2020 Life Logs, Day 29: Leader of the Pack
Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 39 degrees, Low 24 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today I had my first training session as a puppy owner. The first thing I learned is that Shadow thinks he is the leader of the pack, not me. And in an hour and a half I was given instruction on how to move myself into the leadership position. It all sounds so easy, but it is not. Shadow is a smart and headstrong puppy and I have to be smarter and more headstrong. We’ll have another ‘class’ in a week and half and we’ll see if I am able to be carry through with the instruction. Here’s the basic premise of the Dogman Training: “Dogs are domesticated wolves. To live successfully with your dog, you must be the pack leader. In order to get that message thru to your dog, there must be corrections. We use the leash and collar to correct our dogs because a correction on the neck makes sense to the dog.” It requires using a chain collar on Shadow and pulling or snapping it with the leash every time he doesn’t comply with instructions. I hate the idea, but I did see that it works. So, I will give it my best try. Already he walks with me on walks, not pulling me along. One of my assignments is to get him to sit and stay while I put food in front of him for a full five minutes before letting him eat. I managed 45 seconds today and that was not easy. So, we shall see. But I do like Joe, the trainer, and I will at least complete class number two before deciding if this is the training program for me and my Shadow. And the one really good thing about the session was that Shadow loved meeting Joe’s eight-month old puppy named Stubby. Shadow has not been around many other dogs, but he interacted very playfully with Stubby. Joe suggests I start taking him to the Dog Park to play with other dogs.

I took Ollie to his violin lesson this afternoon and afterwards we went to the Falmouth Pet Center and bought a couple of new fish for my aquarium. Ollie chose two Neon Tetras. Then tonight I played Mah Jongg. That is another challenging hurdle for me. Try as I might, I still can’t get all of the rules straight. But I love being with the group of women I play with and will continue on for the rest of winter and spring before deciding if this is something I want to continue.

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