An odd, title to be sure.  Yesterday, I had a moment that I truly wondered if I could survive Dexter.  I was providing him with is 'normal' a.m. exercise.  It involves first a walking with some trotting, then  playing ball and burlap chase and other things to burn PM puppy energy build up.  I will not lie to you:  he attacked me.  He basically started running like a mad man and then leaped into the air an hurdled himself toward me.  I deflected, but once on the ground, puppy mouth (with adult teeth) were on my ankles and calves.  I tied him out and walked away muttering, "Is this really our dog?"

I'm certain that this behavior is what landed him on the country road frantic to reconnect with a human.  I suspect his human "connection" (teeth on skin or teeth on precious things) was a bit more than his previously owners could bear.  I told Mark, "If we cannot get this under control we will have a problem.  But I'm committed to getting it under control."

Today, I had a dog that I could control. I had to go out, so he was confined to his puppy lair-that special place in my office where he stays when I have to go out for extended periods.  The 1/2 bath is not an option as he gets frantic when confined there.  The crate is too confining for an extended time away.  So he is on a 6 ft (vinyl wrapped metal) cable with water and his puppy 'things'.  He can see out the window and move around a bit. He doesn't feel confined. He can only get to the china cabinet in my office--an estate sale piece which should he put his teeth to it, I would not be heart broken.  So far, he has chosen to ignore it.

He was happy to see me when I got home.  He had no accidents.  It was too hot for any vigorous exercise.  But we did play. He found an unfortunate small snake's carcass--a victim of the lawnmower--and proceeded to grind his body on it.  He then dragged his 50 ft lead around; was a minor annoyance to each of his three sissies before settling between Angel and Ella on the front steps.  I drank my wine, enjoying the calmness of the late, summer afternoon a respite from the wild day previously.  I asked, "Is this really our dog?"

The tone of our asking that question book-ends two divergent behaviors that define puppy-young adulthood.  Cesar Milan has a nice distillation of the central themes of dog obedience:  exercise, discipline and affection.  And in that order.  Works for dogs and works for us.  


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