Swamp monster puppy is officially a dog now. He’s a year old, twice the size he was supposed to be already, and has totally made himself part of the family.
As it turns out, he’s more of a Frisbee player than walker. He loves the dog park, swimming, and playing at the beach—and basically, has turned out to be one of the sweetest companion animals anyone could ever meet. Granted, he still does pup-tastic things [like trying to play chase with squirrels, neighborhood cats, and is forever driving our own kitty nuts trying to play conga line with his nose pushing her along by her butt whenever she comes downstairs to hang out with me (which of course drives her crazy)], but other than silly stuff like that, he’s turned out to be a gentleman really.
Old tricks to him already are sit, high five, hit the dirt, floor, crawl, pick it up, bring it to mommy, bring it to daddy, bring it to your boy, up, down, go get it, ringing one set of bells when he has to go out, ringing a different set of bells when he simply wants to go lay on the porch, and “open the door” for himself or whoever needs assistance entering or leaving.
New tricks he’s working on are mostly related to identifying different objects, go, stay, right here, learning to pick out his own toys at the pet store, twirl, and not jumping out of the car or truck just because a door is open (for safety when traveling).
I also taught him to ask for help when he needs it by using a specific bark. My old dog who I miss dearly was not as bright as this one but he was super loyal and interactive with me. He used to say “hello” (howlro) and “I love you” (ri rouff arou) as well as sing with me… so teaching this pup to use his voice tones to communicate [rather than simple barking] is something we’re already starting.
And, of course, he’s even managed to win the heart of his “big sister” (our little dog who is a sixth the size of him). He knows that when it comes to discipline and manners that she rules the roost and really is the queen – and if he’s misbehaving or playing too rough in any way, she schools him to remediate his behavior very quickly or tattles on him to me. Fortunately for him, he listens without arguing. [Otherwise, most of his life would be spent under the coffee table – where she herds him then corrals him like she’s a little prison guard or sheep dog if and when he even thinks about playing too rowdy.]
As for the leash thing, wearing the leash is something we need to practice more (because for the most part he’s off leash but learning voice commands and responding to hand signals daily).
I’d like him to learn more helpful things like picking any object up from the floor that we point to (rather than simply picking up and handing me his toys and playthings on command), but all in all as a companion animal who loves to be right where the people are 24/7, he’s turned out pretty amazing.
Happy Birthday, Puppy! Hopefully, by the time he’s two or three we can officially have him registered as a companion animal so we can bring him more places with us as a service doggie.