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Oliver's Journey

Being a good boy can be so challenging!

Animal Assisted Therapy, dragonfly psychological services

In many ways, puppies are similar to children. They are both trying to make sense of the new world around them, figuring out what is good and what is not. They both rely on adult figures to help guide them by setting boundaries and taking care of their needs. And...they both sometimes throw tantrums when they don't get what they want!

As Oliver gets older, we are making his environment more structured, predictable, and safe, however, this does not fall in line with his want for independence and freedom. Through our obedience class, Oliver is starting to learn self-control, and the importance of listening to me, but he is still just a "kid" and has his moments of rebellion. This is why obedience class is so helpful, it helps to teach me how to communicate with him and get my rules across in a gentle manner without too much frustration.

Oliver is almost 6 months old now, which means puppy adolescence is right around the corner. I have been warned that this will be quite a test (however, it wasn't too bad with my first pup, Daisy), and am as prepared for it as I can be. This stage can last for up to 12 months in retrievers. Of course, it can take many different directions during this time, but 12 months sounds like a gauntlet to me! Here is hoping we both come out unscathed...haha!

Here are a few things I have learned about Oliver the past 6 weeks:

- He loves to watch TV, especially shows with other animals. The breeder he comes from breeds for hunting as well as companionship, as a result Oliver's visual acuity is extremely high which allows him to recognize what is on the screen better than some other dogs.

- He doesn't like to be alone, he follows us around the house and settles at our feet whenever he can.

- He LOVES to swim! When he sees water, there is no holding him back! And when he is wet, he looks a bit ridiculous as it tames the fluff everywhere except his head :)

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