Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lemon is growing up...

I certainly do my fair share of complaining about Lemon. I love her to death, but she is her papa's girl, and she picks on Jackson and Hilga endlessly. I'm not necessarily a puppy person. Yes, they are certainly cute. But, there is a lot to be said about bringing a dog like Hilga home (potty trained, never chewed on anything, invisible leash and all of that good stuff). Puppies are a certain challenge, and I feel like it takes a while for their personalities to develop in a way that makes them distinct. I remember with Jackson, I couldn't wait for him to reach that year point. I thought at the time I was just excited to see what a full size Berner was really like (since he was our first). I thought with our second puppy, Lemon, I would enjoy the puppy stage more, not wanting her to get older. I'm finding there are a lot of reasons why I'm not sad to say goodbye to puppydom. Not that we're there yet, but I can tell we're getting closer!!

We definitely had our struggles with Lemon... the most obvious being that it took her about 5 months to pick up on potty training. But, I can now officially say that she is house-trained. We have finally reached one month of no accidents (except for one potty accident that I am not including because it's my tally and I get to do it how I want).

She has finally stopped running back to our closet and gleefully prancing back with a prize (one of my favorite shoes) in her mouth. In fact, she barely ever plays with anything but her toys (although she does a good job of destroying those).

She no longer eats poop (at least when we're watching...and her breath isn't giving her away, so I'm going with her no longer eating poop). She does sometimes gaze longingly at it with her nose within inches (a little too close for my comfort), but is happy to leave it with a slow warning "Lemmmmon". No longer am I chasing her through the yard with her tossing poop in the air (where it once landed on my arm).

She's her papa's girl. Her antics (which make me roll my eyes because she is such an attention hog) always make him smile, even when he is fed up with the craze that having three huge dogs can bring. When he's pulled the coffee table in because he needs space from the dogs, and Lemmie crawls up the other side, runs and leaps on his head, all he does is laugh.

Speaking of running and leaping on things, she is our little Torpedo dog. No one is safe from the zoomies, which always end with a leap onto a lap, into someones legs, or if you're a guy, straight into the crotch.

Despite the broken leg scare (actually just a bruise) that happened on my birthday, we've spent far less time at the vet with her than we have with any of our others. Every time Jackson looked at me wrong his first year, we were at the vet. I like to think we were Dr. Shelor's favorite clients. We were certainly single handedly supporting his practice. It's amazing how fragile Berner puppies are for such big dogs. You can really tell when they start to reach a more solid point sometime after their first year. Before that, if they run too fast (which isn't that fast), they're almost certainly going to take a tumble, go to the vet, and so on. I think it took Chris a couple $100 in vet bills before he realized I wasn't just paranoid, not that he would ever take any risks with his little Lemmie's health!!!

Now that she has mastered potty training, she doesn't have to sleep in her crate at night anymore! There is absolutely nothing she loves more than the fact that she gets to sleep on the bed. Her favorite place is the pillow. Every night Lemon and I battle it out, because the strict rules of the house are dogs can only lay on top of the sheet. We try for some kind of dog hair control, not that it makes any difference. By the time we fuss and fight over which part of the bed she has to lay on, the dog hair is flying.

She has finally learned that she is supposed to sit in the back seat of the car. I don't spend the 3 hour trips to the lake (the WHOLE 3 hours) pushing her back where she belongs anymore. We're probably down to about 30 minutes.

For a puppy, she has amazing recall! Jack had a mind of his own when he was a puppy, especially when it was time to stop playing, which often resulted in us chasing him down when he was off leash. With Lemon, if you just kneel down and call her in a happy voice, there is no place she'd rather be than right there with you!

I finally feel like I really know her, although her personality is of course still developing. She is a HAPPY puppy. She isn't as selective in who she loves as Jack and Hilga are, which is really nice to have, especially when you already have dogs who can occasionally be shy. No worrying when we go places that she might be freaked out by something. She loves all people. No worrying that she'll back away from a judge, just worried that she'll clobber him with kisses. She wants very much to please us. She loves to play. She loves to snuggle. She loves food!

Next on the list of things for her to learn are all about showing... Stand still for exams. Stacking. Gaiting without her nose on the ground, looking for treats other handlers have dropped. No sleeping in the ring. Hopefully we'll have all those things ready by the time she enters the 9-12 mth puppy group!

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