Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Puppy Training

I am never getting anything accomplished again in my life.

I reveal this knowing full well I brought this upon myself and that though I have the power to change it, I won't. I can't say I really mind it all that much. I am smitten. This is a case of full-blown puppy love. Quite literally.

It has been nearly 20 years since I have had a puppy in my life. We've had dogs and still do. And they are fine creatures; good companions, excellent listeners with just the right balance of pain-in-the-buttedness. We tend to get dogs when they are past their puppy stage. Our dogs usually find their way to us via adoption when they are between the ages of 2 and 6 years of age. House training has been accomplished by the time we come along. As is spaying/neutering... usually. Any little personality quirk or allergy is well-documented and comes as no surprise to us. Puppies are a different thing all together. They are all surprises, all the time. From their terrible puppy breath and needle-like puppy teeth to their frequent use of their puppy bottoms, puppies are tiny bundles of care.

So, how about an update on Miss Molly's first days as part of the Twombly homestead?

It took three days, but we are finally getting into a training routine. It looks like this:

I ate all my breakfast.
Like an infant, Molly sleeps with us. Usually, she curls up in the hollow of my arm or lays on my pillow, resting on the top of my head, like a hat. It is important that Molly sees herself as part of our pack, with Sean and I at the head. She has the natural tendency and desire to be part of her pack. Our training works with that inclination. She sleeps where her pack sleeps, when her pack sleeps.

Molly wakes us between the hours of 4am and 6am with whining indicating that she needs to go outside. Sean handles this early morning task, usually bringing Fenn with him, too. She is learning to follow us outside- we go through the doors first and she follows. Sean leads her down the stairs calling her to "come." Then, Sean says, 'Go pee, Molly." And, she does. If she has other business to attend to, she does that, too. Sean praises her for being a good girl with pets and loves. We make a big deal when she does what we want her to do. At this age, she wants to please her pack leaders. Sean calls and Molly follows him up the stairs and back into the house. Again, Sean walks through the doors first. He is the head of the pack. Sean deposits Molly back into bed and we all go back to sleep until it is time for us to get up.

Upon awaking, it is breakfast time. Molly gets her breakfast fed to her separately from the other dogs since Fenn can be food aggressive. This morning breakfast was boiled egg. After breakfast, it is my turn to take Molly outside. She has quickly learned to pee on command, which is convenient. I have quickly learned to take her outside every 2 hours. She whines when she needs to go outside, but she does not hold it for long!

After breakfast is playtime. We pounce and play together. I made a ball from an extra sock and we play catch. This entails her growling at me while I bat the ball back and forth. I roll the ball to her and one of two things happens. 1- Molly gets hit with it and ignores it completely in favor of charging me or 2- Molly gets hit with it, pounces upon it and runs under my bed with her treasure. This game is a work in progress.

Molly LOVES the snow. 
Once playtime is ended because I really have to get some work done, I prepare her snack. This morning's snack was carrots. I give her snack in her basket, which sits beside where I work. While she eats, I get set up. When snack is finished, we take another trip outside and then, Molly is ready for a nap. Like a new mother, I snap into action the minute those eyes close, eager to get some work done while I can.

The rest of the day is made up of lunch, outside, play time, outside, snack, outside, and evening nap before Sean returns home from work. He cares for his farm chores and then joins me for a game of "Call the Puppy." In an effort to train Molly to come to us whenever we call for her, we take turns calling her to us, back and forth, through the house. She is rewarded with treats and loves when she gets it right. Coming when called is an important first training step. Once mastered, we'll begin training "Sit" and "Stay". "Lay Down", "Off", and "Release" training will follow.

All in all, I am pleased with the results of these first days. In the last 3 days, she had an accident in the house twice. Once when she woke us at 3:00 and we were not quick enough to respond to her whining and the other when the girls were watching her while I worked. Molly comes to us about 30% of the time the first time we call for her. We have some progress to make there, but I see promise.

That's it for us for today. Thanks for popping in for a visit. :)


  1. I am happy training is going good for you guys! Sounds like you have one smart furzy baby there!

  2. well explained.. thanks for sharing your thoughts..
    puppy training

  3. Awesome stuff, thank you and keep coming with these, will be back again.

    Kind Regards,
    Elayne Taylor
    Dog Tricks