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Puppy Training: Day 1

Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them…all who follow his precepts have good understanding. 
 Psalm 111: 2,10



Even—especially-- mature and responsible people are entitled to a little silliness now and then. In my case, my silliness has taken the form of a puppy for my sixty-something birthday.

We have always had dogs, big, mostly outdoor dogs. Our last beloved pet died six years ago. But in the last year I have had an urge for one last dog.

For several months, I have been researching breeds. No possibility was rejected, (At least until I saw a 185 lb. bullmastiff in the flesh.) However, when I did the math and realized that in ten years I might be fulfilling the exercise requirements of a vigorous dog from a walker, I turned my research to the smaller breeds, nowadays called “apartment dogs.” From there I selected a breed and selected a puppy.

It had been twenty years since we had a puppy and, wow, have things changed! The dog whisperer is just the tip of the iceberg. Our vet, who has been in practice for thirty-plus years, said that she is embarrassed to recall how she used to train her dogs. Rolled up newspapers and “bad-dog”-nose-in-the poop techniques have been soundly refuted by the findings of two decades of animal behavioral research.

Within the first week of life with the puppy, I was gifted with three chapter books on puppy training—two from the breeder and one from the vet. One book the breeder called “fabulous” takes you week-by-week for the first months of puppy parenthood, with specific training goals for each week. (I couldn’t keep track of all I was supposed to do, much less do it!)

As I read, I was struck by the greater wisdom I found there. If we believe that all life is from God and He ordered the world to work in accordance with certain principles, it isn’t too surprising that this is so: puppies, to babies, to life.

Nancy Shirah 

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