Chapter 3

In Which Plato Grows A Lot

What a Change

It has been two weeks since Plato came home and what a change! He seems bigger everyday. Plato is now just part of the family (albeit a bitey member who sleeps in a crate). He is teething like anything and has a desperate need to chew on anything and everything. We have provided piles of chewotys, but his favorite chew toy is actually an old key ring with old keys, which the boys used to play with when they were smaller. The jangling keys seems to get Plato more and more excited and by the end he's barking and pouncing and stomping on the keys.

The Fence

Here is a picture of our beautiful fence. When we decided to get a dog, we knew that a fence would be a good idea. And it really is critical. Being able to let him run free is great fun both for him and for us.

Our fence was designed by Alisa who also ordered all of the supplies. My father-in-law came up to help run the gas-auger, put in the posts, and show me how to build a gate. I, with various assistants, built this gate and put up the wire and the rails.

Plato and the Kids

The most difficulty we've had with Plato has been to get him to not be too rough with the kids. When he sees the kids on the floor, he wants to maul them and chew on their ears. Charlie is big enough that he can stand up (though we have a hard time convincing him to be consistent, and so probably half the problem is that Charlie eggs him on and then complains when Plato get's too rough). Daniel, however, isn't tall enough to escape, so you have to watch the two of them every second. We were worried that Daniel would become afraid of Plato because he gets knocked over and mauled periodically, but so far he has been a very good sport about it all. Daniel absolutely loves Plato and seems to take the bumps and nips in stride.

Great Toy

We got this toy at the Dollar Store (for a dollar) and it is the best toy. Plato loves chasing the ball and learned very quickly how to catch it efficiently. Becuase it is attached, it encourages him to bring the ball back, too, which I think will be useful when we try to teach him to fetch.

Puppy Kindergarten

Plato has been to Puppy Kindergarten three times. The class is taught by Jane Wilkinson, a local teacher and boxer breeder. Plato is in the all-boxers-all-the-time section (except for one little fluffy mop-dog). In every session, we pass the puppies around, practice 'Sit!', 'Down!', and 'Stand!'. This last time, we started working on 'Heel!'. Plato does great at this stuff. He is by far the calmest boxer in the group and responds well to training.

My only concern here is that Plato is more aggressive with the other dogs than I think he ought to be. He growls much more savagely at the other dogs than any of them do. We probably need to find more opportunities for him to socialize with other dogs.

Growing Up

Plato still isn't housetrained. Yesterday he peed all over a bunch of the children's flashcards that had been left on the floor. He has started asking to go out, however, and when I can see he's getting ready to go, I can encourage him to go outside and have him run for the door (wheras the first few times I tried this, he would look at me blankly and then start peeing on the floor and I would have to pick him up). We're making progress and I can see that puppyhood is going to pass all too quickly.

Revised 11/24/99 Brewer