Needy

I know there are some dogs out there that appear needy for attention and it can be viewed differently by some. Velcro dog is another term that applies. I will say right now that I am neither I am just super vigilant at my job!

My job is to watch over, guide and care for my humans and I am good at it. Not a minute goes by when I am with them that I don’t know what is going on or where they are.  It is easier when only one is at home, but she moves around a lot and I am constantly on the move, just when I think I can take a little rest she gets up and goes somewhere else to do whatever she has to do. Frankly, there are days when it is absolutely exhausting! When she sits on the couch with the television on I am pretty secure in the knowledge that she will be there for an hour. This is the time when I need to be on the couch with her snuggling ON her or at the very least touching her. This is really for her own good, she needs to slow down and there have been studies that by petting/ stroking a pet dog or even a cat if that’s all you have can lower the blood pressure. I am not sure what that is exactly but being lower sounds important. It is calming.

When the humans are moving around doing things I need to be there to keep them out of trouble and aware of their surroundings. They get distracted easily and there are times I need to guide them either by walking in front of them so they are forced to watch where they are going or behind them to herd them in the right direction. They can get annoyed at times but that is the price I have to pay for being good at my job. I don’t know if there are too many dogs that will go to the lengths I will to keep track of these fragile beings.

So my advice to you is to stick to your human, make sure they are getting their snuggle time at least once a day and be aware of where they are and what they are doing. This takes extra vigilance but this is your job remember they are only human after all.

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Busy couple of days

Yesterday, I was surprised after my morning walk. We were getting in the car! I have gotten less anxious about getting in the car and strive to show my willingness and excitement about all the possibilities it has to offer. I jumped in willingly, ready for another adventure.

Well, we arrived at the vet. Okay, so not really what I was hoping for but trying to remain positive about the whole thing. I jumped out when asked and took in as many smells as possible on the short walk to the door. There were quite a few people and dogs there so it looked like it was going to be exciting. There was a puppy sitting on it’s humans lap, paid no attention to it, a kitty in a carrier that I could smell but not see and a human sitting on the bench next to me that was okay with me asking for a pat. I am very friendly. My human checked us in and after a very short time a lovely human came out to get me and my human stayed behind! This was new and I was a bit nervous but they took me into a room and took some blood and I was off to my human again. By this time a few more dogs had joined us and I really needed to talk. My human thinks it is rude for  me to bark and whine but the other dogs understood that I was just conveying information about what goes on in the other room. Trying to reassure my canine friends and well, maybe the cat. My human had to talk to the other humans behind the counter and we were out the door, didn’t take long at all; very efficient. I wasn’t thrilled about getting back in the car, I mean there was quite a bit to smell, sometimes she just doesn’t get me.

Today, the weather has been a bit warm and after our morning walk my human brought me out to the back yard to put me on my tie out for a bit. I do like to be out there when she is out there also. She never puts me there alone. I ran around sniffing and found some great smelling areas to roll in, all in all a great morning. Well, that came to a halt. I guess the rolling around I did gave me a smell that my human did not appreciate as much as I did. First she took off my collar to wash it and then took some wipes to run over me , but that didn’t do enough I guess because now she wanted to bathe me! I do not like it when she takes off my collar, it identifies me as part of the family and I am very attached to it. A bucket of warm water was produced and some soap, towels and scrubby mitts( these give a great massage) check on my installment of shedding tools. Outside on the lawn she wet me down, tried getting away but she gave me treats and kept me on a really short leash. I was all soaped up, scrubbed and rinsed, she let me shake and then toweled me off for quite a bit. Not my favorite experience but if she will snuggle with me because I smell more to her liking then I will have to put up with it. I am a bit fluffy and not the way I like to smell but if you want to live with and love humans you have to put up with their strange ideas about hygiene. They are only human after all.

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Loving the weather!

I think the humans call this time of the year fall. I don’t know if it is because the temperature falls or the leaves fall or some other reason, but now that I live in the Northeast I really enjoy it.

