If I were one of those parents who had wild human children that I had never successfully tamed, I would call my lab girl “precocious.”
But, I have been a pretty tremendous mom to humans. I have set clear limits, maintained consistency at a well over 90% rate, and have two teenagers that I can trust in any social setting to be polite, well behaved, and appropriate.
Why my human raising skills have not successfully been translated into puppy raising skills is beyond me, but I am willing to admit it: I am squishy when it comes to puppy dogs.
When my second daughter came along, I thought I had met my match. Unbridled enthusiasm for life, no appreciation for danger, and a mind that always operated about five steps ahead of my own, my daughter gave me a run for my money. But. We somehow came to some sort of agreement.
With Lily the Lab, I am over a decade removed from chasing a lightning fast toddler. At this point, I definitely lack the requisite energy level to even attempt to keep pace with a tireless dog. After her teeny tiny puppy days, I have NEVER seen Lily lie down and sleep anywhere but in her kennel. Not once. No napping on the floor or cuddling with a human for a quick snooze. Nope. That is not yet a behavior in her skill set.
Lily doesn’t even pause long enough to empty her bladder properly sometimes. I have never in my life seen a dog take off running around the yard while she is still going. Granted, after two kids, I sometimes have trouble not creating a similar scene when I’m running (or jumping or sneezing), but it is completely involuntary and something I try to avoid.
Lily’s very favorite thing on the planet is fetch. Her least favorite thing is the wood laminate flooring in our kitchen. These two things clash horribly when her beloved fetch toy flies into the kitchen and she cannot bring herself to wander out far enough to grab it. Please keep in mind that if ANYONE is opening a crinkling bag of ANY kind in the deep recesses of the kitchen, Lily has no problem venturing to the furthest corner to see if she might possibly trouble you to share your snack. My dreams of having anything other than carpet on the main level of the house (except in the kitchen where the wood laminate is pushing 13 years old) are dashed every time she refuses to walk into the kitchen.
Lily also loves to jump on the couch. She will sometimes lie still on the couch, but usually she uses it as a spring board or a way to access the top of my head. Lily loves to show me affection by wallowing around on me like I am a field of high grass…she rolls, flops and rrrrruuunnnns her head all along me. Sometimes I honestly thinks she thinks I’m her personal assistant and she can use me as a piece of playground equipment even over my strongest objections. My husband avoids this by banning her from the couch…not that she cares. If his back is turned, the couch is fair game. Again, I am failing on many levels.
She cannot drink water without transporting half her dish in her face to somewhere else in the house. It’s like she has pockets in her cheeks that hold water that she then leaks everywhere. The dog in Turner & Hooch has NOTHING on her.
Her language, a derivative of Chewbacca’s dialect, is a common sound that echoes through our house. She loves to let you know when she is lonely. Whether she’s been outside for 15 seconds or awake in her kennel for three minutes, you will know when Lily would like you to attend to her. We have had entire conversations; I swear if I bought one of those Chewbacca masks, she would probably never be the same.
Lily is smart and determined. I will need to step up my game to prevent her from becoming an obnoxious brat with whom no one wants to spend time. She’s a fast learner, so if I do my part, we will have a lovely canine citizen in our home.