Steve read my post of the other day in which I expressed my bafflement about why puppies think it’s fun to beat up their buddies, and he declared that he understands it. Dogs do this, he expounded, because they’re practicing to go out and hunt. It’s a throwback, but a powerful behavioral legacy. I say: maybe.

Whatever the impulse, we still had some fearsome moments during Dionne and Ella’s final day together.

A moment of glory for Ella

By last night, we had a couple of exhausted puppies flaked out around us. They slept until we took them out shortly after 7 a.m. and mustered them for a long hike up the mountain. 

For the rest of the morning, they seemed almost subdued. When I confined them in the exercise pen out on the patio, they didn’t even try to escape, but rather, dozed and watched me garden. 

Cathy came and retrieved Ella around 2 p.m., and I could honestly tell her we enjoyed the visit.

But I learned from it. Clearly Dionne and Ella had a wonderful time being together, and I derived no small amount of pleasure from seeing that. At the same time, Steve and I both had the sense that our training regimen went to hell. It takes a lot of manpower to lead each puppy out to toilet (on leash)  many times a idea, stopping them when they do things like eat mulch (or worse), jump on the furniture, put their paws on the counters, bark or growl at each other, and so on.

In a year from now, when they’re vastly more civilized, things will be different. But for the moment, I don’t think we’ll be volunteering to take on any additional five-month-olds for extended house stays any time soon — no matter now cute they are.

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