30 August 2016

Bringing Up Banksy :: Part 4 of 9

Where we left off…I went and got myself a border collie puppy, in hopes of training her to one day become a champion.

I snuck into my house in the middle of the night with a border collie puppy shoved under my arm.

We were all a little shell shocked. Me, the puppy, my mostly asleep husband, and my three little dogs, a whole bunch of saucer-eyed deer in the headlights, looking at me for the brilliant answer to what the heck do we do now? I was the fancy agility trainer who supposedly had a plan, except now I was pretty sure I'd totally misrepresented myself as to being completely in control of the situation. In a court of law, Judge Judy would have sent me up the river.

We all watched the poofy little wolverine sending a full water bowl across the room like a hockey puck, driving it into the wall and gleefully flinging it around, spraying water across the kitchen. Anarchy had begun. What was I going to do with this puppy?

The puppy just wanted to play! Play as in Run! Bite! Run! Bite! The other dogs were all, GET RID OF THAT THING! Except for beloved deaf and half-blind Ruby, shuffling for cover, who was more like, THAT THING WANTS TO RUN ME OVER. My husband wasn't sure what to say. Mostly that he sure hoped I knew what I was doing while he shook his head, surveying the destruction. This would become his head shaking mantra as he walked away from each tiny swath of chaos. The puppy really liked to bite. And eat all the succulents in the yard. This is a thing that you can't imagine if you haven't had a puppy, the amount of biting and eating of contraband. Tiny little razor blades are always coming at you from all directions, and there goes the spikey little cactus in what used to be the shiniest blue pot.

Here are the things you're supposed to teach your puppy right away. Everything. All the things. A million things. Nothing. Every single foundation skill. Teach them all the time. Not too much. Every second. And don't train them. Let them just be puppies. I tried to have a list. There were many lists. But they were way too long and looked more like a a hundred deathly centipedes crawling off the page than the tidy how-to manual I envisioned. You want to get a serious case of banging your head on the wall until you weep sideways out your nose? Get yourself a puppy and go on the internet to figure out the best way to train it. Because good luck with that. There are forty seven million trillion ideas out there and from my vantage point, it looked like a distant sprawling salt flat of infinity, with a flame throwing, Mad Max fiesta roaring across the chasm. May the best naked chainsaw juggler win.

I thought I was prepared. I had her little crate and x-pen ready. I had puppy food and a million chewies. I had dog training super heroes with online puppy classes and dvds at my ready. They were kind of like my own personal Batmans except no capes or Batmobiles. Probably not even tights, maybe yoga pants. But where you watch the video and do it just like they do. Clicker activated and voila! The puppy knows how to stay in a crate and circle round a cone!

Yeah, right. My best advice for anybody getting a puppy is that there's all the advice and there's no advice. You've been dropped down a rabbit hole into a subculture of creative canine anachronism and there's a benevolent guerilla uprising happening right there in your living room and your living room may have all things with little tassels chewed up if you shut your eyes for even one second. Nothing will go according to plan so probably don't even plan. Just go have a cocktail or some pancakes instead. But good luck finding your liquor and the mixing bowl because there's a puppy screaming around the kitchen and she's going in for the kill on the cabinets next.

to be continued...

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