One of the great benefits to going to the dog park is that I have been able to get advice from some experienced puppy moms about what is worth worrying over and what is normal behavior. I’ve also learned what commands are most worthwhile to teach your puppy and what they would have done differently when their dogs were puppy.
The command that we are still working on is “Leave,” which has become extremely important since the Spring wildlife have crept back into our front yard. These include a family of 6 rabbits, two wandering turkeys (who might have a next of turkey babies hidden close by) and an annoying opossum who knocks over the trash almost every night. Needless to say, this is a lot for a 6 month old puppy to take in and comprehend, especially when he is learning to mark his territory and protect his humans. As we are in the yard, I would like to yell, “Leave the Wildlife,” but instead in a calm voice I say, “Willie, Leave.”
He almost listens and by that I mean he doesn’t immediately run after the other members of our ecosystem (although I wouldn’t mind if he ran that opossum off!), but instead slowly creeps closer sniffing as if he is going to go to the bathroom, which is the whole reason we came outside anyway. I watch closer and when his ears pop up and his tail is at attention, I say again calmly, “Willie, leave.” He looks back at me with these desperate eyes, as if he is saying, “But um, mom, there’s this other creature in the yard and this is my, I mean our, yard and I just need to chase them off.”
Let’s just say 6 month old puppies don’t fully understand their place in the world or the fact that they are merely one creature among many in the world.