We have added a Golden Retriever puppy to our family, his name is Winston, and he is very VERY cute..... Which is quite often the one and only reason I've not strangled him with his own ears. As I am standing in the backyard at 3 am in the pouring rain I sometimes question my sanity, but then he does something so heart-breakingly cute that I melt and hug the stuffing out of him. I've always wanted a Golden, but somehow ended up with rescue dogs instead. This time I wasn't going to get sidetracked. I'm getting too old for puppy training, and this seemed like my last shot at the adorability that is a Golden Retriever puppy.
Yes I have cats, and I love and adore my cats, but there is just something about the relationship that one can have with a dog that is special. Dogs are so present in one's life, they love you and only want to please you. I can't imagine not having a dog. Still, there are some challenges that you have to face en route to having that amazing grown up dog. Shall I mention a few? (Oh come on, you KNOW I'm going to mention a few -- why else would I be typing all this?)
The single most difficult problem we've had with Winston is his crate. He refuses to settle down in it, and will scream, yip, bark and howl for the entire time he is incarcerated. I've had well meaning friends, ones who really do know what they are talking about, tell me to just put him in there and let him scream. So I tried that. I put him in the crate and went outside the house. An hour later I couldn't stand it any more and came back in to let him out. Putting a dog into a crate and letting him scream, FOR ME, borders on animal cruelty. Sometimes he has to be crated, but I hate doing it, and really try to minimize the time I'll be gone. I can't let him run amok in the house, he'll chew something up, chase the cats and/or pee somewhere, but I can't wait until he's trained enough not to have to crate him.
Then there is the issue of the cats. There are few things fiercer than a female Scottish Fold. My girls have NEVER run into a dog they couldn't whap into submission with a well placed paw... until now. Winston just knows that they are playing, knows that this is some kind of fun game where they hiss and he chases happily after them. Ummm no. The cats started out with just a soft paw, then they added a hiss, now we are up to full claws out, hissing AND spitting. Winston is undeterred.
Winston starts puppy school on Saturday. I was sad to see that they do not cover issues such as 1) not eating cat poop, 2) not throwing a hissy fit if Mom isn't in your line of sight, or 3) not slithering under the love seat and eating the webbing. I suppose that sit and stay will be useful, and I know that having a reliable recall will stand us in good stead..... still..... don't you feel like these other concerns are equally worthy? I know that *I* do. Stay tuned.....