We’ve had beautiful Mississippi for thirteen months now. We started her in a new dog training class. I wanted to sneak in one more class before the baby comes. This one is called Dynamic Dog and it’s at our dog daycare place Club K-9 in North Portland. We’ve gone twice now and have discovered our dog is suddenly really good at ‘leave it.’ Last night Tom was putting food on both her paws and could get her to leave it indefinitely. I badly want to start putting things on her nose but she’s very suspicious of us whenever we try it. Maybe in a couple more weeks. We’re teaching her an emergency recall to be used in dangerous situations when we need her to come when called, no matter what. We are using hot dogs and what we do is yell “Mississippi Now!!!” when she comes running, we treat the hell out of her and tell her what an amazing dog she is. She likes this new training exercise so much that last night she burned rubber trying to get out of the kitchen fast to go to Tom in the other room.
We took a chance yesterday and let her go off leash at a beach. We’d been at the regular dog park so she was mellow. The beach is very safe for unleashed dogs and has become a sort of unofficial dog park. She was doing great, we were practicing recalls with her and she was responding well. But then she got a little too interested in what was beyond the beach, and she stopped listening to our recalls. Tom went and got her, she wasn’t easy to get ahold of, but we weren’t about to let her wander off if she wasn’t going to respond to us. So, we are getting there, but not quite ready to go off leash. I want her to play on the beach so badly. If she were more into the water, it might work, but she only jumps in a little bit and then jumps out. She’s more interested in sniffing the sand. She’s a big sniffer.
Mississippi has started sleeping in our room. She used to always sleep on the couch. It seems like she’s much more interested now in being close to us all the time. We need to get a rug for the bedroom. We have a chair in there, and she likes it, but she prefers to stretch out. I put one of her doggy blankets in the room, just folder once so she can really stretch out.
It’s very hard to do sewing projects around her. If I’m on the floor, she wants to be doing whatever I’m doing. She sat on my lap as I was trying to cut fabric. Same goes in the garden. If I’m digging, she wants to help. If I trim plants, she thinks it’s her job to carry the trimmings off and dismantle them. I think it’s really cute, but I worry that I’ll never get a decent vegetable garden started. So I think I’m going to have to make a barrier with some bamboo from our big wall-of-bamboo grove.
I know that it’s our fault for not being diligent about this, but we still can’t get her to stop pulling on the leash. Squirrels, cats and sometimes other dogs are a major hazard for me now, as it does major damage to my poor, stretched out stomach muscles when she pulls. It’ll be worse when we add a baby carrier or stroller to the mix, so we’re going to try a gentle leader. Our trainer is going to help us get used to it. I would hate for her to hate it. I daydream about strolling around the neighborhood with dog and baby, all calmly enjoying our day. Right now they are pipe dreams. Anyone on a skateboard, a squirrel, a bike, a cat, all pose major threats to our safety by her trying to take off on me. And I can’t take risks like that with a tiny baby.
We put a grate in the back of the car too and are slowly getting her accustomed to it. We can’t have her crawling all over the baby, plus it’s just not safe with her standing up between the front car seats especially with a baby in the car. She’s been surprisingly fine with it. We only put her back there when we are coming home from fun doggy things like the dog park or her daycare. She’s only complained once.
So a year and change later, Mississippi continues to grown and learn and get better and better at being the awesome dog that she is. Can’t believe how far we’ve come in a year. She’s so smart.