Monday, December 7, 2009

Who's In Charge Here?

Katharine holds Alfie in her armsAlphini's already been with us a week and a half! We've been thoroughly enjoying his cuddly, larger-than-life personality.

Yesterday he visited the vet for his 9-week checkup, and weighed in at 9.6 lb. A growing boy!

the vet examines Alfie
Thanks, Dr. Boggs!

I think, though, that puppies should come with a little label: "Some assembly required"! Part of the "assembly" is pretty easy: teaching them to "sit" and "come," for example. But I'll bet most puppy raisers would agree that the hardest part, at least at first, is teaching them what not to do: don't nip, don't jump up, don't soil the house...and, really, don't even think about disassembling the Christmas tree! We just put it up!

Alfie's main confusion lies in his little idea that he's supposed to teach us what to do, not the other way around. What he doesn't know is that we're onto him. Dakota, our last puppy, also went through this stage so we were prepared when Alfie came along with his dreams of ruling the world.

We've been enjoying our walks and have already been quite a few different places. Here we are on one of our first outings.

Alfie lying down, waiting to cross the street Other dogs sit at the curb...Alfie thinks he should lie down.

Alfie darts to my right as we walk
Hey, who's walking who? Alfie keeps me on my toes...literally!

I love Alfie's confidence and curiosity. When he sees something he doesn't understand, he doesn't bark or run away; instead he likes to just sit and study it for a while before going on. Unfortunately, more than once in our early walks, the place he chose to do this was really right in the middle of the automatic doors to the library, with a line of people behind us! A couple of times, I just had to scoop him up and carry him out of the way so that people could get past.

Michelle, our puppy program manager, warned me that if I didn't watch out he'd soon be using this technique to manipulate me and get a free ride whenever he wanted. She must have the inside line on puppies because that's just what happened at the mall.

All went well at we are happily trotting toward the entrance...

Alfie walking toward the mall, tail wagging Woo-hoo! A new place to check out!

The puppies don't ride on escalators, but it's important for them not to be frightened by the sight and sound of them. Not to worry, Alfie only thought they were interesting.

Alfie and I look down at the escalators through a glass barrier

Looks like fun to me!

Alfie sits in front of the escalators
But as we continued our walk, Alfie up and decided that he was ready to be carried. He just sat down and refused to move. He wasn't afraid; his body language was relaxed and happy; he just wouldn't go!
Alfie sitting down in the store

Time for my staff to carry me!

We're not supposed to pull on the leash to get the puppy to move, so it was on to plan B. First I tried luring him along with treats. He went a step or two, then sat down and wouldn't budge. Next I moved on to the squeaky toy. That was interesting for a while, but after a bit he sat down again, indifferent. I tried my most exciting voice to encourage him along, but to no avail. It was becoming clear that he was gaining the upper hand...not good!

Well, there weren't any other shoppers around, and there wasn't anything dangerous that he could get into (we were far from the escalators by now). So it just dawned on me that I was going to have to convince him that he couldn't control me, and the best way to do that was to walk away. I made a show of dropping his leash, turning my back, and walking off. I was only bluffing of course, but I hoped he didn't know it. I had gone all of two steps when he raced up to my side, all full of licking and apology!

Alfie trotting along happily
Don't ever leave me again!

The rest of our walk was absolutely perfect. Alfie bounced along cheerily either at my side, or a little ahead.

Alfie pulls toward the escalators
We rode the elevator down, and when we passed the escalators again, he tried to go for a ride. I stopped him just in time. Silly boy!

All in all, it was a great walk. Alfie's a smart boy...we just have to be smarter than him!

chocolate labradoodle puppy sitting and looking up I'll be a great guide dog one day! Wait and see!


Maddie, Gabrina (IFT), and Betsy (PIT) said...

He is so adorable!
With my first puppy Gabrina, I was on an outing with my club leader and she decided to stop walking. So my leader said to put down her leash and walk away. So I did but instead of following me she jumped up and ran the other way! Luckily she had an amazing recall so when I called her she came right back. But it was still scary!
I'm glad Alfie is figuring out that you are boss!

Erin and her Dogs said...

LOL, My Goldens never liked walking long distances, they are little and tire easily so I didn't force the walking issues until they were bigger and I knew they could do it! The we did the doggie shuffle, human hunched over waving treat, trying to encourage dog to walk forward. So awkward!