This has been my summer vocabulary as I train my now 12 week old puppy, Milo. We’re currently practicing “Settle Down” as I write. This means I’m sitting with my foot on the middle of a six-foot long leash ignoring the chewing monster on the other end. He is supposed to be sitting quietly at my feet. Instead he’s gnawing on the leash, the leg of my pajamas or the underside of the chair I’m sitting in. We’re supposed to practice this for 30 minutes. It can be a struggle.
Puppy training is exhausting. We take two steps forward and one step backwards all day long. Milo has learned many things over the past 4 weeks. He knows his name, he sits on command and he comes when called. These are huge milestones in the life of a puppy. He still has a lot to learn and some days are better than others.
Yesterday was one of the more challenging days. My knitting bags live in the rocking chair now, my computer cord is laced through the chair and around the top of the table so my computer can charge and my new math materials are stacked on the couch to protect them from puppy teeth. I’m still working on keeping him from chewing the stone on the hearth, the legs of the coffee table and the rocker my husband made entirely by hand without the use of power tools.
I know this stage is short lived and all this hard work will eventually pay off. He actually has “Settled Down” as I write and he’s looking up at me and melting my heart. Training a puppy is a lot like teaching. There will be great days and not so great days, strategies that work and ones that don’t and struggles that lead to success and growth. Focusing on the success and growth is the key to staying motivated and moving towards the end goals.
For now I can’t resist the puppy licks on my toes, or is he gnawing on the carpet? It doesn’t really matter because it’s time to grab the umbrella, put on my Muck Boots and head outside. There’s no indoor recess when you’re puppy training.