Category Archives: JETHRO

Labs of Leisure

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My Kindergarten Graduate

Our last puppy kindergarten class was tonight! We practiced restaurant-style seating with the puppies under our chairs, facing outward, and the humans enjoying desserts and hot beverages served by the kindergarten teachers. There was a wrap-up discussion with one last chance to review all we’d learned and ask any questions we might have about puppy behavior or training ideas.

As much of a schlep as it is from my home to Lakewood every Monday night, I really enjoyed the classes. It’s been fun getting to know Jethro’s classmates (Kudos, Lundie, Murphy, Nevin, Noby, Neptune, Patton) and helping to encourage the first-time puppy raisers. This was a lively group!

I’ve decided that next time, in addition to the graduation certificate we receive at the end of the class, we should also receive a training tool at the beginning of class. Something like this, a helpful reminder of our responsibility as puppy raisers and a way to celebrate one of our early goals:

What Have We Here?

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The Holiday Spirit

The boys are sporting some brand-spankin’-new festive collars for the Christmas season, thanks to our good friend Denise, who keeps GDA puppies-in-training stylish throughout the year. You’d think they’d get into the holiday spirit wearing something like this:

But mostly, they just moped around the house looking depressed. Sheesh, it’s not like I made them wear elf hats or something. Get with the program.

Come on, guys! You look like a European fragrance ad! (“C’est dommage… C’est Labrador Ennui….”)

Someone’s Teething

Chewing is good. It cleans teeth and releases serotonin, which makes a puppy happy. The dogs will frequently go to town on a nice, solid Nylabone, which makes a noise I enjoy (but which many people find grating). And often, the dogs will prop said Nylabone against a wall or another dog or a piece of furniture in order to get a better angle and a nice, steady chew. This, depending on the surface, can amplify or even slightly alter the noise. At any rate, I’m accustomed to those sounds and can usually identify them even if I can’t see what’s happening.

Occasionally, though, there’s a moment when I suddenly become aware of a sound I don’t recognize. For example, today, when I was in the kitchen making a sandwich. I had left Jethro with a huge Nylabone. He had propped it against the coffee table and was happily crunching away.

Two minutes later, he’d taken up woodworking.

After the initial yelling, I explained to him that Ikea particle board isn’t really wood, and that he should take up a new hobby. Something less…deconstructionist. I think I offended his inner artiste.

I can never get too upset with him about this kind of thing, though. Ultimately, it was my fault for leaving him out of eyesight for more than 12.7 seconds. Also, he’s teething. He has kind of a hillbilly mouth right now: some big teeth, some little teeth, some holes where teeth should be.

And to be honest, this just means one less piece of furniture to have to put on a moving truck in a couple of months. I’m just sayin’.

Thanksgiving

It’s been great to have Wolf home for the holiday. Unfortunately, it’s been a little hectic around here because we traveled to my folks’ house in Fresno for Thanksgiving. Truman went to stay with his favorite aunties — fellow puppy raisers who adore him and are always enthusiastic about hosting him while we’re out of town, despite the presence of their own legion of dogs and puppies-in-training. I think they’re nuts to take on that much dog all at once (Truman’s a good boy, but he’s still a fair amount of work), but I love them and appreciate them to no end! It’s a load off my mind to know my boy is with people I trust.

Jethro came with us. He was due for his 16-week vaccines, which include a rabies vaccine, so we stopped at GDA on the way out of town to take care of that. Traditionally, this is the “walking shot” — the one that allows us more freedom in taking our puppies out and about. Unfortunately, the parvo thing rears its ugly head once again and now we’re being asked to be more cautious, treating the 20-week shot like we once treated the 16-week. Kind of a bummer to have to hose piddle off my balcony for another month, especially considering the increasing capacity of the little man’s bladder….

Anyway, he did well on the trip. It’s about a four-hour car ride, and Jethro was nestled safely in a crate in the back of my vehicle. I did relieve him once on the trip, in the middle of a mostly-empty parking lot, so as to avoid any places other animals may have relieved themselves. You always get really interesting looks from people when you do that….

Since my parents have a dog and a non-puppy-proofed home, Jethro stayed on leash for most of the weekend, though he did get to run and play from time to time. He slept in a crate, relieved on command, did all the things puppies like to do (eat, cuddle, destroy play with toys, sniff the back yard, etc.), and generally behaved himself. He even got to come with us to a sit-down restaurant on the way home, where we met some of my friends from high school days, back in nineteen-ahemmfllsqrmmwhflm.

Aside from Wolf getting a nasty cold on the way there, the weekend was just fine. I heard later that Truman had a nice time as well, as the spoiled, beloved, sole male representative at the Thanksgiving celebration of his favorite aunties and their friends.

The pack leader leaves again tomorrow, and it will be another three weeks until his return. We miss him already….

The Pack Leader is Coming Home

He’ll be home in just a couple of days, for Thanksgiving. We’ll wait right here.

Curses! Foiled Again

So, in a discussion with our puppy kindergarten teacher about my little Tom Cruise’s couch-jumping problem, she offered a creative solution.

I had tried everything I could think of by this point. He’d outsmarted me on regular leash, and even on the retractable leash I keep only for in-house training purposes (good for mysterious “self-corrections” from across the room when a dog is too sniffy or wants to jump, and thinks it has freedom to do so). Thus far the casual “I think I’ll go lounge on the couch” kind of jumping had been taken care of, but I’d still been struggling to arrest the “I’m so crazed and playful right now that my ten-legged momentum dictates that I simply must use the couch for a canine parkour party” kind of jumping. I had no ideas left. But Yvette had a good one.

Aluminum foil.

You read right! I went home, put the puppy to bed in the other room so he couldn’t see what I was doing, pulled my trusty extra-wide roll of aluminum foil off the baking shelf, then set to work covering the seats of my couches end to end with nice long strips. Heh heh hehhhhhh….

The next morning was hilarious. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to get it on video.

Truman and Jethro had their morning playtime, and started chasing each other around the living room.

Shuffle shuffle shuffle bark shuffle shuffle zoom zoom BOING (*crinkle*) “WHAT THE %*^& WAS THAT?!?!?”

He was off the couch as quickly as he’d gotten on; all it took was four little paws on that unpleasant surface — the feel of it, the weird noise — and a couple of hot-coals-dance foot prances, and he was back on the floor, with ears up and a furrowed brow, looking at the foil as if it were going to come to life and kill us all. I could hardly contain myself. I think my belly-laughs at his expense offended him, because he started running around again and tried it on the other couch.

Same thing. It was awesome.

The couches were safe for the rest of the day.

NaughtyPants Back On

Jethro has discovered he can pick up the dog food/water bowl, trot into the living room with it, and prance about as he flings it to and fro with joyous metal cacophony.

This isn’t quite as scary-smart as the time I came home from work to a report from Wolf that indicated Jethro had attempted to open a door — by the knob, with his front paws — but it’s a pretty silly scene to behold.

LabradOrienteering

Jethro seeks direction in the brick courtyard of the new GDA graduation area.