Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Miki Journal

There are those who will say that we deserve anything we might get, after bragging on our puppy the way we did earlier: “no accidents, sleep through the night”. These past four nights we’ve had our comeuppance: Miki is no longer sleeping through the night, darn it (but still no accidents in the house!). Last night was the worst of all, with several yapping and yowling sessions, all seemingly timed perfectly to wake us just after we’d “finally” gotten to sleep. And we thought Miki would be sleeping like a log after a strenuous evening class! Debbie and I were befogged zombies this morning until we drank our extra large, extra strong coffee. Now we’re merely zombies…

Yesterday evening Miki attended his first puppy class. He was a very attentive student, especially once he figured out that food was involved (that took, oh, six or seven seconds). One thing surprised me about him: he was not easily distracted by the other goings-on — he was focused entirely on the treats. And the places from whence they came). He’s figured out that treats comes from someplace — jars, treat bags, etc. — and that you can go straight to the source if mom or pop isn’t carefully watching.

To be serious for just a moment (that stops with the next paragraph, don’t worry)…Miki seems to us to be quite a bit quicker and brighter than Mo’i was as a puppy. Neither of us can remember Lea’s puppyhood with enough clarity to be certain of a comparison with her. But we remember Mo’i being distinctly “lunky", and slower than we expected to learn things. That doesn’t seem to have been an issue in the long haul, as he’s still training (mainly for agility), and is now doing very well. But as a puppy…'twas a different story. If the difference holds through adulthood (e.g., if puppy “brightness” translates into adult “brightness"), then Miki holds considerable promise for agility training…

Consistent with our introductory class (sans puppy), most of the learning in “puppy class” is being done by us human folk, not the puppy. For example, last night we learned the proper way get your puppy to sit. Basically this involves a set of complex ceremonial gestures and offerings of “high value” treats (cubed smoked chicken breast, rare prime rib, French gorganzola, etc.). If we perform the gestures exactly correctly, and if our offering is of acceptable quantity and quality, then our puppy will condescend to grace us with a brief “sit”. At least, that’s the theory.

At right above you can see my lovely bride Debbie, going through some of the ceremonial gestures and making offerings. You can also see the calculating expression on Miki’s face — this is while he’s deciding exactly how infrequently he can actually do something we desire without impeding the flow of ceremony and offerings. Debbie got way more exercise than the puppy, especially for one particular ceremony we practiced at length, wherein we pranced about in front of our observing puppy, acting like we got an electric shock each time our feet hit the ground. Our trainer told us that this behavior would help teach our puppy not to be distracted, but we all knew the truth: this was really entertainment for our puppies — by looking foolish and amusing our puppy, we could entice them into sitting for us (after all, it’s more comfortable to sit while watching entertainment!). And it seemed to work with Miki; to all appearances, he greatly enjoyed our performance. And he sat. Briefly.

At far right is one of Miki’s classmates — a little ball of energy, a mini Australian Shepard (I think). She was extraordinarily hard to take pictures of, as she was almost always in high-speed motion — nearly all of my pictures (mostly taken at 1/90th) came out like this one. The left-hand picture is of one of the other “dog parents” and her daughter — I just thought her daughter was especially cute when she got all bundled up in a big sweatshirt…

Previous Miki Journals: [1]

And here are all of Miki’s classmates — an adorable crop of puppies, and of very varied shapes and sizes:


  1. In the old blog, Anonymous said:
    More great photos of MiKi. I especially like the one on the right side of the first row. He looks like he is looking to someone for orders. I wish his little sister Emmy was like that. Her first puppy class starts May 13 and I have been told to bring lots of chicken. We have had our share of problems with crate training but it is sorts working and we are sticking to it so far.Richard and Judy

  2. In the old blog, Anonymous said:
    oh, thank you, Miki is adorable!