Booker: No Longer the Bounding Basher

When Booker arrived here he was a 70 pound puppy with no training or discipline at all. He’s friendly and happy, and playful, but had no concept of how big he is. As a result, he’d jump up on me, inadvertently leaving claw marks, and knocking me off balance. Fortunately I am still able to stand up to that.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working with him to instill some basic dog/people etiquette. That is coming along well.

As you can see, he’s not trying to topple me.

Playing Tug

We do play tug sometimes. It’s not his favorite game because it confuses him. The first time, he could not figure out why I was insisting on trying to wrest his toy away from him. Once he caught on that it was only temporary, and I let him win several times (letting the dog win is important in tug: keep the bouts short and let him win so he doesn’t get combative), he’d stand and look at me curiously as though saying, “You’re pretty much a wimp aren’t you? I wasn’t even trying very hard.” Booker is not combative, and will relinquish the toy if I try too hard.

Playing Keep-Away

Booker much prefers keep-away. This allows him the freedom to bound around or run as he likes and to swoop in to tease me. He likes teasing!

He gets more exercise this way too, and I need to wear him out at least twice a day (three times is better) or he gets bored in his pen and tries to tear holes in his chain link. As long as he gets a good amount of exercise, he’s content to lounge in the shade and watch the world roll by — or play little games with his neighbor Sylvia.

Playing Fetch

Forget about it! He will chase a toy that’s tossed, but then either does the “here it is” thing and wanders off or picks it up to play keep-away. In time, this too will come, but right now he’s not grasping the concept.

Whether playing fetch or keep-away it is a good idea to spend some time letting him keep the toy while I just pet him. That way he knows we’re just playing and it becomes a loving/pleasurable experience beyond the physical challenge.

Sylvia Gets Jealous

In this morning’s play session, Sylvia watched us playing and was fussing about wanting to be out too. We ignored her. When Booker got tired and went to his pen to get his cookie, I let Sylvia out. Her reaction was new, and funny:

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