Some of you may remember that four weeks ago, we drove in to Naperville and met the puppy that would be ours. In the car, we had a little laundry basket lined with a cozy red blanket, a pink heart dog tag with her name and address lasered onto it, just in case she was a runner like her beloved predecessor. Nestled on the blankie was a tiny leather piggie for her tiny little self to chew on.
We thought we were getting a 4 month old lab rescue puppy, and she is, mostly. I’d say 90 percent of her is a cuddly-wuddly puppy.
“She’s a lab mix,” said the foster mom. “I am not sure what she’s mixed with.”
I have some ideas. The other 10 percent is shark, or piranha, or crocodile—we haven’t quite decided which. Because I was so busy signing the adoption forms and Joe was so busy fending her off, we didn’t stop to check for gills, flat black pupils or number of teeth.
As part of the rescue process, we had to enroll her in a puppy class.
I got her all signed up and we took her to her first one this past Saturday. Once inside, Tulip promptly peed on the floor.
AWESOME. Great start. The trainer’s associate looked at us sternly. “Did your dog urinate?”
Urinate? She piddled, my good friend. PIDDLED. And she did it again when the trainer came in. Great start.
In a renovated barn, we sat in a circle with lots of other dog owners. Besides Tucker, a poodle who wanted smexy times with Tulip in the WORST WAY, there were five other puppies. All were much larger and beefier than Tulip. Joe said to me under his breath, “she’s the smallest one here. This can’t be the right class.”
Hold up, there, buddy. I spent all week sending emails and making calls and settled on the one puppy class that she’d fit into the best, and THIS WAS THE ONE.
Seconds later, we found out that all the dogs in our class were about five or six months, most of them were just as unruly as Tulip and just as inexperienced. “We’re in the right place,” I hissed back to him. “She’s just a runty little thing.”
We had been instructed to skip her breakfast but bring lots of treats and promptly learned how to get her to sit, bump our hand, and lay down. We were amused that after each success you’re supposed to quickly say, “yes” as you’re rewarding with a treat. After watching the trainer show an example, pretty soon all we could hear is a chorus of “yeses” and barking. Tulip soaked up the knowledge like a sponge. She’s super smart and in fact probably the smartest one there. Maybe.
However, Tulip’s absolute favorite time in the class was when all the dogs were sorted into groups, much like Harry Potter and the Sorting Hat. Our small “Ruffyindor” was put with Dakota, a labradoodle and probable Ravenpaw, and Tucker, the high pitched barking poodle who was obviously a Hufflefloof. The three puppies ran around and play snarled at each other, and overall had a great time.
Although we did sit, bump hand and lay down, we did not do No Bite. Maybe that’s another class?
Tulip managed to stay awake until we got home, and then took several naps. We may have had a nap ourselves. After dinner, she promptly fell asleep again and slept almost the entire night—which was good because one of the handouts in our puppy folder was how to get your puppy to quit biting. Thank goodness.
I read that one out loud to her while she slept. Hopefully she’ll absorb some of that knowledge too.