We’ve been known to occasionally make rude comments about Tucker, who was released by CCI before he could begin a life of service, to instead become a dog of leisure. When we make him stay with Kyndall in Steve’s office (where we have a huge crate for her), we’ll remind him that he needs to work occasionally, as a babysitter, rather than exclusively being a bum. Today we saw another possible job for him: as barricade.
It was a beautiful morning, the kind of day when he loves nothing better than to bask in the sunlight on the doorway between Steve’s office and the patio. He props his head against the door jam. (It doesn’t look very comfortable, but he assumes the position voluntarily.) Kyndall was inside, but she could see outside and Steve could enjoy the warm breezes and sunlight.
What particularly interested me was how completely unwilling Kyndall was to step over Tucker. Clearly she felt it would irritate him to the point of snarling at her. (We know him better than that, but we didn’t feel like letting her in on what a softy Tucker is.) The setup worked perfectly for about 10 minutes. Then Tucker moved, and Kyndall sauntered outdoors to seek some rotting tangerines or sticks to gnaw on.
What’s not to like about a CCI puppy cape? They’re a cheery bright yellow, adorned with the iconic blue patch. We’ve seen definite resistance in some of our puppies over the years to the halters that are supposed to go around their muzzles, when they’re on leash. But Kyndall has never balked at the halter. Instead she’s developed an aversion to her cape.
In the past few days, when she has seen us with it in hand, she’s bolted. Yesterday Steve couldn’t corner her; he had to call me in to help trap and dress her. A while later, when I was filling out my Puppy Report, I noticed for the first time that among the Grooming/Handling Problems, there is a box for “Resists putting on the cape.” For the first time, I checked it.
As it happened, last night was also our second Kinderpup class. When Bob, our teacher, asked if anyone was grappling with any “issues,” I mentioned this new, unwelcome development. It immediately became clear that the cape-ophobia is something that happens from time to time — and can even be worse. One veteran recounted having a dog whose personality changed dramatically when it was dressed. That puppy, when naked, was a frisky, happy soul, but as soon as the cape went on, it lay down and looked mournful.
Someone else told about making a puppy wear the cape day and night for weeks — until finally the cape-ophobia melted away. Several people, including Bob, advised us to get Kyndall to associate the cape with happy events — getting delicious treats, for example, or being petted. We came away with plenty of ideas to work on.
I just filled out and e-mailed the first monthly progress report for Kyndall — not the most exciting milestone for these early days, but one of our official duties as puppy-raisers. Fortunately, there’s not a great deal of bureaucratic paperwork associated with raising a puppy for CCI; this is the biggest part of it, and being able to do it with an electronic, e-mailable form makes it more tolerable.
As far as we can recall, none of our previous CCI puppies has been working on so many commands by this early age (just 15 weeks), nor have any had so few checkmarks on page 2, where BAD behaviors are listed. Kyndall is the easiest puppy we’ve had so far.