Storm the puppy is now 14 weeks old. Though she is often slow to comply, she is doing better with the sit and down exercises. She is very destructive with the mat, but she is trying to learn to associate it with calmness. She is still rushing the door and greeting with a tremendous amount of excitement and jumping on people trying to come in, but she is learning that these behaviors deny her the attention she wants and she is trying very hard to control herself by going into a sit position and waiting for touch.
Redirecting destructive behaviors by using toys has revealed a developing problem that must be addressed: Storm becomes very intense when playing tug with people. She gives whale-eye and she won’t hesitate to try and bite to get the human to surrender the toy. She does not drop the toy when told to, nor does she leave it alone when she’s told to leave it. She needs more work with “drop it” and “leave it.”
The leash is still challenging. Storm does not like it. Her people say that when they’re walking her, she fights it for the first few minutes and then she settles down. I have recommended desensitizing her to it by keeping her on it all day, every day, even when she’s in the house. I have also recommended redirection with a toy if she is caught trying to chew on it.
At this point in Storm’s training, I do have some concerns about some of her behaviors – especially, her intensity with toys and her tendency to try to bite in order to force the person playing with her to let it go. Storm does not seem to know how to play gently with humans, and since her playmates are young children, it’s critical that this tendency is addressed right away. But, she is trying to learn, and that’s what matters. She does want to please her people, and she gives as much as she can during her lessons. So, we will continue working to get her into shape and set her up for success as a calm, happy, relaxed family dog. It will take a little longer to get her there, but that’s okay. She’s worth the effort.
Have a great day, and remember: stay calm and lead on.