|Ordering her minions.|
After that point, there is no point. Puppy is just being obstructed from her mission. She needs to be connecting to her people, learning her work, adjusting to her reality and helping to create it.
We chose Charlotte for our reality when she was ten weeks old and volunteered for SAR duties. We ask a lot of our SAR partners beyond the full-time job of finding people and telling us about it.
Charlie will need to conduct herself in public in a way that brings credit to her team -- well-mannered and friendly, ready to take on PR and agency relations. She will help me with client dogs and foster dogs and present herself well to their owners. She'll have duties towards the livestock and poultry, both managing and protecting them. She'll live in a pack of strong personalities. She'll go on hikes and bike rides and skiing, host summer parties, and snuggle away the winter nights.
If she acquits herself well at all of the above, and she enjoys good health, she'll be the mother of the next generation.
Like I said, a lot.
And much of it wasn't happening.
Charlie was progressing well with her SAR training. She's the second pup who we've started as a trailing dog, and this is going well, as it did for her mother. Despite being a generally goofy, dorky puppy-puppy, she brings a shockingly mature professionalism and focus to each task.
It was also clear that she really, really enjoyed being the baby on training days, the only puppy among the big dogs and the Special Snowflake.
Like her sister, she was pig-ignorant about obedience as such. She came when called, though not as consistently or with the commitment that I'd like. Knew how to sit for her dinner and when asked, had just learned to down, could walk on a leash, and was mostly ignorant of any concept of "stay." Unlike her sister, she showed zero interest in the hoofstock, had excessive caution of the electric fences, and hung back during chores. She thought Trudy had it covered.
We were still using the gates meant to control baby puppies and foster heathens to manage the two of them for housebreaking and mischief. This impeded our own movements through the house, prevented them from mastering the art of the dog door, and tended to isolate Crazy Uncle Moe from the rest of the family. Since Moe cannot handle being cornered by baby dogs who are still exercising their puppy licenses, and reliably intercepting two heedless monsters is beyond my powers, he was not integrated with the pests except on walks. So pests they remained.
In the four days since she became an only puppy, all of Charlie's latent oursness has emerged at once.
The gates are open. She is truly free-range. Uncle Moe is fine with it.
On Sunday I sold eight wethers, requiring the most stock handling we've done in her lifetime. Charlie marched into the shed and tried to help us load them.
She has stopped torturing our overly-indulgent cat.
She has taken her place in the Big Bed.
I call, and I get a puppy. Right away. With imperfectly-engineered brakes, so it's best to be prepared before calling.
She is remarkably adept at distinguishing dog toys from the general clutter.
When it's quiet, she is not up to no good. She's usually following the family tradition of slipping in silently behind me.
Fact is, we got a puppy for Christmas.
*Beats a really crappy show that starts on time, though. Like maybe a double feature of Twilight and Eraserhead. Yeah, I'll just wait.