My humans are more open to snuggling on the couch; which is one of my main reasons for living! Attention and scratching behind the ears and don’t even get me started on belly rubs! Heaven. When it was really hot I tried to snuggle with them but they really didn’t want any part of it so I gladly used my own bed or a spare chair on the screened porch. I would have sacrificed my comfort for them if they really wanted it, but it was not my idea of fun. Now snuggling is a daily thing and I am glad to oblige them in this.

Walks now are much more interesting. The pavement isn’t hot on my feet, there are leaves to chase, new smells and the walks tend to be longer. Even my human seems more energetic; she walks faster even gets in a bit of running, although she lets me get my business done first as well as my important smelling out of the way before she starts, very thoughtful. There is usually a nice breeze, which brings out the new smells, throws the leaves around and keeps the bugs away. Squirrels are still around and seem very busy with whatever they do and I don’t really chase them but give them a little start as if I was going to chase them. It is always good to keep them on their furry little paws, don’t want them to think I am not keeping my eyes on them, weird little things!

It does get darker earlier in the day, but I don’t mind, I still get my walks and more snuggle time as it seems as if the humans like to settle in for the evening sooner, by watching television or reading which means I am not on call for anything too important. Meal time for them is a bit different also as the good cooking smells are now all in the house, so I do try to keep my paw in by hanging around the kitchen, you never know when something could hit the floor or a meal needs to be tasted to see if it is safe for my human. I will do anything to help them and if a floor needs cleaning of crumbs or a taste test done I am their go to dog.

I feel bad for those of you that do not get a real change in weather, but perhaps you enjoy it, I for one am glad that I found my way north. It is nice to have a job you enjoy in an environment you enjoy, helping humans, what a life!

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Surprises

I know it sounds like surprise would be a great thing after all it has the word prize right in it, well except for the spelling. How bad could one be? Well I am here to tell you that it is not always pleasant let alone fun!

On my morning walk, just minding my own business, enjoying all the smells I heard a bark from a dog I couldn’t see and so when I did see him from behind a fence I reacted. Ok it was probably an overreaction but I didn’t know this dog or what his intentions might be. My human was not at all pleased with me but at least she moved me on with out too much bother.

Loud noises, fireworks, thunder etc, these are very unpleasant for most of us, but it is the reaction of the human that we need to look at and consider. If they are calm and allow you to find a safe spot to ride it out then we know it will be ok in the end. I am never going to be totally calm about those but at least I don’t have to be worried about my human too.

I find a change in the weather can be a bit of a surprise. The humans have all this info available to them but until we walk outside we don’t have a clue as to what is going on. I thought the cool weather was here to stay and now we are now in the middle of hot, humid weather, not my favorite.

There is the surprise of getting in the car , thinking you are going on a nice ride or adventure only to find yourself at the vets, getting weighed on that stupid moving scale, getting shots or other indignities. Seriously do they have to announce your weight to everyone in the waiting room, this is uncalled for!

There are plenty of good surprises, such as visitors, treats, new toys, new places for walking etc. We all have a different threshold for these and how we react; as we are all different, but remember your human will have a different reaction to your reaction so try not to take it personally if they are not as pleased or disappointed in you. This will pass. Your humans are very concerned with your reactions to things and while a real surprise is not something you can control just try to make it quick and move on, this is the best way to teach your human that you are in control.

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Little Reminders

I have finished a great deal of training, but that being said it doesn’t mean you can let up and go on automatic. Dogs as well as humans fall into routines and need to be shook up occasionally. Our twice daily walks follow much the same route with some detours depending on weather on fatigue (of my human not me). When we go on a new route there are a lot of new smells and sights so I want, no need, to peruse and investigate it all.

I know that my human wants me to come when called and not stop at every leaf but well that just isn’t going to happen, not without some reward, at least. She has gotten out of the habit of bringing training treats in her pocket, thinking that it is not required all the time. I know it shouldn’t be, but well they are good. If I tarry too long and she wants me to obey then she has to make it worth my while; I mean really what good is having the treats and not bringing them along. It would be a waste of money, I am only trying to help after all.

