Adventure!

Today my human decided to take me on a new adventure. It involved a car ride and I get very excited, she really doesn’t understand that I am not nervous but just looking forward to whatever comes. I am hoping this will happen more often so that she is less apprehensive when she takes me anywhere.

We drove for a bit to this lovely wooded area with trails, birds and so many new smells! It was fantastic. The terrain was varied and involved hills, flat areas, rocky places and a stream. I was very interested in the stream but maybe another day. I will say that the hills on the way back were a little steep and I am ashamed that I am so out of shape. The inclement weather and my love of food have taken its toll. I think my human noticed this too, so maybe our walk will increase in length on a daily basis and these treks will happen more often. I tried to show my pleasure and willingness to go for as long as she wanted so that she would be more interested in doing it again. This really is hard to tell your human; that this is great for both of you but try because it will add more to your lives and your enjoyment in being together outside.

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When leaving we met up with another dog where the car was parked, we waited until it was okayed that we could say hello. It was alright until he jumped up on my human, did not like that and had to show him that this was not proper. I don’t think he was going to do her any harm but I was not about to take any chances, so that ended that! She was not happy but I was doing my job and gave him a few extra barks on my way out for good measure. He needed to be reminded of his manners and this was my human to protect.

Well, here’s hoping that I will get more adventures soon. Get your human out of their rut if possible and go on an adventure!!

Time to speak to the humans…

I have been helping your dogs train you in the correct way to have a dog in your life. I am now going to speak directly to you. Take a seat and get comfortable.

We dogs would like you to know that we are here for one thing and that is you. We live our lives to be with you, to love you, protect you and keep you healthy and exercised. We want you to live in the moment and enjoy life and all that it has to offer. We know you are busy with work and whatever else you do when we are not with us so you need to take a moment or two during the day and relax. Get on the floor with us, pet us, rub our belly, rub our ears or just lie with us. We are here for you. When we want to get up on the chair, couch or bed it is so we can be a comfort to you. It lowers your blood pressure and we need you to be calm and happy.

When we beg at mealtimes it is because we want you to remember that we can always be asked to taste your food if need be, we are willing to lay down our lives for you. We want you to realize that we appreciate our full stomachs and you should too. Our food is nourishment to help us take care of you and there are times when a treat or two really adds to our day and keeps us going.

When we have to go out to take care of our business it is also time to take stock of any intruders or any danger that might imperil your life, so if it is multiple times it is because we are trying to catch any danger that might be lurking. We may look like we are just randomly smelling the ground, be assured we are on the prowl and taking stock. It helps you to be aware also.

While on walks we may lunge at squirrels, random cats or other menacing creatures but we are protecting you. Some one has to, after all you have to admit you all can be a bit distracted, so put the phone away and take those headphones off and enjoy being with us outside in the fresh air. We need to get you out and exercised so you will be healthy. We take our job seriously it is true, but it doesn’t mean we are not up for a little fun, so join us. Change our walking routes every once in awhile or take us with you on a hike. Listen to the sounds of nature, look around you at the wonder of your surroundings and be in the moment.

We won’t be around forever so be with us, love us as we love you, unconditionally. You will never have another being care for you as much as we do. Look into our eyes and you will see the depth of our love, it is up to you. We will be gone before you know it and regrets are stupid.

love, Your Dog

Birds

The feathered, flying animals are an odd lot. I will admit to largely ignoring them as they really don’t stay around very long when I am in view. They usually appear in large numbers and have quite a bit to say. When I am out and about walking the neighborhood there is generally a large group of very boisterous crows. They sit in the trees talking (screaming really) and then fly off for no apparent reason. If a group of dogs met up like that all the humans would be up in arms. Don’t know why they allow this to go on, maybe because they are high up in the trees nothing can be done, well I can tell you it is getting old.

My human, puts seed in a small feeder hanging on our front porch. This is visible from our kitchen and the smaller, very pretty birds come to that to dine. They come in small groups, mixed varieties and speak sparingly. They are pleasant to look at and watch if I have nothing better to do, but they don’t bother me at all. I will say they are a bit casual with their seed, I always seem to find quite a bit on the porch floor, although my human won’t let me have it. Probably a good thing. Squirrels try to get the seed from the feeder, but when they get on it it closes so they can’t get at what is inside. They try all types of positions, hanging from their back feet, leaning over the edge etc. None of this is successful and they fall and go away unfed. I will say that is fun to watch. I wonder if my human has placed this feeder more for me than herself. There are days when I get a lot of entertainment from those stupid rodents! Thank you.

We have very large birds around here (at least I think they are birds, they fly) called wild turkeys. This is a scary bunch. They make weird noises, move funny and well they are ugly! My human, doesn’t want me anywhere near them. I don’t know who she is trying to protect, I am pretty sure I could take one of them down if given the opportunity and they were threatening me or my human. They look mean so I am sure they don’t want to be friends.

