Molly is a little taller and much fuller than she was when she came into our lives four weeks ago. In the last month we have settled into a routine that seems to be working for all. Molly goes outside every three hours. We haven't had an accident on the carpet in about two weeks. We look at this as progress.
When we are home, Molly is out and about, running and chewing anything she can get in her mouth. When my wife and I are at work, our four-legged snowball is in a crate next to the fireplace in the kitchen. The crate is great!
At first I was worried this would seem cruel to our new friend. It turns out the crate is a refuge for a puppy that wants some privacy after a tough day of running around the couch as hard as she can. The crate is also the place we know the dog will not have an “accident". It's true: Dogs will not got to the bathroom in the close quarters that is their home.
The crate is also the place we put the dog when the cat needs a break. As I've mentioned, our cat is a 20- pounder and can take care of himself. But a 14-year-old cat does not have the same energy as a month old puppy. Sometimes the dog doesn't know when to quit. That's when we put her in the cage for what a kindergarten teacher would call a "time out". It seems to work.
Last week we started obedience training. We hired The Dog Training Company from Southampton, N.J. Our goal is for Molly to obey about a half dozen commands like come, stay, off, and a couple more. The Dog Training Company uses several techniques. The one they recommend most often is a collar that gives the animal an impulse. I was very skeptical. The trainer, Ron, demonstrated. You control the impulse with a button on a remote device. It isn't even a tingle. It's more like a slight tap. It works!
After a half hour, Molly was coming on command and more impressively staying in one spot when told to do so. She's a puppy so her attention is short. But, as we practiced through the weekend, with each command our new family member was more responsive.
This is not a short-term project. We have signed up for four lessons. But, we must continue to train on our own for the next year. Is it work? You bet. But just like raising a child, the lessons learned early on will affect the entire family for years to come.
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