At home, McBaine is still the same puppy – chasing the cat, chasing his tail, chasing anyone who comes within reach.  He chews on his toys, he chews on his leash when outside, he chews on leaves and sticks and dirt and our pant legs.  I have honestly wondered if he could ever be a successful search and rescue dog, because when we are with him, he just wants to play all the time.

But at puppy school, McBaine has learned a LOT about being a search and rescue dog.  (Evidently they are much more firm with him than we are.)  When you see this video of his most recent “search,” keep in mind that he did not see the toy being hidden; his only clue to find it is the scent.  I was most impressed with his focus.  After one jump toward the camera person, he was back on task and stayed with it until he found the toy.

Maybe he’ll be a good search and rescue dog, after all!

McBaine searching for a toy

Oh, and one more thing. This is a great book for any family becoming a foster family for a working dog. I think it helped Daughter A understand why we are keeping him for only a year. (She recently wrote “We Love Puppies” in a notebook, which is a good sign that she is coming around to sweet McBaine!)

McBaine is clearly an intelligent dog, capable of learning just about anything.  He has mastered the “nose touch,” “sit,” and “crate games” with no problem.  So… why does he still pee on the dining room floor?!?  Oh well, we’ll keep working on it.  Special thanks to our adjunct foster family for covering for me when I was sick.  Rosie and the puppy are still negotiating the terms of their house-sharing agreement.  I’m hoping to get a video of the cat hissing at the puppy, and if I am successful, I’ll be sure to share it with you!

And now, a few photos.  He’s grown a lot in only a couple of weeks!





So many toys, so little time!

I hope Memphis Mom and Grandpa Dan really enjoy today’s post, brought to you by Daughter A!  By the way, sorry if this came through two times.  I posted, then accidentally deleted, and re-posted.

Daughter A's first post

Daughter A's essay

The last sentence is, “We play fetch with tennis balls.”  In case it wasn’t absolutely clear upon first reading, which I’m sure it was.”

By Nephew K:

Today McBaine learned how to “break.”  (“Break” is learning how to come out of a sitting position.)  And he had a tennis ball to play with.  As for Rosie the cat, he is getting used to him.

By Nephew X:

He learned lots of new things and I hope he will be a very good search and rescue dog.

It’s me again.  The trainers at the Working Dog Center are doing amazing things.  They told me that they tried McBaine out on the “balance beam” which has metal rungs bolted to it (think of the handles on a gymnast’s pommel horse), which the dogs are supposed to step over.  Little McBaine got to the first rung, and it was too tall for his little paws.  He was just too little to make it over the rung.  So… after a moment of thought, he crouched down and wiggled UNDER the rung!  What a great problem solver!  Pretty soon, he’ll be crouching like Socks:

For now, his primary job is to get stronger, learn to obey his trainers, and PLAY.

Where is the cat in all this, you may wonder?  Well, so far Rosie has not been seen much when the puppy is around.  He (yes, Rosie is a male, and very secure in his gender identity, thank you) hides when the puppy arrives, and doesn’t come out until McBaine has dropped over from exhaustion.

Tonight, however, Rosie made a cameo appearance!  He pretended not to notice McBaine at first, then he hissed at the puppy.  McBaine barked back.  The lines of communication are open!  Our interspecies relations experiment has begun!

Puppy: Wanna play?

Puppy: Wanna play?

Cat:  No, I really don't.

Cat: No, I really don’t.

Contact is made!

Contact is made!

Puppy:  Why won't Rosie play with me?

Puppy: Why won’t Rosie play with me?

It’s all right, McBaine.  Maybe Rosie will decide to play with you tomorrow.

Or, maybe not.

Bonus video!  Here is McBaine with his mom, brothers, and sisters getting a checkup before starting puppy school.  He is the one with the green collar and the black-tipped tail!


Friday evening, I went to pick up our new puppy.  He was so excited, he could hardly sit still.  So many new sights and sounds!  When I got home with him, I introduced him to my partner J, nephews K, X, and V, and daughter A.  The puppy loved all the attention.  Then he went outside to use the bathroom (YAY!), and went straight to sleep… Until midnight, when he woke up again.  After another bathroom trip, he whined for 2 hours and kept J up the whole time.

And now, nephew K shares his impression:

I am nephew K.  I am 12 years young.  The dog is really good.  Today we made him walk around the house.  He used the bathroom twice inside, then we let him outside to use the bathroom, and we gave him treats.  Here is a picture I took at the end of the day, when he was tired.

Such an entertaining day

Tuckered out!

Green puppy

Who could resist this face?

First, I should say, I’m a cat person.  Growing up, I had no fewer than two, and at times as many as eight cats in our household.  I’ve had dogs too, but never for very long, and never the kind of dogs you consider part of the family.

Now, to the exciting news.  We’re getting a puppy.  Not just any puppy; we’re getting a puppy who will train to become a “working dog.”  He may become a bomb-sniffing dog, a police dog, or even a search-and-rescue dog someday.  At the moment, he is primarily one thing: cute.  Look at that face!

We spent most of yesterday puppy-proofing the living room, but we’ve still got a long way to go.  My partner, who will hereafter be referred to as J, is filled with dread as she looks around at the house.  It’s full of STUFF–craft materials, books, games, music–all kinds of things for daughter A and nephews (K, X, V, J, and C) to read and make and do.  But it’s also a potential puppy chew-fest waiting to happen.  Together, we’ll keep you informed as we find out…

  • What gets cleaned up in time, and what is destroyed.
  • What puppy thinks of Rosie the cat, and what Rosie thinks of the puppy.
  • Whether daughter A enjoys the puppy, or finds him scary/annoying.

Don’t miss the next episode of… Cat vs Dog!