Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How cute is my dog?

Seriously.  How cute is my dog?

Brillo sits on the steps for a better view of his pool.  I love it when dogs sit like that.

Poor exhausted boy!

My dog displays his partisanship.  Please, don't hold it against him.  He just likes John McCain's white hair (it matches his) and Sarah Palin's lipstick (he likes hockey moms better than pitbulls).

Brillo is now 11 weeks old (birthday was Tuesday), and he is showing signs of hormonal changes mixed with puppy wild oats.  That's a bad combo.  He really, really likes to bark at his toys and other inanimate objects.  He has been doing that for at least a week or two.  One of his favorite things to bark at is my bathroom scale.  I can't say I blame him for that...  Now, though, he has started barking at me.

In the past week, he has been getting a little too rough in his puppy play.  It started with occassional nips at my legs, and barking and chasing.  Now it has escalated to grabbing onto my pants or shorts, wrapping his front legs around me, and biting.  Hard.  He thinks it's fun and hilarious.  I think it is painful and infuriating.  All my books and everything I read online says I am supposed to redirect his attention to a toy, or tell him to sit, or ignore him.  Under no circumstance am I to use negative reinforcement, lest I accidentally reinforce his bad behaviors by giving him the attention he is seeking.  THAT is easier said than done.  When a full set of needle teeth sink into your flesh, I dare you to hold still and ignore it.  It is a normal human reflex to try to separate one's leg from the vice grip of one's dog's mouth when bitten.

The problem is, the books are right.  I've tested the theory, and using one's hands to push or pry or spank or grab the dog's mouth only makes him more aggressive and determined!  It's very confusing and trying.  When I was a kid, we would grab the dog's snouth, or spank him, and it worked.  The books say negative discipline will erode our relationship, and the section I read again today says a puppy under 12 weeks completely will not get it.  It says it would be like disciplining a one-year-old human infant for pulling hair.  It wouldn't register.  Based on that, I am going to try again to use the positive techniques.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I am hoping the physical and noise discipline I used this morning when he attacked me AND HUMPED MY LEG will stick so he doesn't try again.  That was the first time he tried to establish dominance by humping my leg, or anything else.  I highly doubt it will be the last.  I am shocked that his teensie little "boys" have enough kick in them to alter his behavior already.  Seriously, they are tiny--so much so that my friend Sherri won't stop making fun of him.  Poor baby. He's probably trying to prove something...

I have noticed that most nipping assaults occur when Brillo is tired, and the books confirm that  a tired puppy is more prone to nip.  Nipping and mouthing is the pup's way of telling us he needs something.  I put him in his puppy room when he starts getting rough, and he typically goes right to sleep.  So, these issues are fixable; I just have to be patient and consistent.  Nobody said doggy mommyhood  was supposed to be easy.

Oh, I think we may have had an important breakthrough in the pottytraining today.  I was thinking it was time to take him out, and I was about to do just that.  He was free in the house, and I walked over toward the office to see what he was up to, and he started to pee on Dave's nice rug!  Impulsively, I screamed, "NO, ah, ah, ah," and scared the pee, well, into him.   He was startled and stopped midstream, and I told him, "outside!"  I opened the door (thankfully, he was right by it), and he ran out.  I asked him to go potty, and he finished his business.  Whoopee!  I hope he thinks about that the next time he needs to pee while indoors.

Brillo got into his pool by himself again this morning.  I threw the bottle in there to see if he would push it underwater with his head.  He used his paws, instead.

Here's Brillo's new squeaky toy. Several times, I have heard him whining while he squeaks his toys. I think he's talking to them.

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