I know when the weather gets warmer around here, my human will open the windows and I will be able to hear all the bird sounds. I will remain vigilant for any danger, real or perceived. Birds are just part of my environment and I will have to find their place in it. I will admit to thinking that flying might be a fun skill to have. Birds don’t seem to take full advantage of it.

Attention

I have been talking about training your human for awhile now, but they need to start working on giving us attention now. It is time we are rewarded for all the hard work and attention that we give to them in order to make them better functioning humans. Now all of you have different requirements as far as the amount of attention you want or need so you can tailor these suggestions to fit your particular situation.

  1. The nose butt: this is classic but only works when they are seated and not paying you any mind. Bring them back to the present by pushing your nose under their hand or arm. Always wag your tail as this tells them you are happy and being cute(very important). Now this brings a few perils; be aware if they have anything in their hand that might be spilled, dropped or broken. I don’t want to make that mistake again! Hot coffee doesn’t feel good and they get upset with you and that is not what you were going for at all.
  2. The paw: you don’t want to scratch or hurt your human but if they are ignoring you this will work. Some humans think this is cute and will respond right away, mine does not and is adamant that I do not do it.I am working on this and have gotten better but when we are on the couch and her hand is not busy petting me I will still try.
  3. 3.The big eyes: this can be paired with the head on the lap if your human is seated, but otherwise it just means getting into their field of vision and not breaking eye contact, I find this works well when they are preoccupied. It helps them focus on what is really important…you.dscn0257
  4. Whining and or barking: You need to be careful and not overuse this tactic. Save this for when you need to go outside or your dinner is late. This does not always get you positive attention, so use sparingly.
  5. Pacing: This again should be used only when needed. I find that my humans note this action quickly and will ask me if I need to go out, so it has it’s use.
  6. Remember you have been working hard with your human and it is time for your reward. I want my human’s attention as much as possible and we are all different so choose your moments and enjoy. Humans are a fun bunch once they learn the basics and they will find showering you with as much attention as you want helps relax them and improves the quality of their lives too.

Moods

I have to say; humans are a moody bunch. It also doesn’t appear to take much to change the mood, you can go downhill pretty quickly. As a dog, I don’t really have moods to talk about. I am either very happy or asleep. The way you react to your human’s mood depends a lot on how they react to you. You can jump around like a loony to try to get their attention and maybe get them in a better mood but all that really does is make you look a little simple, so let us try to stay away from that. We love them unconditionally but that doesn’t mean we have to forgo our dignity in the process.

It will take some practice on reading voice and facial cues and every human is different. I can only speak to what I have seen. My human’s voice will get louder and with a hard edge to it if they are angry and if it is directed at me I try to make myself small and scarce! This doesn’t happen often and as I hate yelling and it frightens me I think they make a big effort not to do it. Their face also shows anger, their eyebrows go down and they don’t smile and it is tough to explain but their eyes get hard. I know that is a really strange description but it is the best I can do.

When they are sad or maybe depressed, they cry and show very little interest in anything. This I have tried to change and I am seeing improvement. I will lay my head on their lap and look longingly at them so they will pet me or snuggle and this helps to take their mind off things after awhile. This requires some persistence on your part as they hold onto their moods for quite a bit. They just don’t move on as we do, they are a challenge. And as all challenges go the work is worth the effort. I mean a scratch on the head, behind the ear or snuggling on the couch really can be a nice reward for helping these humans.

When they are happy they may be talking louder but the voice has a different tone and their face and eyes are softer and they smile. They may be excited which can get you excited but it is a fine line because if you go too far they can get annoyed, so while this is an easy mood to figure out it can turn on you fast. Their voice will also have a higher pitch especially when talking with you.

I am making this sound as if they are in a different mood every 5 minutes and that just isn’t true but time to me has a different meaning. They may be moody, but they are a great bunch once you figure them out. Don’t try to change them just be there for them and help them because they really should not go through life without us; they just are not equipped. They are only human after all.

Shedding Time

I have a pretty wash and wear coat, but that doesn’t mean I don’t shed and since I am indoors quite a bit it means that my coat leave traces around the house and this time of year it happens a lot!

My human brushes me frequently and has various tools to try to leave the hair outside. I don’t mind this grooming although I have made it known that it is not a good idea to do it before a walk as I am anxious to get going. After a walk is a good idea especially in the spring when bugs, ticks and mud are plentiful. Today was snowing again so I got to wear one of my coats that is waterproof. It is from Horseware of Ireland, my Rambo coat is great, the nylon inside shines up my coat and keeps me warm and dry while I am running through the snow(a favorite activity of mine). It doesn’t shift on me or twist which is a big plus, and I look quite nice.

Getting back to the grooming tools. My human has quite a few and have tried them all at one time or another.DSCN0299

I love these as she can just pet me and rub me(not too hard) and she gets the results she wants and I get all the attention I desire. I think they were originally created for horse owners but they work. I can put up with this type of grooming longer than others as she is petting and rubbing which I enjoy. I highly recommend these. I think they are called Hands On Gloves. I am pretty sure they will come into play with bath time and mud removal also. She got them at Dover Saddlery, but I am sure you can find them at pet stores.

