Friday, February 23, 2018

Teenage Puppy

Noodles is 7 months old and now a canine teenager. What a pain in the neck! He is often conveniently deaf, hesitates when responding to commands, and tries things he's never done rooting in the trash, chasing chickens, and taking things off of tables. And of course, he always thinks he knows better than mom. Just like a human teenager, he thinks he knows everything about everything already. 

This pup has been an easy puppy so far. Even his teenage phase hasn't been too bad.....yet. I just remind myself that he still has plenty of time to get worse. And in truth, his behavior will indeed get worse. Most pups have their worst teenage behavior around 9 months of age. So I have 2 more months till the climax before things start getting better. Sigh. 

Above....taking a break after a tiring morning of rough housing with Crusty on the farm. 

This past few weeks hubby has had 2 sneakers chewed up. He owns two indentical pairs, and out of shear luck Noodles chewed the left shoe of one pair and right of the other, leaving hubby with one good set of matching sneakers. I wasn't so lucky. Noodles gnawed the back off of two Crocs, both the right shoes. Drats. Now all shoes are stashed up on the closet shelf, well out of reach. By the way, Gator Mouth has also discovered the laundry basket. After I found several chewed up socks in the hallway, the laundry basket got moved to a higher location too. Simply telling a young teenager "no" surely doesn't work, so things get moved out of reach until his brain catches up with his big body. In about 2 months he will be able to understand and learn better than he can now. Oh, he learns tricks well enough, but commonsense life rules don't seem so sensible to him.

Each morning now starts out with a short puppy obedience routine, after my own tai chi warm up. Noodles likes to sit there watching me do tai chi, so I've incorporated him into the act, doing a bit of "sit", "wait", "ok" exercises. His general behavior seems to improve for a while after his own morning "routine". 

Since The Noodler no longer has a snappy "come" whenever I call him, I've resorted to another trick to help keep tabs on his location. I've added bells to his collar.

 This way I can hear where he is in the house or on the farm. It also gives the chickens warning that the big puppy is heading their way. Being part Labrador Retriever, Noodles has a soft mouth. Thank heaven, or otherwise I'd have to slam him if he hurt chickens. He has caught the chickens several times and brought the unharmed birds to me. These hens are so use to him that they aren't even afraid and simply shake their feathers back into position once he lets them go, and indignantly strut back to their territory. But chasing, and picking up chickens, is forbidden on this farm. So Noodles needs to learn....and obey.....the rules. I've had numerous correction and training sessions with him, but as soon as he thinks I'm not looking, he'll corner and pick up a hen to bring to me. Since attaching the bells to his collar, he hasn't brought me a bird. The hens are learning, even if Noodles isn't! 

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