Ailu has arrived…life with a new puppy

I am now in Finland where I traveled to get my new puppy, the Finnish Lapphund Ailu. Ailu is now ten weeks old, and our shared life has started very nicely. We have concentrated on practicing recall and sitting for treats, strokes and toys, all of which we have mastered pretty well. Obviously a good recall is going to be a lifelong project, but the start seems promising.

Life with a new puppy has made me think about those who get their first puppy, not knowing much about dogs in the first place, and not having any experience that might prepare them for what’s to come. How do they cope with the “crazyhour”  in the evening, almost constant biting of everything (especially toes under the table when you are trying to have your morning brew), peeing inside, harassing other pets, not coming when called, putting everything in the mouth and destroying it in the process and all those other things that puppies fill their days with? How do they cope, when sometimes even knowing why all this happens and how to deal with it doesn’t seem to help with coping?

I am now living all those situations I have so generously helped my clients with and sometimes I can hear my own voice telling me to give the puppy a chew toy or a bone, while my own puppy couldn’t care less about anything that it is actually allowed to chew, happily continuing with my toes and ignoring the (rather expensive) squeaky toy that I’m holding 😀 It is easy in theory to know what to do and how to act, but as we all know sometimes reality does not live up to theory’s expectations. Sometimes we do not have enough time, sometimes we are too tired, sometimes we act before thinking and other times even when we do what we think is right, the puppy does not seem to have read the same theories and manuals that we have.

So far the biggest lesson for me with Ailu has been patience. In fact this has been the biggest revelation for me in all animal training. Patience and consistency seem to be the key words and boy are they difficult to master!

And of course the cute noises Ailu makes when she falls asleep, the bright eyes that watch me when I wake up and the happiness in her whole body when she runs to me to get a treat all make up million times for toe biting, table-cloth pulling and all other little bothers that now belong in my life.

Ailu, like most dogs, loves digging and digging and digging…