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.

Don’t get comfortable!

We have discussed our various duties as the family dog and there are times when you get into a routine and forget that you have a job and while cuddling with your human is part of it; it is surely not the only part.

I am not a good candidate for being off leash as it is partly in my breed makeup to follow a scent. When my humans want to work outside in the yard, watering plants, pulling up weeds cleaning the car, etc (boy, they do seem to have quite a few things to do) I want, no need, to be out there with them protecting them. I have to make sure they don’t wander off, hurt themselves in someway or forget that I am here! They use loud machines which frankly I want no part of like the lawnmower, vacuum cleaner, snow blower, leaf blower etc. It is a wonder they can hear at all anymore. My house has a glass front door, during the warm weather I can look out and see them but not always clearly and I could not get to them if there was a problem. They seem to be annoyed that I whine and bark to come out, but I have a job after all and they are thwarting me at every turn. If my humans are going to be out in the yard for an extended amount of time they  will gate me on the porch or put me on my tie out and this helps but is limiting.

There are days when my human is up and about all day going from one thing to another, upstairs and downstairs. I do have to follow her to keep an eye on her because if she is out of sight she is not out of mind! I think she has learned to watch out for me and at times will even tell me where she is going just to help  me out. The other human stays in one place for longer period of times when he is home so he is easier to watch. The kitchen is an area you need to be vigilant about. You never know what they are doing in there! There are times food falls on the floor and you will need to take care of it, they could slip and fall or eat something that wouldn’t be good for them. You have to sacrifice for them, don’t worry it will pass.

Now while I cannot watch out for them when they get in their cars and leave for extended periods but when they come home I am on the job! Take little naps so you are rested enough to jump into action when you are called to do so! Just remember if you take care of them, they will take care of you and seriously who doesn’t want more snuggle time. We love them unconditionally and they gives us love in return. Humans are a pretty good bunch but they need constant watching; they are only human after all.dscn0256

Always alert!

Lazing by the pool

Ok, well I don’t laze anywhere near a pool, but recently we had very hot weather and it really knocks me out. My human doesn’t take me for long walks as she doesn’t want my paws to burn on the pavement so I like to be outside in the cool grass. We are not anywhere near a lake or body of water for me to swim in, not sure I would anyway, but she did get me this small plastic pool and fills it slightly with water. Last summer season, I was not too sure about it but warmed to the idea by the end of the warm weather. I am not going to lay down it it but cooling off my feet, taking a drink and splashing are quite enjoyable and it really seems to make her happy to see me in it and since it is my job to make her happy I will oblige.

Last week it came out and I seemed to remember it from last year and it took very little coaxing to get me in it. I splashed, tried digging and ran through it for quite awhile and it was very refreshing. I may get to the point where I can lie down and relax in it, but I really am not a water dog so we will see.

If you don’t have access to water to swim or play in see if you can get your human to get one of these for you. I think she got the idea one day when we came back from a walk and I put my paws in the water dish to cool them. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do after all, little messy but effective. Maybe you can try the same or the toilet? Be creative, it all depends on how quick your human is to get the hint. Be patient they are only human after all.