Friday, March 26, 2004

Mojo entered his fear period today, at a day over 8 weeks. The fear period is when he, well, gets fearful. From what it sounds like, it's when dogs develop complexes about things that scare the crap out of them. They also get startled by things, even things that have been there for a while. Ela saw him bark at a part of the carpet this morning, which makes no sense. Yesterday it was starting to kick in. Ela left her pullover (llbean-style fleece poncho) on the landing. Mojo noticed it and started barking.

Too bad there doesn't seem to be any instructions on how to manipulate this fear period to our advantage. If we can set some complexes up about things like biting, he'd never bite again. But all the books are pretty vague on the period, except to state "don't frighten the dog." Maybe in the professional dog books there are "fear period secrets" that they don't want us to have because we'll do it wrong and have a dog that's so afraid of water he won't drink.

So anyway, last night we drove to Petsmart to check out their puppy classes. The first one canceled their class due to instructor sickness, but the second one had a class going. We stood there looking, and boy those other dogs look big. Is that safe? Ela'll call the instructor today to ask.

We were looking through our havanese books, and though they're good about some things (like grooming), they're kind of bad at something else: breed-specific stuff, at least how havanese compare to other breeds when it comes to training. The KISS puppy book (from costco) is pretty good, as is the "how to train a puppy you can live with", but they're pitched at all dogs, from the smartest dogs to the ones dumb as posts. So their timelines, etc are by definition average. It would have been nice for the havanese books to show the average havanese timeline for stages, learning, etc.

The biting seems to be under control, sort of. He still bites, but he's starting to realize it's not going to get him a "good dog." Litter training seems to be working - no accidents yesterday, and he's going into the litter box more and more under his own steam. Ela taught him "bring" this morning, but he forgot it when she tried to demo it to me :)

We pulled out a new rawhide bone, and it's kept him busy now for around 30 minutes. The old one was just too chewed. Maybe it lost its flavor? A funny thing: the packaging said there was a chicken thing inside, like a tootsie pop, and we wanted to see what it was. Man, those things are hard to open. We tried a breadknife, a chief's knife, and I finally got a pair of wire cutters out of the toolbox and pried the thing apart. There was this little folded thing that looked like rawhide, but smoother. Guess that was it. It didn't smell like anything to us, but Mojo wanted it. It was too small, though, and he might have swallowed it. So a big new one is OK.

Oh, strange thing: Mojo occasionally takes a litter pellet and chews on it. The litter is made up of these cylinders that are around 1/2 inch to 2 inches long, maybe 1/4 inch in diameter. They're recycled paper infused with this weird-smelling chemical that's supposed to attract dog urine...or attract the dog, and thus the urine. It's probably not a good thing that he's doing that. It may be a passive/aggressive thing, because he only seems to do it now when we put him in the box. If he goes to the box himself, he doesn't do it.

He's really going to town on that rawhide bone.

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