Training a Writer’s Dog

Happy New Year everyone!

When I last checked in, I’m sure I talked about my preparations for getting a second dog for Christmas. We felt, after our older dog’s cancer scare, that it was time to find him a companion. (Dozer is six.) After a hitch in the plans, this happy event has come to pass. We do indeed have a pup.

the new pup's baby picture

Meet Miss Harper Lee

She’s not the dog we initially chose. Sadly that one showed an aggressive streak to her foster mom before we could bring her home. (She was nearly five months old and quite capable of inflicting real harm.) The shelter group refused to place her with a “regular family” like us, and instead sent her on to a sort of rehab program they have. Then they offered us any other dog they had.

Enter Miss Harper.

She was only 10 weeks old when we got her, three weeks ago. We didn’t expect to start with such a youngling, but the little girl captured our hearts at first sight.

Her supervision and training have been INCREDIBLY time-consuming. (Do you have any idea how tiny a ten week old puppy bladder is?) For housebreaking purposes, we are primarily using the umbilical leash method. In essence this means that she’s attached to one of us (usually me) whenever she’s having a wakeful time. We do crate her for meals and overnight. Occasionally, she naps in there too …

… but only occasionally.

Harper and Dozer

Harper and Dozer

Between Harper and a two-week Christmas visit from my son’s girlfriend, ALL of my writing time in December disappeared. (Along with my time for housekeeping, sleeping, eating while sitting down, etc.)

But it’s getting better. She’s coming along nicely. We’ve worked out a schedule, finally, that allows me a bit of time at the keyboard in exchange for long “writerly” walks that wear her out. Granted, these are short writing sessions, but I’m okay with that.

It takes time to learn how to be a writer’s dog.

Luckily, she has a good teacher. Dozer just showed her how it’s done, by laying down on one of my feet, under the desk. After studying him for a moment, she’s claimed the other one.

Time to crack open that novel project I haven’t even looked at for almost a month and get back to it.


9 Comments on “Training a Writer’s Dog”

  1. Deb Cartwright says:

    Ahhh what a wonderful sweet dog I’m sure will bring you a lot of love an joy 🎀💓💓💓🎀xxx

  2. rugby843 says:

    Cute puppy, love the story. They do take constant supervision!

  3. Fantastic! Looks like they love each other. Potty training is why I adopted an adult last time. But they come with a whole other set of issues. Enjoy the puppy love.

    • Exactly. We were going for the happy medium, not too young (potty training) and not to old (set in their ways).

      We noticed a bit of fear aggression when we first met the adolescent dog, but we thought giving her a stable home with a secure place in the pack would fix it. During the interim between the meet and greet and bringing her home, however, the foster mother accidentally scared her badly.

      (She locked herself out of her house while watching the adolescent play in the yard. When she realized what she’d done, she starting pounding on the door and yelling to get her husband to let her back in.)

      The dog didn’t know what the hell was happening, so apparently she raced across the yard and attacked the foster mom. She drew blood. Then she could not be calmed for a long time.

      Very sad. Exactly the sort of thing that should not happen to a dog with issues.

      I think the young (6 months – 2 years) dogs are the riskiest. They have often had bad experiences before going into rescue, and they don’t yet know how to control those teenager-like responses.

      I hope she does well in the hands of a good program. She is a beautiful girl and seemed smart.

  4. kam120 says:

    She is so adorable and I love the name! Best of luck on your book!

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