I have this fixation on acorns, can’t explain it. They don’t even taste very good but I am determined to pick them up and chomp them until I get her attention and she wants me to drop it or leave it. I will sometimes get a treat if she thinks of it, I don’t think there is a connection, but even if there is, she should be aware of what I am picking up for I could get quite sick, so it helps if she is on top of things. Her training is never going to be finished. Humans will always need refresher courses, they just don’t seem to be able to retain a lot all at once.

One of my humans will give me human food if I ask and the other human isn’t around, plus there is quite a bit of food that “drops” on the floor. I risk getting them angry with me if I continue too long trying to get them to share, but how else will they learn that my digestive system is not the same as theirs and I shouldn’t eat everything that they do. It is a constant struggle, but I will soldier forth and work with them.

Please, keep up the training with your human, it can be exhausting but a well trained human is a more pleasant human. They are your responsibility so take care of these fragile creatures they are only human after all.

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Small Humans

I know that I have touched on this subject before, but I think it can be expanded upon. I personally, don’t live with a family that has small humans, but there are quite a few in the area. On our twice daily walks we run into them often. Most of these encounters are uneventful; I am on a leash and for the most part in training mode so I do not have contact with them  unless my human says that it is okay.

We walk by a fenced in area that the small humans seem to congregate in and it is a good thing they keep these beings fenced in! They are pretty unpredictable, loud and run in so many different directions. It is no wonder that the big humans make use of a fence! They seem a little stressed at times, but the little ones take no notice. When I am on the side of the street with the fence they come running up to the fence screaming something frankly I don’t understand, but I take it to mean that they would like to see me up close. Sometimes my human thinks this is okay so I go up to the fence give them a little sniff and move on. They are happy and I have done my duty. There are times when I think if the big humans need help I could go in there and herd them all into a corner for them but that is not going to happen .So glad they fence those things in, it would be chaos.

I also come into contact with them while they are in a rolling chair thing. It does keep them contained but maybe getting some walking in would tire them out and would be a good thing! When my human says that it is okay we approach the rolling thing with the small human and give them a sniff. They are usually very quiet and pat me very slowly (I have very soft fur and they seem to like it) so I stand and accept their accolades and then move on. My work here is done.

If you don’t have any of these in your home and run into them elsewhere approach with caution, but remember you are an ambassador don’t growl or bite just give them a little bit of your time. They can be unpredictable so be ready for anything. I find they have food with them quite a bit but do your best not to take it; they can get a bit hysterical about it. Maybe they don’t get fed frequently and have to guard it. I understand that these little things can be a lot of fun and comforting but each one is different and what one will like another may not. Some of their big humans can be a little overprotective so it is best to wait to be invited.

Small humans will grow to be regular size and remember training cannot start too early so any help you can offer will go a long way in the process. Small humans are just humans after all.

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Adopt

I have been contemplating my life lately and I must say I have it pretty good. I have trained my humans well, have a comfortable bed or two(plus the couch) 2 solid meals a day and plenty of exercise. As you know I was not raised from puppyhood by this particular set of humans and saw the inside of a couple of shelters. There are a lot of good dogs, yes cats too, in those shelters waiting for some humans to take them home with them.

There is a movement to clear the shelters and I know this is not entirely possible I think more humans should take part. There are puppies available to be sure but also more mature animals that would make a great addition to most families. Think about it, we have a little bit of training already and are ready to pass it along to the lucky human that chooses us. I knew that I needed to do my business outside, took me a little time to teach the humans the signs that I needed to go out but they really are an intelligent bunch for the most part so they caught on pretty quickly. We may be a little shy at first but given time and understanding the humans figure things out and our true personalities come shining through. I am not really a pack animal so another dog would not really make me all that happy, but some of you would love to have another dog or cat to pal around with when the humans are otherwise engaged.

