Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oh, Jack!

Just the other day Jack had an "accident."

I noticed a fine spray of droplets on the carpet in the hall that lead to some more in the office. There was a minor spot, with lots of the same sprinkled drops at the door. Jack!

My approach to doggie discipline consists of a stern lecture, delivered with great exaggeration and much hand-wringing about how disappointed and betrayed I feel. I don't believe in physical punishment except where intra-sibling violence is involved. Anyway, I let him out quickly so he could "finish" with his little problem.

It was my fault, as such accidents usually are. He has been sterling about letting me know when he needs to go out and I think I got involved in something and failed to take his hints. From the sprinkle-patterns he had obviously been trying to hold it. But it would have been counter-productive to give him a pass on such a thing, even if it was my fault.

For quite a while he refused to come into the office. He would tip-toe down the hall and peer in as if to see if I were still mad at him but he wouldn't come in. I let it simmer for a while and then forgave him. He was very relieved. Of all the male puppies I have had, Jack is probably more concerned with what I think of him than any of the others have been at the age of six months. Part of that, I think, is a result of how early he came to live with us.

Plateaus, as I call them, are common with young dogs in my experience. They will be going along just fine and then they will have a relapse. Usually just one. As if they are testing whether what they think they understand is really what they should be doing. Seems to be a natural process in doggie brain development as I have observed the phenomenon is every dog I have lived with.

[Note: Jack is wearing his Tri-Tronics radio collar. I use it for field training and want him to become accustomed to wearing it before it is put in use. For weeks now he has been wearing it most of the day. When I put it on him in the morning, he gets a cookie. He has come to relish putting it on, rushing up and sitting as soon as I pick it up. I don't want him to associate the collar with the training regimen once it gets started. I think he believes it's his own special jewelry!]


Carol said...

That picture of Jack is priceless. What a highly developed sense of guilt! Are you raising him Catholic? Or Southern Baptist?

Rio Arriba said...

Neither, Carol. But there has to be some "guilt structure" with dogs. Despite being a barbarian, as I mentioned, Jack is very concerned with what I think of him. When he is on the outs, he is mizzable 'til all is made well again. I never let him suffer long, though. Big ol' dude that he is, he is very sensitive.

Carol said...

I've had dogs who, like Jack, could not bear to be "in the doghouse" and others that couldn't care less. I have to agree that the first kind are much easier to live with.

Rio Arriba said...

Yes, I have had similar experiences with dogs who didn't seem to care what you thought. Most come along in time. There's also the "challenge period." I've had three male Rottweilers and they all went through two very brief periods of challenging my authority in very emphatic ways. First at about 3 months and then at about 7 months. A complete standoff, which the owner must win. At 3 mos you can get away with grabbing him, turning him over, and getting in his face big-time. At 7 mos some strategy is involved and even some fingers-crossed bluffing. Dogs really aren't "simple creatures."