Thursday, February 12, 2009

Traffic stopper

During the course of the first few months we had Captain, I started to notice something: Oh my God, I have the most adorable, beautiful dog in the world.
More than a few times people have yelled out of their cars, "Awww!" or "Oh my gosh, I love your dog!" which puts a new spin on cat-calling... one time one of these people actually followed us two blocks, parked, and ran to us just to pet him (and let him lick her entire face). That was a little creepy. Another time we were walking a man in a car filled with Vizslas also pulled over to meet him- turned out he owns an exclusive-looking "canine day care and spa" named O-Paws; we're interested in finding out more about them since their pet "bed and breakfast" looks pretty darn swanky. But I digress...
But then there were those other times he 'stopped traffic'... for some reason Captain seemed to develop affinity for 'doing his business' in the middle of the street. Twice now tourists have stopped to take pictures of my dog pooping- once in Chinatown in the middle of the road, and once (while not in the middle of the road) atop a giant bronze sidewalk seal commemorating Barry Bonds by At&T Park. If only I had those pictures....

In any case, I think any dog owner (especially Vizslas hehe!) has had similar experiences- the people stopping to meet doggie I mean, not necessarily the pooping! This being my first dog, I came to realize how easy it was to meet and talk to new people on the street when you do have a dog. While I can't figure out if Californians are just generally nicer or if dog owners are nicer (or maybe both!), it's been a great introduction to a new city. I also think San Francisco has been an extremely dog-friendly place. We started going to "puppy socials" on Friday nights - I highly recommend it- standing around watching a bunch of adorable puppies play whilst drinking wine is much fun, especially since it was the only social thing we were really doing at that time... It was also good for me (as a first time dog owner) to learn what was normal puppy play- at first I was overprotective, thinking the tumbling and nipping was scary and hurting my pup, but once I was told it's how they learn bite-inhibition, it made sense. Captain has become a very confident puppy, happy to rough and tumble (one of his favorite playmates is a French mastiff), but also able to play submissive with the little guys (though he definitiely likes the big dogs better!)

Our main training issue throughout these months has been learning to "walk nice" as we call it (or heel of course in training-speak). He's proven to be a mainly obiedient and trainable dog, highly motivated by treats, and did very well in his 'puppy kindergarten' class. But boy, can he pull. I've found he responds pretty well to the clicker and treating right by my side. He's getting there!

Next up: Captain's first excursions and hiking spots! And don't worry, I plan on having future posts less text and more pictures!

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