This is really a plea to you to see that your humans read this and maybe consider adding a shelter animal to your family. Maybe they are not in the position to do so but if we can get the humans talking about it amoungst themselves it could go viral. They love causes and if they think it is their idea I for one will not tell them otherwise. So get the word out that shelter dogs and cats are the way to go. I came from a great place #baypathhumane but there are a ton of them all over the country and I am glad there are, so we can have a safe place to wait for our forever families.

#cleartheshelters is a great idea, just get your humans on board anyway you can, sometimes they need a little nudge. They are only human after all.

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Grabbing a little “me time”

By now a lot of you have gotten comfortable with your human family and training is just maintenance really. I do have time alone while they are at work and I use this time for a bit of grooming playing, eating and sleeping; basically recharging to be ready when they get home and I will be on duty for whatever they might need.

Me time is really just as important. The humans are home doing what they need to do, so you can find a quiet place and sleep, A spot away from everyone that is soft and warm or cool depending on your location should fit the bill. You have reached a point where you don’t have to be on 24/7, don’t feel guilty you have done your job so now you can reap the benefits of a well trained human. They may come looking for you and wondering if you are alright. Just open an eye, sigh possibly get a belly rub and then they will leave. Resist the urge to follow, they don’t need help, they will be fine not to worry.

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Lately I have been having to remind my humans to watch where they are going again and it takes a lot out of a dog; I mean really being at their side jumping in front of them so they will be reminded to watch where they are walking, especially when they are carrying food, the whole thing is exhausting! So when I know they are settled in at a task or watching tv I know I can grab a nap.

We all have different ways to enjoy ourselves but quiet time to reflect and rest is important, so try to grab some me time so you will be in a better place to serve our humans. They will always need us… they are only human after all.

Cars

I know I have mentioned car rides before but it takes on a different tone in the summer. They can be fun with the windows open enough to put your nose out wind in your ears etc, but in the summer this can mean longer rides if you are going on vacation with your humans so plan accordingly. You won’t know when or if you will be stopping for bathroom breaks so make sure you take care of business before you get in. They will wait.It is always advisable to be restrained while riding in the car and I know that doesn’t sound like fun but you can get knocked around pretty easily. There are seat belts for dogs just like people. You may have to make a pest of yourself to get your human to look into getting one for you. At least, they should have something that keeps you in one part of the car so you can’t roam around.

When you do stop make sure you are not left alone in the car. I know we all have a fear of being abandoned and losing track of our humans, but it is even more urgent in the summer. A car can get extremely hot very quickly even if they leave the window partially down. Do everything you can to get out of the car with them, bark, whine  just generally make yourself heard. It is dangerous and there are some pretty stupid humans out there that will think it is ok. I am not saying it is like that with your humans but lets not take any chances.

Vacation should be fun for us all, but there are times when humans have to be reminded about everyone’s safety and since you are in charge of their training it is up to you to remind them, they are only human after all. Happy vacation!

Fireworks!

Humans seem to really like these loud scary things. It can turn me and quite a few other animals into a quivering, shaking mess.

My humans have figured out that I have a couple of safe places where I can go to feel protected. It doesn’t change the fact that I am scared but I take comfort in the fact that they are not. At first they wanted to hold me and pet me and talk to me, but it felt like they were trying to reassure themselves, too. This only compounded the problem as now it was even more scary. I couldn’t protect them and that is my main job after all. We have been together for about a year and a half now and I think we have figured out each other.

If you are new to your human family or are a puppy remember find a safe place, a closet, under the bed, a small bathroom, etc and make it your own. This will pass. Every time you feel scared make this your safe place and they will get the idea that you need to be where you are and they are helping by letting you be. Don’t try to rush out of the house to get away from the noise it won’t help and then you will be scared and lost. Most humans will never totally understand why you are scared and that is okay as long as they understand your need to be in your safe place. Remember they are worried about you because they care and love you so that is a good thing. You have to train them will constant repetition and using the exact same place or places each time. Some are a little slower than others to catch on, they are only human after all.