Since she was a puppy, we have given Kona a portion of her daily kibble quota by stuffing it in a Kong. Sometimes it is soaked in water first and the Kong is frozen (this gives us more than enough time to enjoy an uninterrupted dinner of our own). Regardless of how it is put together, she has to sit in her crate, and wait for the Kong and then eat the kibble in her crate.
I also feed her a biscuit right before I leave for work when she is crated for the day. To “earn” the treat she has to go and sit in her crate and wait patiently. It has become so habit forming that in the mornings she will head to her crate once I lock the back door (before I even have a biscuit in my hand). It has also influenced her in that anytime she thinks she is about to receive a treat or another exciting goodie, she will head straight to the crate.
This morning I went to give her a new toy of hers that has become a favourite, the Bouncy Bone. As expected she went into her crate to eagerly await the toy. Since I like to mess with her head, I pointed towards her dog bed and started towards that end of the room. She leapt to her feet, dashed over to the bed, pounced onto her bed and laid down. The amount of excitement she displayed in the 10 seconds it took her to do this was incredibly entertaining and very cute.
And that’s what I love about having a puppy – the unlimited enthusiasm she shows for everything: a favourite toy, a yummy treat, a new person or dog crossing our path on a walk, the prospect of a ride in the car. All little things, but to her they couldn’t be more exciting.
This of course makes up for the flip side… not 20 minutes later she abandoned her toy and started a silly run (aka running like an idiot at top speed in every direction). This time the silly run began with a bee-line towards me, where I was settled on the couch enjoying my morning coffee. In a split second, 50 lbs of chocolate lab sprang onto my lap, knocked over the mug of coffee in my hand, and onto the couch. To her credit, she responded immediately to my yells of “off” and “bad puppy” and stopped in her tracks. Thankfully the coffee was not piping hot at that point, and it’s an inexpensive Ikea couch with a slipcover that will be getting a good washing tonight. Also learned this morning – somebody likes the taste of coffee…