Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Bolt, Bark, Bite

Boss has learned a new behavior.

That behavior is: BOLT.

As in, BOLT across the street, BOLT at the neighbor, BOLT into a busy road, BOLT into a bank of snow.

BOLT. And bolt….QUICK.

Note to self: Do not take Boss outside without a leash while wearing no jacket in bare feet in the middle of winter.

Do not.

Because in this rushed moment you will find yourself thinking these bare feet and unjacketed body are bearable outside in this temperature for the 30 seconds it should take Boss to pee; a foolproof plan unless of course Boss decides to…


(across the street)


And so the chase begins. Across the street I go on ice, into snow with nothing but…bare feet. COLD! Boss in a moment of catch me if you can pauses and stares. He sees me, my bare feet and does what any little dog would do.

He bolts….again.

Down the road, I am running and running quick! This is the fastest I’ve run in weeks surely pushing into Zone 4 to catch my unleashed, untagged puppy before he runs more.

Boss pauses, again. Do not make eye contact. Do not make eye contact and see if he will follow you the other way. It’s the only plan I have other than chase him barefooted some more.

Which is not turning out to be such a great plan.

I run back towards the house, barely peeking over my shoulder to see the shadow of a small fawn-colored dog following me. It’s a game, it’s a chase, it’s FUN FUN FUN through the snow, skid on the ice and to the front door before I coax him inside with the one word he seems to know…


As in, your Sherpa bag, your traveling bag, the bag we put you in and take you for a car ride to go visit someone else and play with other dogs. BAG. And he’s in. He’s so in.

Lesson learned – leash goes on Boss, shoes go on feet, coat goes on Liz and now this we know.

New behavior #2. You thought it would stop at BOLT. But no, it continues with…


Bark bark bark yip yip yip. Boss has found his voice. And uses it very well. Often, at night, early morning, as a warning, in protest, a plea, a ruckus nonetheless. He goes outside and barks at the neighbor, the snow, the shadows, the tree, the wind and lastly – most sadly – his own tail.

All of this because Boss is becoming a ‘tween. Testing the boundaries and finding his voice. Growing into his independent state. F*ckin’ fearless to say the least. Sees no limits, has not fears, knows no danger in the open road. Goes outside, walks around the tree, ten minutes later comes inside and poops by the fireplace. Steals hats, scatters toys all over the house, pulls the blankets out of his crate just because….

He can.

Refuses to eat when there is food but wants food every time you open the pantry door. Cuddly at times, unruly at others. Lovable and hateable all in under 6 lbs.

New behavior #3: BITE

Bite hands, hair, pants. Chase mostly pants. Loves the pants. Especially pajama pants with their tempting flare. Attaches himself to pants (thank goodness he is not 60 lbs). Teaching puppy not to bite and hang on pants is like teaching Chris not to buy bike. Impossible at best.

We give him a consequence. A flick of the fingers, a pinch of the neck, holding the muzzle closed. Even put him in puppy timeout. Which is in the bathroom, door closed, lights out. Have fun in there if you can.

He does. With the rug. Enjoys pulling little bits of it out just because – again – he can.

All of these behaviors add up to result in the fact that he must soon be enrolled in puppy school. To learn puppy manners. And quit biting on our pants, and bolting, and not coming when called.

(this might have something to do with calling him a collection of names including: Schnoodles, Poopers, Doglet, Chief, El Gefe, Boss Boss, Little Boss, Mr. Wiggles, Wiggle Butt, Squiggles, Little Man, his Hawaiian name King Chi-hu-a-hu-a, and my favorite - Noodle Butt)

But for all of his incorrigibility he is ruthlessly cute and unconditionally loveable. He steals our heart every time he lays in our laps and does a move we call the zombie which can be achieved by laying on back, putting all four legs and paws straight up and demanding belly rub.

This post was for Jerome. Because inside I know he loves our little Boss and secretly would trade his $1000 coffee maker in for a Boss of his own. Here he is in his Christmas pajamas (courtesy of Melissa & Pete):


Pedergraham said...

Boss has THE BEST whiskers! They are like the cherry on the top of his cuteness.

Anonymous said...

For one split second, I thought you had JEROME is his Christmas PJs. I am going to email him at work this instant - and tell him you have another lovely post about BOSS. A dog.

~Robyn~ said...

hahahaha I know exactly what you are talking about! Junior BOLTS all the time..thinks its funny. So now I just leave him outside and he'll sneak up to the door and stare at me to see if I'm still there. I have to coax him inside with a treat. He also bites on my pj pants...but he's 17 pounds so he doesn't get too far! Oh man I love Boss stories!!

Andra Sue said...

These behaviors are exactly why god made puppies cute. It's the only way to cancel them out. (As if you didn't know this already.)

Both of my dogs are "bolters", unfortunately. And as beagles, they can't be trained to do anything other than follow their noses in such situations. I wish you well in puppy kindergarten!

595 Days said...

Love your blog and I especially enjoy the posts about Boss.
Not that you were asking for advice about dog training, you may already have heard about, Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer (he has a show on National Geographic network), but I thought maybe his philosophy of learning to be a pack leader might be helpful, especially since you have a puppy, no real bad habits to undo. He has a website and a couple books out.

When I read about Boss bolting, I thought how awful it would be if he got hit by a car and thought I should at least share that information.

Your post "Voices in my Head" was a real "thinker" post, even for the non-athletic, like me. Thanks.

IronMatron said...

Boss is so darn cute... I love him and I've never even met him! I have too big dogs, but just hearing about Boss's escapades makes me want a little guy too...He could boss my two big oafs around.
Love your blog.

Nora Lindvall said...

Upon meeting my adorable 4lb min pins in their Christmas dresses, Jerome says something to the effect of, "I don't get the whole pet thing. It's like having a rhinoceros in your house." He was very eager to serve us some kick ass espresso, though!