Monday, June 23, 2014

Doggie Play Date and 1st Day of Puppy School

I called my sister Saturday to make arrangements for another play-date. It is important to make sure Sumter is socialized and Colin seems to enjoy spending time at the house. Colin and his "dog cousin" Otis seem to have a bond and Colin loves to show off his new puppy.

Sumter is full of energy and loves to play hard with the big dogs. I enjoy hanging out at the resort-like property that is situated on 3 acres of land with a swimming pool and fun friends and neighbors that come to hang out. Colin gets a chance for pool time, video gaming and to catch up on cable-tv as we just have plain-old antenna reception. This is a mini-vacation for all 3 of us. It is also important for Colin to maintain a relationship with his former host-family so that he does not feel abandoned.

In addition to Otis and his bestie, Zoe, there was a visiting puppy, Burley, a 4 month-old golden retriever. The dogs played hard all day and Sumter made a new friend (pictured above bonding at the water station with Burley). 


Sometime during the early afternoon play-cation, the lawn crew showed up and we had the dogs take a temporary time-out. Colin disappeared into the house and ended up in a marathon video game session with his cousin. It is rare for the boys to play together and I was grateful for the interaction.

When it was time for Sumter's dinner, I went up to tell Colin. He was in "Shut-Up" mode and was especially rude to me in front of his cousin. Colin does not usually show his ugly-side in front of others as even told me he was going to kill me. I scolded him for "showing off" in front of his cousin, told him this was not o.k. and left. I then fed the dog and resumed my visit with my sister and her friends.

We stayed for dinner and after a long day, it was time to go home. Colin was uncooperative when told to finish up his game and pack up. I told him I would be leaving in 5 minutes with the puppy, with or without him. I then set about packing up the car. After I packed up, I stopped to visit with my sister and her next-door neighbor who stopped by and Colin came out to the car.

I was ready to take off and Colin started to spew his angry messages toward me. I stopped to take a "moment" and my sister looked up and asked what was going on. I rolled down the window to let her know I was having a "time-out" and would be leaving in a minute. My nephew took the opportunity to have a few "words" with his cousin and stuck his head through the open window.

He used some "choice language" and called my son out. My nephew told my son that if he wanted things to change, HE was the one that needed to change his behavior. When the lecture was over, I silently mouthed the words "Thank You", rolled up the window and drove home in silence.

I called my sister when we got back home. I wanted to make sure she knew that while we don't speak like that in our house, I really appreciated her son stepping in. Colin needs to know that the rest of the world won't put up with his bad behavior. I found out that her son had Colin in tears. I did not want to look back while the confrontation was happening, nor did I allow myself to peer into the rear-view mirror during the ride home. My sister thought that perhaps the lawn crew helped trigger the bad behavior and her friend thought perhaps we overdid the visit and should have left earlier. Hard to say what goes through my son's head and I don't know if given the chance,  I would have done anything differently. This is all part of the process where I use my "mother's intuition" to guide me.

The rest of the evening, I avoided all contact with my son and took a well-needed break, that my "intuition" demanded!

"Fun"damental Training

Sunday evening, Colin and I took Sumter to our first training session. There is only one other dog in our class and the instructor may end up combining our session with the class before us. The extra-attention was good for the first session. It was clear that Sumter has the alpha-dog mentality of his Shar-Pei genes and the exuberance of his labrador heritage. The instructor mentioned the importance of early training and could see that we have a smart puppy.

We worked on sit, down and started to learn heel and getting the dog to come when called. We did not bring enough treats but fortunately the school sells them and I bought a bag. I'm not sure how much of the lesson Colin absorbed. He has a mind of his own and does not listen well. He will be more of a challenge to train than Sumter.

When class was over, I had Colin take Sumter outside and I took a few minutes to explain our situation to the teacher. I wanted to make sure she understood why I was trying to be more in the background and give her context for any possible odd-behavior that might take place. (So far nothing out of the ordinary happened) She thanked me for the background information.

For someone who did not want unnecessary conversation, Colin was fairly verbose on the ride home. He made it clear he did not like the instructor and scoffed at her teaching methods and knowledge. I had to shush him a few times as I did not was to hear this negativity.

This was an interesting weekend, filled with lessons. Definitely a process!

We are a work-in-progress!

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