Monday, April 10, 2006

Looks Can Be Deceiving


Don't be deceived! Buffy looks like your typical yellow lab, but she's not! Well, maybe she is...

I got Buffy three years ago when she was just 8 weeks old. She looked like the puppy on the Advantix commercials - you know, the one at summer camp who sings the song, "Hello, Mother... Hello, Father..."

She's the first dog with papers I've ever had, and I gave her the sappy name of Bella Buffy Vanilla Pudding. Bella because she's so pretty. Buffy because I was totally into Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the time. Vanilla after the best dog I ever had - a yellow lab mix. And Pudding because she seemed so sweet. Little did I know!

This dog has been such a handful! I love her to pieces, but she has demonstrated an affinity for every bad behavior known to dogdom. She and her brother/cousin Reagan (he was once my dog, now he's my sister's) ate very large portions of the driveway gate and the frame around the garage door. She's currently attempting to eat her Igloo doghouse, and she's making really good progress. She's partially consumed a couple of dog beds. She barks at the poor guy who lives behind us everytime he goes out in his yard. Luckily, he's a dog lover and he assures me it's okay, however it's not okay with me.

She pulls plants up out of the yard and eats them or runs around gleefully with them. She's stolen fruit off the kitchen counter - she really likes peaches and bananas. She steals my socks and underwear on laundry days. Yuck!

On the other hand, she is very smart and learns commands quickly. She has a pretty big vocabulary. She will drop any item (even food) if I tell her to drop it. When food is involved she will learn and do anything. I taught her to roll over in under ten minutes using treats to motivate her. Now she'll roll over without a lure.

She loves to go for a walk, but she hates to wear any sort of restraint. She pulls the entire time, which is really irritating to me. And it was on our walks when I realized that she has a fear of small children. In the past, her fear made her get very nervous at first, and then she would growl and bark at any little kid we happened upon. This, of course concerns me because next year there will be a baby in the house.

So, my new strategy is to walk her more often through the park near my home, and to stop at the children's play area and just sit and watch the little kids playing. We did this today, and while she was interested in them, she did not react like she has in the past. There was no growling or barking. So, I'm hopeful that with continued exposure to kids and her maturity she will be a good companion for Jillian. I know that I'll have to vigilant with my training and careful when they are in the same room together - just in case.

10 Comments:

  • At 9:17 PM, Blogger Michelle said…

    OMG! I used to have a yellow lab that looked EXACTLY like her! I swear,they could be twins! Her name was "Annie" because I got her at the pound, and also because that was my favorite movie from when I was a child. She was very mischevious too, and also smart. She really mellowed out about the chewing as she got older. Maybe Buffy will too. As for the kid thing, maybe she just needs to be around kids some more. She will probably love them once she gets over her fear. Anyway, she is such a cutie. Good luck!

     
  • At 11:46 AM, Blogger Frances said…

    A prong collar at the base of the skull not on the neck will help with the pulling. She will "train" herself not to pull. They look horrible but they are much safer that the "choker" collars. Please consider this. Check out www.justlabradors.com I was a member when I had Luna (my white lab - actually a very pale yellow)

     
  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger Joannah said…

    Thanks for the suggestions, Frances. I've used a pronged collar in the past with a different lab and it was not effective. In my frustration, I go back and forth between a Gentle Leader and a choke chain. I prefer the Gentle Leader. What finally worked with my other lab (and I still have her) was a Halti. Buffy hasn't given in to either a Halti or a Gentle Leader for me, but I'm hoping with age that she will... :-)

     
  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger Sandy said…

    Buffy may be a handful when she's up to her antics, but she sure is cute!! She sounds like a quick learner though so I think it's a great idea to continue your walks through the park to help adjust to children.

    I've never tried the Gentle Leader. I usually use prong collars when I walk both my dogs at the same time because that's all that works when they try to tag team and chase a cat when I just want to walk! Good luck and I hope you find something soon for Buffy!

     
  • At 3:56 PM, Blogger Mariah said…

    Your dog is so sweet!! Doesn't the Dog Whisperer, Ceasar Milan live in LA??? Maybe he could help you! I love to watch that show!

     
  • At 7:23 PM, Blogger Shannon S said…

    Oh Buffy!! You are a cutie despite all your antics!
    I've noticed while babysitting my niece this week that my dogs could use some more training for when Elena arrives. I'm hoping this longer referral wait isn't due to "the powers that be" who have an inkling as to how long my dogs will need in order to be trained! =)

     
  • At 9:31 PM, Blogger Kristin said…

    What a beautiful dog! Labs are great with kids... she probably just needs more exposure!

    The gentle leader did us no good... we ended up sending them to camp for 6 weeks in San Diego!

     
  • At 8:37 PM, Blogger Kim M. said…

    She is soooo cute. Keep working with her! I was worried about our Cocker Spaniel. Everyone said they were so bad with kids. He loves our kids and they him!!

     
  • At 3:19 PM, Blogger Tamara said…

    Hey, I learned something new! I'll have to try one of those easy harness or prong collers on Mollie my mixed yellow lab. Last week I was sorely tempted to take her back but this week she has been a real sweet heart. Before I had her I never knew labs were such a handful. All she wants to do is play play play... (wears me out!)

     
  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger Tamara said…

    Thanks for the halter advice and the book suggestions, everyone has been reccomending the Dog Whisperer so guess I will definately need to check it out. I'm also starting intermediate obedience class next week. I was skeptical 'cause after the beginner class she is still very "energetic" but the trainer assures me Mollie is ready and that some things willun start to click in the intermediate class. hmmm ya think? Anyway, I think you uncovered a common link with this post. Apparently a lot of future adoptive parents are dog lovers too!

     

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