First and foremost…

THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who flooded my media outlets with tips and solutions to my puppy woes. I have never received so many texts, Facebook comments, Snaps, and emails in one day! You are all amazing, and your advice is even better. I’ve taken everything you’ve said into consideration and implemented all of our strategies. I’m serious!

 

One of your most popular suggestions was that I enroll my speckled wallflower into puppy classes.

So, I did!

 

At first, I spent a whole day trying to find a puppy class. I was exasperated by the time Husband got home. The issue was that all I could find online were individual names of teachers. No “academies” for puppies. And no way was I going to bring my puppy and myself to some stranger’s house. I am a crime fighter, not an idiot, remember?

My genius husband suggested I call the vet and ask for a recommendation.

Duh!

So, I did, and they suggested just one place that is forty minutes away.

I immediately called that place and signed him up, because if there is one thing about southern Alabama, it’s that you have to drive a DISTANCE to get anywhere significant.

 

Rucker is now a student at Petsmart in Dothan, AL.

 

I am paying $119 dollars for six one-hour classes of puppy socialization and behavior modification.

 

Rucker is a great student.

He doesn’t make a sound during class time. He also cowers behind his mom’s legs when a teeny tiny 10-week-old corgi/Dachshund classmate approaches him.

This corgi/Dachshund puppy. I wish I could show you a picture. I’ll try to snap one surreptitiously at Rucker’s next class.

You’ve got to see him, because he looks like a real, live teddy bear. His name is Luke and he is the color of caramel topping.

Luke and Rucker are the only ones in their class.

Luke’s mom and I were given the option to join a bigger class for more socialization, but the alternative was staying in our small class (at our preferred day/time) for more one-on-one training with each of our pups.

Two-pup class, it is!

 

After his first class, Rucker was exhausted. More than usual, I mean. He passed out on the way home.

Passed out post-class.

 

He tried so hard to stay awake once he got home…

Sleepy Rucker!

 

But that gravity, man…

Sleepy Rucker!

 

In other Rucker developments: Husband and I left Rucker in his cage again. To see a movie. Which means he was in there for about four hours, because the theater is 45 minutes away.

 

Rucker didn’t poo in his cage!!!!

 

Do you want to know why?

Because his parents are learning how to be smart about parenting.

 

We put him in his cage after he pooed, and then we didn’t feed him breakfast.

We made it impossible for him to poo.

It worked!

That’s what parenthood is all about, I am learning: whatever works.

 

Unfortunately, Rucker did pee in his cage while we were gone.

Can’t win them all.

was winning, though, when I just tossed those soiled T-shirts into the washer instead of throwing everything away because it was caked in feces.

 

Before our latest movie trip, I had been making strides to familiarize Rucker with his cage.

For example, I’ve been feeding him in there.

Also, I’ve been luring him inside with treats.

I also “celebrate” when he goes in there by drowning him in baby-voice accolades.

In addition, Rucker is four times the size he was last week, so space is extremely limited behind bars.

 

Next time, we are going to block Rucker into the kitchen to see if he handles more space better than his cage.

 

Isn’t he just the cutest?Cute Great Dane puppy!

 

Isn’t he just the creepiest?

Creepy Dane.

 

Regarding his food brand (one of the many things I wondered about in last week’s post), I am still feeding him Blue Wilderness.

Why?

Because LOTS of you said that it’s a totally sufficient (and quite excellent) brand.

Also, many of you wondered if my vet was getting a kickback from her Science Diet recommendation

I didn’t even realize that vets could make money off the brands they recommend until you all told me so.

So thanks, again, for ensuring Rucker eats excellent food!

 

Also on my puppy-clouded mind: I wonder if Rucker will be fully vaccinated after his next vet appointment, because I really want to take him to a dog park nearby.

There are always a bunch of people and dogs at this dog park, so, naturally, I really don’t want to go. But for the sake of my like-mother-like-son hermit, I’ll brave the smiling faces.

 

In other mom socialization news, I’ve met my other neighbor, and she is awesome. Her name is Jill and she is friendly and a New Puppy Mom like me. Her puppy is a German Shepard/Black Lab mix named Luna. I silently assumed Luna’s middle name was Lovegood.

 

Guess what Jill told me?

That the people who used to live in the house Husband and I now live in owned a Great Dane, too!

What are the odds?

 

Jill said that their Great Dane was as tall as the fence in the backyard.

I hope Rucker stays small forever. ♥

 

I also hope he starts to LOVE going for walks soon…

 

He is definitely starting to warm up to the idea of “outside”…

Best of both worlds.

Everything with Rucker is gradual.

 

Rucker and I were working on his leash skills (or, in his case, trying to develop any semblance of a leash skill) with no luck. He still refuses to comply and would rather be DRAGGED than follow me.

The trainer at Petsmart told me to hold off on leash training until the second class (this week), where we will work on leash skills, specifically.

Don’t have to tell me twice!

 

On a positive note, Rucker is pretty much potty trained.

At least, I catch him before he has any accidents, and most of the time he goes to the door and sits there until we let him out.

 

Also, Rucker knows how to comesitshake, and lay down.

However, Rucker has done these tricks in succession so many times that he now does all of them automatically after I say, “come.”

He will frolic over to me, sit, wave his paw at me, and lay down before I can even get a morsel into his mouth.

I told Husband, “At least we know he is susceptible to training…”

 

The best thing about these tricks is that Rucker does them even when we take him to a distraction-filled Tractor Supply Co.

That was his “homework assignment.”

How cute is that?

We had to take him to a public facility that allowed canines and test his skills.

 

Per his puppy teacher, he is only supposed to know “sit” and “mark,” which is where you hold a morsel to his face while holding your forefinger in the “1” position, and slowly dragging your finger to your eyes. This is supposed to train Rucker to maintain eye contact with me.

 

So we took him to TSC and practiced all of his tricks and he did such a good job that we bought him a fuzzy goose.

Rucker and his goose.

 

Rucker is the best dog for car rides. He just lies there.

 

He just lies everywhere.

Lazy Dane.

 

He’s staying awake for longer periods of time, but he is still extremely lazy.

Lazy Dane.

 

I squeal, “Rucker is so ADORABLE. He is just so dainty!”

Husband sighs, “I just want a brute for a dog. I keep getting dainty Danes.”

I said, “Maybe we should get another Dane?”

Husband said, “Two dogs are WAY more work than one.”

I said, “But I’m the one training him…”

*crickets*

 

Anyway, Husband and I are still trying for a REAL baby, so maybe I should stop trying to fill my house with dogs and be patient.

 

In other news, all I’ve been doing is reading books in my Kindle and watching Skin Wars and The Office on Netflix.

 

I had this epiphany the other day that, if this is the only time I’ll be allowed to not work, I’m not going to spend my time freaking out about how I don’t have a job.

Besides, that world-weariness I was feeling before our Christmas trip to Michigan was virtually squashed out when we brought a puppy home.

 

Rucker requires a lot of attention and love and snuggles.

I could just squeeze his cute little snout and put my fingers between his webbed toes till I explode with joy.

All that emotional exploding is the best part about being a dog owner.

 

Even if that dog sleeps like this.

IN THE FACE.

 

See you soon!

 

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