Puppy Steps

Two-month-old Parie has now pushed Emmie out of position as the youngest member of our group (and in case you’re wondering, Parie is spelled phonetically so that people will pronounce it the way Parisians say “Paris” 😊). I can’t fairly say she’s the cutest little puppy nugget I’ve ever laid hands on, because I’ve enjoyed a steady parade of cuteness over the years. But today’s lesson in how to navigate stairs had my synapses firing serotonin like it was the 4th of July in my brain. This was her very first time going down stairs on her own. Lionel and Finnegan were like big brothers showing her the ropes. 

Face Your Fears

I won’t claim to know whether this is a tried and true dog training technique or a shot in the dark, but it seemed to work for puppy Emmie, the newest addition to my crew. She’s beginning to show fear during walks, in reaction to noisy busses, moving billboards and subway entrances. From a puppy’s point of view, I imagine that an underground train stairwell must look like a scary black abyss that’s swallowing her beloved treat dispensers (humans). So when she balked at passing the N/Q entrance next to Madison Square Park today, I first used a happy, excited voice to redirect her attention and change her mood, and then I held and petted her while she watched people go down and come up the stairs. After a few moments, and some major help from folks who reached up and petted her (positive reinforcement!), she was wagging her tail and seemed to be viewing it as a fun game. Yay for overcoming fears!

Peachy Georgia

I’m in NoHo once again to care for Georgia, a sweet Pointer/Lab mix, and this time the reason is a pretty big one…mom and dad got married yesterday! I wanted to show Georgia a great time while her parents made memories at Martha’s Vineyard, so we trekked all over SoHo, NoLiTa and the East Village. And what a gorgeous weekend, for us and for the wedding!

Georgia’s breed mixture makes for pretty intense games of fetch. In a human, this would be called OCD. In a Pointer/Lab, it’s adorable.

Our expedition through the treacherous, tourist-clogged, MALLified shopping distict on Broadway. I did love how Georgia’s intimidating (to some) size parted the crowds like a hot knife in butter. I will take her shopping more often! Oh, and I have no idea why she wanted to get on the 6 train, but she froze there for quite a while. Maybe she has a boyfriend in the Bronx.


Down time after a long day of walking and fetching. I’ve never seen a dog watch TV with such interest and focus before! I think it had a lot to do with the bright colors, vivid images and stimulating sounds of the cartoon. Note to fellow dog owners, if you want to leave the TV on to entertain your pup, tune it to the Disney Channel!


I discovered in a guilt-inducing way that Georgia won’t eat her meals until she’s given permission. I prepared her dinner the first evening then walked away, assuming she was chowing down, but when I returned moments later she was staring at the bowl and drooling so much that a puddle had formed beneath her. Her parents have obviously trained her extensively, plus I think she’s just a very good girl by nature. Fun training tidbit: behaviorists call these “life rewards.” Requiring a dog to sit and wait for a command to eat meals, get leashed for walks and start playtime is key to reinforcing good behavior.

A Corgi pup walked up to us from a storefront on Crosby and initiated a fun, impromptu play session. I love that the photos depict how it all started with a slap from Georgia, then it was ON. That Corgi was tough, and Georgia ultimately submitted. I have to mention that I’m normally hugely against off-leash dogs, but since Georgia beckoned the pup with her come-hither-and-play stare, this felt light-hearted and safe.

 

What a fabulous holiday weekend! The only drawback to staying with Georgia is that her neighborhood is too fun and not cheap. I seldom go home with any pay. But I consider it a mini vacation. I think I deserve some frivolity while the rest of the country is cooking out and partying! A party of me and Georgia suits me just fine.