are you laughing at me...." frown with his lamb dropped at his paws. I knew at that instant he was not only a smart little guy, he was going to have a sensitive personality that none of our other friends had possessed.

I couldn't resist climbing inside his home area to play and snuggle letting him know he was funny and it was okay.... because we loved to laugh.

He never did "muffbarkle" again after that night, it kind of saddened me because it really was an amusing sound once you had the source. He did still play with "lambie' occasionally. Jesse and Lambie this summer.