Last week we discussed the fun challenge of puppy time with a labbie. As much as I learned about her behavior, nothing prepared me for the excitement of her teen years. Yep. I said teen years. Did you know our pets try to establish their dominance around their second birthday? Bailey was no exception.
We’ve all heard that one year equals seven people years in a dog. So as Bailey reached the ripe age of two, she was a teenager emotionally. She developed her own opinions- to obey or not to obey. Being an intelligent girl, she understood my requests, but after sitting and staring at me for seconds, she most often elected to do what she wanted.
We noticed this adolescent behavior whenever someone arrived at the front door. She’d jumped and barked as if the doorbell announced Jack the Ripper. Her desire to please us and sit quietly as the door opened did not exist. Once the door opened, she studied the person on the porch and investigated the opportunity to escape the house and survey the neighborhood.
The first time she took to the streets, I ran after her at full speed. Calling and waving my arms. The neighbors, entertained by my futile efforts, had many good chuckles. Naturally, she refused to come. Her ears perked, her tail raised like a victory flag, and her tongue hanging out of her mouth. I swear she was smiling.
Although I admit the exercise was probably good for me, my frustration level was not. But like many dog owners, I soon realized that our Miss Bailey would respond to the SIT command. She loved the run and catch me game. But once I stopped playing, and used my head, she responded well to “Bailey, sit.” How novel. I guess she had learned some things in puppy class after all.
Once returned to her home. She lavished me with sweet kisses and a desire for her water bowl. I excused my failure to maintain control by justifying her disobedience to her need for more exercise.
We bathed Bailey by garden hose. She loved the water and knew it must be a game created for her fun. She jumped at the water stream and tried to bite the water flow. She jumped and ran in the yard, always returning for one more bite of water. Problem was, she associated the garden hose with her jump game. So, if I tried to water flower pots or garden areas in the backyard with the hose, she attacked the hose, gulping water, and barking like crazy woman. Be careful what games you start. Labs never tire of play. Never!
If you are looking for a lifetime friend, please consider rescuing a lab.
Tune in next time for a peak at our sweet girl as she reached her next milestone- Guard Dog. .