Paul and I will be foster parents to a puppy through a great organization called Helping Paws that trains service dogs for people with physical disabilities. That's right, Paul and I are going to be trained...that is on how to tame a wild puppy! We don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl, or what its name will be. Though this has made nursery decorating difficult, we have opted for gender-neutral colors – green collar, red toys – and are as ready as we can be, considering neither of us has ever raised a puppy.
It looks a little daunting. We were going through the training manual, and the puppy is expected to know about 100 cues, including turning off lights, picking things up, and going to find help.
We've been to a couple of classes, and the really amazing thing is that we'll be teaching the puppy to do everything using only praise and rewards. Paul thought this sounded, well, a little permissive, but it seems to work. The Helping Paws dogs we've met have all been really well behaved, and our teacher said she has trained a fish to do tricks using the same techniques. Pretty impressive!
We're very excited about the new puppy, but we're not too sure about Bailey, our selfish, lazy cat. One of our goals is to teach Bailey to be less selfish and to instill a sense of public service. We had a long discussion with her last night, and she has suggested donating the following items to the new puppy:
- The steel brush she doesn't like.
- The blanket she doesn't like.
- The vacuum cleaner.