My puppies are growing by leaps and bounds. They’re 12 weeks old now and possess the curiosity and playfulness that are typical of their breed.

Recently, however, they’ve begun to express a kind of willfulness for which the Irish Water Spaniel is not entirely unknown. Though eager to please, the little dervishes have started asserting their independence through an assortment of comical – and occasionally frustrating – behaviors.

Although their names suggest a couple of comic book characters or competing brands of deodorant soap, Turbo and Zelda are the kind of puppies that would make any breeder proud. Happy and healthy, the siblings have been a delight to be around and a pleasure to watch as they roam the backyard looking for adventure.

Their presence has brought joy into our home, as well as a steady stream of visitors who come over regularly just to hold the puppies. For a couple of months, the pair was only too happy to oblige.

Now they seem to have decided they’re all grown up and quite capable of doing things on their own. If they were children, they’d be about 12 years old and headed for juvenile hall.

The first indication that I had a rebellion on my hands was the day I attached a lead to their collars and we ventured outside for a walk. Zelda was a natural and seemed to appreciate the gentle breeze that lifted leaves from the ground and into her waiting mouth. Her brother, on the other hand, had no use for fresh air as demonstrated by his flailing and screaming as though he was being dragged in front of a firing squad. Only a subsequent walk with my young nephews tamed the beast and made a Bohemian out of the little banshee.

Zelda, to my chagrin, has begun to exert her feminine forcefulness through behaviors more subtle than stupendous. Whenever I suggest that she sit by the back door before it is opened or that she get into her crate because it’s her bedtime, she gives me “the look” that loosely translates to, “You want me to do what?” Her new expression is unmistakable. It’s now become part of our everyday lives. “You want me to get off the sofa? Yeah, right!”

At least hers is a quiet form of disobedience.