(maybe) and German Shepard…(maybe.)

Waldo Zeller has been with us for about three weeks now, and we all still have our training wheels on. He is the first puppy I have had in 25 years. He is also twice as big as my last puppy grew up to be. His present and future size demand that I be a better doggie disciplinarian this time around.

He came to us with very good manners: in the car, with food, and on the leash. We have had very few in-house indiscretions. He is affectionate. I am pleased to report that he is not alarmed by thunderstorms or vacuum cleaners. He spends much of his time napping or watching “Waldo TV” (looking out the family room window) and has not yet been much of a barker. Passing trucks, school buses, and pedestrians with dogs do not incite him to riot. He has adapted to his crate with good grace.

After the first week, TMIM and I were congratulating ourselves on finding the perfect dog. And then Waldo got comfortable in his new digs.

While he still  happily trots out to the part of the backyard reserved for his personal business, and performs it, he has lost interest in trotting happily back inside in a timely fashion. Instead, he has chosen to make that a game of “Nanny nanny boo-boo- can’t catch me!”  He has begun to dig frantically and joyfully in random places, and not so random places: Dr. T’s little herb garden, for example.

Minor infractions.

Our bigger issue is “biting inhibition.” This boy is big, and has the teeth to go with it. The trainer at the shelter said, very reasonably, to ignore the bad behavior and reward the good. I agree in principle. I am having a slight problem ignoring the fact that fangs have broken my skin. My hands look very much as though I have been in a wicked bar brawl – various small scabs and bruised knuckles on both hands. (Clearly, I must have won- my face remains unscathed.) He is even more rambunctious with The Kid , and most respectful of TMIM- it clearly has to do with the way we interact with him.

I know he is playing, and that this is a phase. Sometimes I am happy with the way I deal with him; sometimes not. I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to him, and to everyone else he comes into contact with- just the way I felt about The Kid.

We will get through his adolescence together, and mercifully, in less than human teen time. With any luck, this time all the scars  will be merely physical.

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