“You had me at woof” ……….or a puppy’s fantasy.

I know you mean well, but you’re going about this all wrong. Let’s look at his from my viewpoint, eh? We’ll call it Puppydom 101. Throw away the Puppies for Dummies book and all those pamphlets you got from the vet that are taking up space on the kitchen counter and let’s get down to the nitty-gritty shall we? All you really need is some advice right from the hors…er…uh…puppy’s mouth.

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Puppies, i.e. me, are the sweetest thing that ever came down the pike. Hands down, no contest, end of discussion. There is nothing cuter than a little puppy. Nada, squat, zilch, zip point zero. And since I am your puppy, I am the cutest of all the cute puppies, ever! Don’t blame me, God wanted it that way. In his wisdom, he knew that I would be helpless, yet apt to be the cause of boundless trouble, consternation and expense. In fact, pound for pound, I have more wrecking power than the proverbial bull in the china shop. Oh, and did I mention how cute I am?

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OK, now that we’ve established my position at the top of the scale of cuteness, there are a few things that you will need to know in order to keep me safe and happy and so cute. Pay close attention, mastery of these items is prerequisite if you want to move on to Puppydom 201 (Advanced Spoiling).

1. Mealtime. Mealtime is a misnomer. It should be called meandertime. I will be taking my sweet time pecking at my food while I wander off to examine my surroundings and investigate more interesting venues, like cupboards. I’ll be rambling back to the feeding station as I see fit, so please don’t take up the food until I have finished. And don’t listen to all that claptrap about “puppies need special puppy food.” The good stuff will go down just fine.

2. Playtime. This is basically any time when I’m not napping, eating, or busy soiling the Persian rug. Here are a few definitions that might come in handy: What you call nibbling at your person parts, I call playing. What you call chewing the furniture, I call playing. What you call dragging your underwear around the house, I call playing. What you call getting into any kind of trouble at all, I call playing. You get the idea.

3. Toys. I know you think the two dozen toys you bought for me are enough. You couldn’t be more wrong. If you think Attention Deficit is strictly a human condition, guess again. My staying power with these toys is pretty short. How short? If you brought it home yesterday, I’m already over it. The good news is, PetSmart has a points card that you can use for great discounts. To be honest, I’d prefer you bought more shoes anyway.

4. Sleeping arrangements. Those who are definitely not in the know will suggest a crate. This is a big mistake made by most owners. Crating results in prolonged, hi-pitched whining and crying that can bring animal abuse charges from sleepless neighbors. I know you don’t want that. What you want is cuddling in bed. Imagine my warm furry self at your feet on those cold winter nights. Or snuggled up at your neck making those cute little love noises that cute puppies make. A little slice of heaven, yes? Enough said.

5. Housebreaking. Are you aware that one of the biggest advantages to being an animal is not having to wait in line to use the bathroom? Having said that, most people will tell you that the average time to house train a puppy is about two months. The key word here is average. You know how averages are arrived at don’t you? You take the shortest amount of time(s) and the longest amount of time(s), then divide by two. Well, somebody’s puppy has to be the longest, right? I encourage you to learn to embrace the upper side of the bracket. Besides, those wake up in the middle of the night to go outdoors sessions are good training for when you reach those “golden” years. And while we’re on the subject, what’s with all this “hurry up and go” stuff? Sniffing and stalling are the only two dog traits that are fully developed at birth. Try to be happy for me.

6. Not all puppies are fortunate enough to have another dog as a built-in playmate in their new home. It is to your credit that you provided one for me. However, I think you may have some misconceptions about our relationship. Age is not a factor. Size is not a factor. Seniority in the household is not a factor. I am Alpha, hear me squeak. The other dog is now just that, the other dog. She is to be used solely for me to practice my tug-of-war, stalking, attacking and biting techniques. She will be fed after me, walked after me, petted after me and generally attended to only after all of my needs have been met. Your attention in making sure she adheres to these rules is paramount, as she could easily take me out in one bite.

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Well, that’s about it for now. If I’ve left anything out we’ll cross that bridge when we come t…….. excuse me, what is that show you’re watching on TV now? Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer? Why are all those dogs milling around and acting so nice? What does discipline mean? Is that a crate? Wait, have I told you lately how cute I am? Can’t we talk about th……….