Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adorable Bruno

Bruno came to stay with us on Friday night He's one of those dogs that may not be quite ready for adoption unless you have time for training, but he's as adorable as he looks.

I'm not sure how old he is - probably not more than a year, but for purposes of training he's about ten weeks old. A giant baby with no concept of rules.

To be fair, I must tell you that he has bitten someone, which is why he hasn't been adopted yet. But I can also tell you he's nothing but lovable. Puppies learn what hurts when other puppies bite down on them, and that teaches them to 'chew' without actually biting. Humans go on to teach them to only use their mouths very gently, or not to use their mouths at all. Whatever Bruno's background is, he seems not to have gotten any of these lessons.

Okay, so he didn't get any of the other lessons either.

He leaps into my arms when I sit down - he just comes sailing through the air from any direction. But when he should leap (into the truck, for example) he declines. On the first trip, I put him in the passenger seat, and by the time we were out of the culdesac he was in my lap like a 45 pound bichon-shitzu. I had to pull over and re-position him, and then just keep my arm in the way so he couldn't crawl back.

House training: Oh yes! says Bruno, I have that down. I can pee on anything! But he'll figure it out soon - we just have to catch him in the act a few more times.

Crate training: He gets an A. The + is missing because only because he needs encouragement to go in at bed-time, but once there he sleeps quietly all night. I put him in during the day just for practice while Don was home, and he howled a few times. I guess it's not so acceptable in the daytime when everyone else is awake. But today he went into the crate by himself to sleep, so he'll be fine.

Cats and dogs: Bruno is curious and bouncy, but so far that's all. Oscar (my favorite dog in the world, almost) is teaching him to play with wild abandon. And he respects the cat enough to know that something terrible might happen if he gets too close. (And it might!)

Sitting: I think Bruno knows what Sit means. But he takes a very long time to get around to it. The rules say you should not repeat your command. They hear you the first time and if you wait long enough they will obey. I find this is true in most cases, as difficult as it is not to repeat yourself. With Bruno, it can take as long as minute, with me waiting for him to sit before I put his food dish down. We stand and look at each other without blinking, and then finally he will sit down. Or - and this happens about 50% of the time - he will just wander away. It's as though he's having a little conversation with himself: How hungry am I? What is in that dish? Do I really care if I get some of it? Nah... maybe later. And off he goes.

And that's it for now.

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