Lessons From Mamie

Mamie 1On March 21, 2019, Jon and I brought home an eight-week-old black lab puppy. Since then we’ve enjoyed sharing bits of her life on social media. Over the next few weeks I thought I’d share a little more about Mamie here on the pages of my blog.

Up to this point I’ve tried to tell all the good stuff about Mamie. But life with a puppy has come with a few lessons, as well.

Sleep is important. The first few weeks of house training and crate training were tough for Jon and me. At night it was hard to tell if Mamie needed to go outside, or if she was just scared. We made a few mistakes, but looking back she adjusted quickly. Thank goodness it didn’t take nearly as long for Mamie to sleep through the night as it did for our two tiny daughters! (Only our son Matt possessed the gift of good sleep.)

IMG_1110Puppies nip. When she interacts with people, Mamie leads with her mouth: a wide-open mouth with rows and rows of needle-sharp teeth. I’m pretty sure the Disney character named Stitch was based on a puppy. Mamie doesn’t nip so much as gnaw at our arms and ankles in an attempt to connect and be friendly. The experts assure us she’ll outgrow this habit around six months of age. Until then, we are the walking wounded.

IMG_1268Mamie is not snuggly. She looks cuddly in pictures, but in real life she’s not a curl-up-on-your-lap dog. Our pup is independent, curious, and intelligent. Just not snuggly. Pat the head and you get the teeth. See above.

I still have a temper. I discovered my hold-it-till-it-bursts temper when my kids were little. Turns out, when I get bitten one too many times, I still have it. 

The first one to get angry loses. This is the rule I live by, even if it means shutting myself in the bathroom for a few minutes to regain my equilibrium. (Many thanks to Dr. Randy Carlson, radio psychiatrist, for that gem.)

She’ll do anything for food. Which has its pros and cons. On the one hand, active training times are great. On the other, she still wants the treats even when training time is over. 

IMG_1312Nevertheless, she persists. Mamie chose one of our living room chairs as her own. We’ve done everything in our power to explain that dogs sleep on the floor. As a last resort I took the cushion out of the chair and turned it to the wall. You can see her response.  

She won’t be small for long, so we can’t afford to put off the training. When she first came home, Mamie liked to chew on her leash. It was cute then, but not anymore. Now that she’s big enough to play tug-of-war with that leash, we are fighting to train this bad habit out of her. Start as you mean to go on, they say. We’re trying.

We have room in our life for this adventure. Since Mamie came into our lives, we’re more active. We go to bed tired. And we have somebody new to take care of and love. She’s growing to like us back, too. Or at least, she likes the food we carry.

Good dog, Mamie.


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