Thursday, February 28, 2008

Carbon Copy

Several people who got puppies and have a current dog have commented about how the puppy seems to want to mirror what the other dog is doing. This is a normal part of being a puppy. Safety means being with someone bigger and stronger than you. Puppies know they are helpless which is why they try to ingratiate themselves to anyone they encounter. They are completely harmless if a little irritating.

I know some dogs ‘don’t like puppies’ and cannot be trusted around them because rather than accepting the puppy is harmless they get annoyed and lash out. Frankly I sometimes feel that way about kids. However, I don’t yell at or smack other people’s children(sometimes I’ve itched to tho) and adult dogs should not be allowed to do it to puppies. They can correct but they should not attack. Nor should they have to tolerate annoying puppy behaviour so if they don’t like it they should remove themselves from the situation or you should remove them. This is Rifka's friend(who's name I can't recall) playing with her. What shiney teeth you have ...

If your current dog has habit you want the puppy to learn then let him shadow as much as he wants. He won’t become dependent on his big friend(unless he’s a Momma’s Boy like The Boy) because he will, like all puppies, eventually turn into a teenager.

When he realizes he knows not only more than the dog who taught him but more than you and anyone in your house he will cut the apron strings and fly on his own. And get into LOTS and LOTS of trouble.

Your other dog will look on and say “I don’t think that’s a good idea” while teenage puppy destroys valuable possessions. Much like I imagine Petal did while Halo destroyed my couch. Sometimes the other dog will join in the fun … hooray peer pressure. Always remember: two dogs don’t do the same amount of damage as one dog – they do the damage of about 4 or 5 dogs. It usually results in a significant shrinking of the bank account.

So if Puppy is learning good behaviours from current dogs let him. Frankly it’s ultra-cute and if the other dog is okay with it then don’t worry. If the current dog has habits you do not want … that is a harder correction. Try to prevent puppy from seeing the behaviour and at the same time you can take advantage of the change in routine to correct the other dog’s behaviour too. Remember, it’s harder to un-teach something than it is to teach it.

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