• Erin Griffith - Dinosaur Trainer

Clever Girl.

After our Brutus passed away last year, we decided to wait to get another dog until the summer (my annual 2 month stint as a stay at home mom). After much thought, we decided to try to adopt a pet instead of just running out and buying a puppy. We found our love in a 9 month old, smallish, lab-like ball of energy named June.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Brutus was a black lab. June is a black lab. So it must be true what they say, "Once you go black, you never go back."

That's right, I went there.

Now, from experience, when you get a a puppy puppy (8 weeks old), you have this period of bliss combined with sleeplessness as you try to teach your furry bundle of joy where to pee and poop. You bask in the light of their cuteness and they can do absolutely no wrong. You spend hundreds of dollars on adorable doggie stuff and cuddle them constantly. You take them to puppy class, doggie daycare, and take more pictures of them than your own offspring.

You slowly work your way into what I lovingly call "The velociraptor stage" of puppyhood.

This is the bitey, uber destructive stage where you become absolutely sure that this dog is trying to dismantle your life. It is where the phrase "You're the reason we can't have nice things!" originated from. With medium to large dogs, like June, this stage is when they are large enough to knock over unsuspecting children and hump them into submission (because that is what dogs do to assert dominance over other dogs); or, slurp an entire piece of raw, well seasoned, chicken right off the plate sitting on the counter.

If you have started training your dog from the beginning, the velociraptor stage is not awful. By the time you reach the velociraptor stage, you have established boundaries for your dog (no furniture, countertops, unapproved people food, digging in the yard, eating poo etc). So, you are left with the "testing the boundaries" part of the velociraptor stage which is not terrible.

So here is where I am...I have adopted a dog who is in the middle of her velociraptor stage and has had zero, nada, zip, zilch training on any boundaries...and a huge amount of energy. She has not experienced life outside of a cage...ever. So everything is new: grass, rain, wide open spaces, cars, bunny rabbits, lamps, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, construction equipment, construction noise, clothes dryers, large puddles, her own reflection, glass sliding doors etc. I also have two children who need to be taken places and entertained AND protected from June's special kind of love (biting, jumping, scratching).

Yeah, it's like that.

So I have to be hyper vigilant because a quiet puppy is a suspicious puppy. I have to vacuum and sweep every single day because she will literally eat anything that is on the floor. What am I talking about...she will eat anything off the counter, table, your hand, or your plate. Tonight, I was eating a bowl of shrimp fried rice and she jumped up and stole my eggroll...right out of the bowl. It was so fast, that I actually had a difficult time being mad about it because she was like a ninja...and it was f&*king impressive. We are still working to establish boundaries.

If she gets stirred up, watch out! In our house, we have taken to yelling "INCOMING!!" if the dog goes tearing off in someones direction. I have to yell "INCOMING!" every morning when I let June out of her cage so that my husband can assume the fetal position in bed because June takes a flying leap and lands on his junk every. single. morning.

She also has a real problem with other dogs. Since the first nine months of her life are a mystery that will remain unsolved, we have no idea what her interactions with other dogs have been like. It is unclear whether or not she just gets really excited and wants to play, but instead, attacks. OR She actually feels threatened by them and just attacks them. She goes from being my June Bug to my June Thug.

I, of course, will exaggerate colorfully what actually happens in these June Thug to doggie interactions. First June assumes the "play stance" to lure other dogs into a false sense of security. She will allow them a token butt sniff or cheek to cheek touch. Then, having lured her unsuspecting victim into her "death circle" she snarls and gives her viking like battle bark and attempts to rip their face off. Soooo....we are working on that.

The good stuff? She loves people. She especially loves my kids. Sometimes, she loves my kids too much. She has finally decided that its ok for me to blow dry my hair; but, when I aim the blow dryer at Abby, she loses her s*&t.

She has completely adopted us as her family. She is a great guard dog. She has saved us from a number of bunny rabbits, squirrels, blowing leaves, the old decrepit pug from across the street, lawn mowers, and shady looking garden hoses.

She is an absolute sweetie, likes her cuddles and giving kisses. She is smart and has proved to be relatively easy to train. We trained her to sit, lay down, and shake in literally twenty minutes. She knows and understands when we say "no biting" and immediately stops (most of the time).

Continue to follow our adventure into velociraptor training and all of the interesting experiences it brings.

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