Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Puppy Training

by Bethany Maines

Recently my daughter learned to crawl. She's six months old, so basically any time she learns something it's "recently". But as she learns new tricks she forces my husband and I to adapt (and hopefully overcome).  Sadly, in our sleep deprived state we find ourselves relying on the training we did with our previous “child.”

As she learns new things my mind reaches out for words that will get the result I want. Ack! She's chewing on a power cord! Drop it! It works on the dog, so my brain now auto selects for those oh, so useful training phrases. Sadly, the phrases mean less than nothing to my daughter.  The only one she obeys is "stay" and that's only if she's strapped in the car seat.  As a result my dog, Kato, thinks I got the runty, stupid puppy of the litter.  I can practically see the thought bubble over his head.  "Look human puppy, I am demonstrating what to do. Figure it out!" The tiny daughter's thought bubble says, "Look at those shiny eyeballs; if I could pluck them out, it might be fantastic. Why is the fuzzy one leaving?" Which is a terrible way to treat a dog who is trying his best to be supportive.

Tiny Daughter & Kato the Wonder Dog demonstrate their similar interests.

Kato performs many important baby related jobs. There is the "I alert you to the fact that the baby is crying." (Believe me Kato, we know.) There is the extremely useful butt check. Kato, would you like to smell this butt? Oh, you would? Must be time for a diaper change. And the adorable guard dog duty.  He is not quite sure why the human puppy hasn’t been weaned to dog food, but if I’m going to insist on breastfeeding her, then he will do his best to guard us while we’re vulnerable.

But she is learning. She now knows her name and his name, and she knows where the dog food is and how delightful it is to spill it all over the floor. So while the dog thinks she's dumb, I can see the day coming when he will realize that her little monkey fingers are useful to help him get the delicious human food he desires.  Hopefully, by then she will also know what “sit,” “stay” and “drop it” mean. 

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery series and Tales from the City of Destiny. You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Bethany, how interesting this is to me. It brings my son's infancy back to me vividly. Well, dimly perhaps, since he is now 45! ACH. Anyway, we did not have a dog then but what you describe is fun because I can now imagine the three dogs we have had since and how they would react to having a baby around all the time. Great post! (My son Hugh got a dog when he was seven. And we have always had pets--dogs, cats, rabbits--ever since. )

  2. He really isn't so sure about her. He wants to like her, but there's all that grabbing and flailing and she doesn't respect boundaries. I think it will be better once she can provide him with food. I think every kid should have a pet of some kind.


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