Lil’ Miss


This story is about our youngest of three rescue pups Lil’ Miss. She’s an amazing dog who loves to train and who loves to play and cuddle with her two big brothers Smash and Max. On a beautiful sunny afternoon, Conrad took Lil’ Miss outside while he was busy doing yard work. I was inside reading and sending emails to clients when I heard him yelling “Barb get out here!” I threw on some shoes and went running outside to find Conrad playing pickle in the middle between Lil’ Miss and a young porcupine. This porcupine was too stupid to just run up a tree and decided to hide in plain sight in the sandbox portion of a play set that we have in the yard for our Grandkids. Our beautiful brindle Staffordshire Terrier was fixed on finding out what this strange pokey thing was. I knew with her heightened curiosity that I would need to rely on her default cue that she learned as a young pup. I always teach sit as the first cue that any dog learns because this will be their most reliable cue and automatic to them for the rest of their life. They’ll even go to this default cue if they are unsure of what you want when you work on teaching them something new. In the background imagine Conrad yelling tell her to come, tell her to come! But in this instance, it was important to stay calm and use the default cue so I didn’t add any additional stress or excitement to the situation. Meanwhile, the porcupine continues to hide where all of us could see him. I said her name and asked her to sit, which she did as if on automatic pilot. I calmly approached her, looped my finger though the loop in her collar and took her into the house. The porcupine seemed unaffected and stayed in the sandbox a while before finally wondering off. Thank goodness our little girl had such a solid default cue because the alternative could have been a trip to the emergency vet!

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