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TRUCKER -- PROGRESS REPORT ON A STAFFORD PUP

Trucker, my third Stafford, came to the house at eight weeks of age and since then has at least doubled his body weight from 10 to 20+ pounds. At 10 weeks he learned to jump upon my bed without help. At 12 weeks he started puppy kindergarten. At 15 weeks he lifted his leg , p***ing on the fence post and strutted across the yard with his tail high in the air.

This pup is a real challenge. He has learned the "come" command and now is fairly reliable on the "sit" for about a minute. He is also learning to stand and seems to understand what I want him to do. However, he does not get up on all four feet every time.

During training, he is still interested only in the goody in that hand before his face. Like all little ones, he remembers only the playtime at class. As soon as we enter the class room he is ready to play. We do the quiet exercise three times before he accepts that he is going to have to wait for playtime until that standing woman finishes talking.

At playtime he is expected to come on command. He does this every time -- until he discovers two little boys across the room.

Then I have to get the goody right under his nose. He looks at me as if I had rocks in my head. He does condescend to come away with me on the end of the leash that he is dragging.

I really had forgotten how much fun it was to live with a baby Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Also, this time I have another Stafford to interact with him, which doubles the fun, because Joey, his grand-dam, appears to enjoy him almost as much as I do. She will go outside for duty calls without him, but she will ask to have him out with her if I don't let him out soon enough. She can be a real pain about the asking too! Of course she does not always want him to come out of his crate such as at bed time and some play time. She wants her own private time with me, even demands it.

I guess most Staffords are good teachers and great to live with, too. We only have to be willing to learn and keep our eyes and minds open.

My daughter and great-grandson have been visiting here in Vancouver. She has Trucker's littermate with her, a sister who is plenty smart. He is having a time just keeping up with her and been ready for beddy-bye every night this week.

Trucker has a pool in his back yard but hasn't learned to get into it yet. He thought it was a nice drinking bowl and teething ring. Sis got right in and splashed about. He hasn't done that yet -- and neither has Joey.

Doris Phillips


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