The Puppy Chronicles of St. Paul

Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune’s senior editor for books. She is not a dog expert, just a dog lover, chronicling the first year with her rescue puppy.

Riley and his sister, Rosie. One impassive, the other ebullient. They made a good team.

The Puppy Chronicles: In the blink of an eye

One dog bite years ago taught me to be super-careful with skittish dogs.
Who couldn’t love this face? Angus is endearing in late August.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus loves Ellen

September 14
All it took was repeated visits, lots of treats and a T-shirt.
Now approaching his second birthday, Angus has calmed down and is learning to navigate what is, for him, a nervous life.

The Puppy Chronicles: It took a long time to accept that Angus is a 'reactive dog'

August 30
It took me a long time to accept that Angus is a "reactive dog." But once I did, I began to learn how to care for him better.

The Puppy Chronicles: Learning to play nice with others in socialization class

August 2
Angus is back in school, this time learning to peacefully coexist with strange dogs.

The Puppy Chronicles: Leash walking 2.0

July 12
Over the past year, Angus and I have slowly gotten to a good place on the daily walks. But oh, it took a long time.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus in summer

June 28
After Angus is calm and attentive with the new dog sitter, I'm starting to think some of the problems lie with me.

The Puppy Chronicles: Yes, Angus misbehaves, but he also does a lot of things right

June 8
Sure, Angus misbehaves. But it's time to recognize his virtues, too.

With two big dogs and a shady yard, mud season lasts all summer

May 24
Twenty years of busy dogs and maturing trees have rendered our backyard grassless. Angus doesn't care — bare ground is easy to dig. And so he digs.

The Puppy Chronicles: A dog door stymies Angus

May 10
When we replaced a torn screen with an actual dog door, Rosie was fine — but Angus was flummoxed.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus' training has been two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes two steps back.

April 26
Just like this chilly spring, Angus' training can feel like we're lagging behind.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus has started hiding some of his treats and Rosie is determined to find them

April 26
Angus has a habit of hiding, rather than eating, his nightly chewies. Rosie has made it her mission to find them.

The Puppy Chronicles: Not all dogs respond well to the same kind of training – with Angus, we are trying something new

March 29
A new kind of training means better communication between dog and human.

The Puppy Chronicles: Four dogs might be two dogs too many

March 16
When the man of the house goes out of town, the dogs outnumber the lone adult left behind. Reinforcements arrive — in the form of more dogs.

The Puppy Chronicles: Nature vs. nurture: Angus has a calm, loving home life. So why is he so wary?

March 1
Angus has never liked strange people or unfamiliar situations. But when he growled at the veterinarian, it was time to act.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus' famous ear goes kerflooey

February 15
An ear infection, dark and icy walks, mocking squirrels — it's been a tough winter for Angus.

The Puppy Chronicles: The secret life of Angus

January 18
If you could spy on your dog while you were gone, what would you see?

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus offers advice on how to make a puppy happy

December 28, 2018
Now it's his turn: Angus offers advice to readers on how to make a puppy happy.

The Puppy Chronicles: Every dog is a new beginning

December 22, 2018
Twenty-five years of owning dogs has taught us one thing: What works for one dog doesn't necessarily work for another.

The Puppy Chronicles: An encounter with a German shepherd

December 7, 2018
When the big unleashed dog raced toward us, all I could do was shout.

The Puppy Chronicles: Advice and love for Angus from readers

November 23, 2018
Readers love their dogs — and they share that love with Angus. They also share tips and advice.

The Puppy Chronicles: As Angus turns a year old, he remains a work in progress

November 9, 2018
As Angus turns a year old, he's come a long way. But boy, oh boy, he has a long way to go.

The Puppy Chronicles: This dog needs a hobby

October 26, 2018
He doesn't swim, doesn't fetch, doesn't play well with strangers. How to burn off all this puppy energy?

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus had a bad habit of barking at our guests. And then he jumped on one.

October 12, 2018
Angus had developed a bad habit of barking when guests arrived. And then he jumped on one. We needed help.

The Puppy Chronicles: In sickness and in health

September 28, 2018
Sometimes we have to take the infirm with the firm — and sometimes it's a two-way street.

The Puppy Chronicles: How to keep Angus calm around squirrels?

September 14, 2018
Angus is a mellow dog — as long as there are no small animals in his field of view.

The Puppy Chronicles: How much time should a dog spend in his crate?

August 31, 2018
Angus spends all day in the crate while we're at work, and all night in the crate while we're sleeping. Is it time to give him some freedom?

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus gets a chance at freedom

August 18, 2018
Someone opened our side gate while we were at work, and the dogs took off at a dead run.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus reunites with his brother

July 28, 2018
When we found out that Angus' brother lived just a few miles away, we knew they had to meet. But would they recognize each other?

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus heads Up North and almost doesn't make it

July 13, 2018
We were sure Angus would like the North Shore, if we could just persuade him to get in the truck.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus hits six months and right on schedule, he rebels

June 29, 2018
The six-month-adolescence rebellious phase hits, and everything Angus has learned goes out the window.

Does training leach the joy out of my dog's life?

June 16, 2018
In the mornings, Angus is sweetly obedient. The evening brings somewhat different behavior.

The Puppy Chronicles: Will DNA test reveal a Lab background?

June 2, 2018
The rescue group that brought us Angus guessed he was border collie-Lab mix. But DNA testing told us something else.


May 19, 2018
When Angus suddenly started barking at strangers on the walk, we had to nip it in the bud. But how?

The Puppy Chronicles: Back to school and please don't bark at anyone, Angus

May 5, 2018
After breezing through puppy kindergarten, Obedience 1 loomed as a bigger challenge.

The Puppy Chronicles: If you want peace in your life, train your dog to love its crate

April 25, 2018
Crates are not the answer for every dog. But if your dog loves its crate, you — and the pup — are very lucky.

The Puppy Chronicles follow Angus the rescue pup as he trains his St. Paul owners

January 20, 2018
You think you want a puppy? What, are you nuts? Over the next few months we'll tell you exactly what it's like, through the life of a rescue pup named Angus.

The Puppy Chronicles: Leash training is short-term pain for long-term peace

April 6, 2018
If you don't want your shoulder and neck to suffer, train your dog to the leash.

The Puppy Chronicles: If you have two dogs, pay attention to pack hierarchy

March 23, 2018
Rosie, our resident black Lab, loves Angus. But at times she gets fed up with him. What then?

Housebreaking a new puppy at 11 below zero in Minnesota

February 23, 2018
If you're foolish enough to adopt a puppy in the coldest month of the coldest winter in years, how are you supposed to housebreak him?

The Puppy Chronicles: Oh, the biting!

March 9, 2018
In which we try to teach Angus that toes are not edible, at least not while they are attached to my feet.

The puppy chronicles: Angus goes to school

March 23, 2018
A well-trained dog is a good dog. But, oh, the training takes time. And there have been lots of changes over the years.
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