"Not My Dog": Tales from Puppy Raising

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Murphy & Me

I finally have started reading Marley & Me and I may blow a gasket by the end. So far, I'm gleaning that they didn't even attempt to train him before he was about 8 months old, and now the author is baffled that this is a "bad" dog.
Expect me to be posting more as I work my way through, sparing Bob the periodic interruptions where I have to read things to him aloud in amazement.
Yet, people loved this book. People love dog stories. Wonder if anyone would buy one about a pretty good dog who got lots of training and ended up being a guide dog?
(From a reportorial/writing standpoint, I find it amusing and slightly stretching credibility that he recalls conversations 15 years ago to the word. Was he thinking of a book even then? I guess I'm relieved that my note-taking hasn't been more thorough. Perhaps there's hope for the 'Murphy & Me' book!)
Anyway, it does raise the interesting nurture vs. nature question. I think one of the whole things that's been a challenge for me in the guide dog process is that I feel like how Murphy does -- whether he succeeds or not -- reflects on me and how I've trained him. And to a point, it does. But at a point, too, the dog's nature has to triumph. That's where Murphy might have an advantage. From all accounts, he's a "pistol". If one more raiser tells me what a tough pup he is for a first-timer, I might scream. So, maybe he would have been a Marley without all this work.

Tomorrow is eval day, where we hope to officially get his GEB coat.


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