Other brushes and tools are good also, humans will try quite a few things so as to keep the indoor hair down to a minimum. As this might help keep that noisy strange machine, the vacuum, in the closet; I am willing to put up with whatever helps.DSCN0298

The items here with the raised nubs are good for a massage, just make sure your human doesn’t rub too hard or the wrong way as it depends on your coat. The brush is used as a finishing tool and has a pin like side for those of you that have longer hair/coats so you won’t get matted. We have to depend on our humans to keep us looking at our best as we can only do so much ourselves and there are times when our grooming attempts are met with derision. We can’t help it that we have to lick, guess we do it too loudly or at the wrong times. Considering that they want us clean and smelling good you would think they would appreciate our efforts.DSCN0300

These last tools are not my favorite as I really don’t like the feeling on my skin. I will put up with them for a short time and as long as she doesn’t bear down too hard.

I am sure you all have your favorite tools for looking your best, please let me know and he can share our grooming successes and failures. Humans are trying to help so let us help them!DSCN0285

Car Rides

I have an issue with riding in the car. I can’t really explain it. I get excited and anxious at the same time. I try to make my human understand that I do like the car, but I am still not completely comfortable with it.

I whine, bark, pant and pace and I can see how that is confusing. I believe they think I am nervous so they don’t take me in the car unless it is necessary. The trip to get me groomed, the vet visit etc. I always come home again, but we don’t seem to go anywhere fun. When I am outside anywhere near the car I try to show them I want to get inside and I am hoping now that the weather is better we will go someplace. They get annoyed by my whining and barking but I think it will be better if we go out more often. Kind of a catch-22 as they don’t want to listen to me whine and bark so they don’t take me, but the more I go the calmer I will be; at least that is what I believe.

Cars are part of a humans everyday life and they become used to them, the noises they make, the vibrations and the scenery going by really fast. Unless you are in the car all the time these are very novel feelings, so I hope with more exposure the calmer I will be. It might not happen but I am willing to try. I just have to find a way to let the humans know so they will be willing to take even short trips with me.

I remember there was this trip we took to a park and walked through the woods with so many good smells and sights. I was very excited before and after and hope to go again very soon. This is the sort of car ride that would help my being anxious.

Humans can be slow to learn and this is really hard to teach especially when you are a little anxious yourself and it is impossible to predict what is going to happen, but I am going to keep on trying.

Cats

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I will say that I don’t have much experience with cats, but I have met a couple. One that lives in my neighborhood like to sleep under my front porch.; for what reason I don’t know. I have been allowed to come nose to nose with it while on the leash and it wasn’t scary. I have another one that lives next door with one of my favorite humans but I have only seen it through the door or window. I might want to make friends but I don’t think it will be allowed. I don’t know what is worrying them, I don’t attack, maybe they are trying to protect me from the cat. That is sweet.

There are a number of cats that live around me but most of them are inside and the ones that are outside usually take off when I am around. I am trying not to take it personally, if I was more insecure I might. I think they might be fun to chum around with, they are very sleek looking even if they do have kind of a stand offish personality. They don’t seem to want to be friendly, but given the opportunity I will try to make friends. It appears that if humans like and have cats living with them they are not excited about dogs.

I have heard that some dogs and cats live together in the same house and are friends. I have even heard of a dog and cat that play and wrestle with each other, fun! I don’t think I will ever experience that because you can’t really experiment with animals that way. Well, if nothing else they are pretty to look at and talk to occasionally.

I can’t read minds!

As a dog, I ready body language and short commands, I also react to schedules and sounds. When my humans are rushing and acting stressed, I get excited and anxious. I think something is going on and I need to help or let them know that I am not to be left behind. There are times when my humans are running late or have to do quite a few things in a short space of time, they get anxious and so do I. There are certain sounds that signal to me that the status quo is about to change, for instance at night when they turn off the tv it is my signal for my last time to go outside before bed. When this happens at some other time of day I know that something else is going to happen; I am aware that it is not bedtime I can see that it isn’t dark, but I do know that they will be changing their places in the house or possibly leaving. I will be involved somehow.

Short commands work best when I deal with humans, I mean they talk all the time and I don’t understand most of it, though I can tell by the tone of the voice if I should be worried. I don’t like shouting, it makes me uneasy and frightened. A firm one word command proceeded by my name is what I will respond to. I have been working with my human for awhile now at this and they are improving. Sometimes they get a little conversational and while it sounds nice it means nothing to me.

They don’t always sit down sometimes they stand around and it confuses me because I think something is going to happen and I get excited and try to get in the middle of things. I know that this can be annoying to them but it is the only way they will learn that they need to make their intentions clear. I am trying to take care of them and believe me they can make this difficult. I have found that since I took them on to train they have stayed to a schedule and are not as tense. They get daily snuggle times as well as exercise as I believe this is important to help de-stress them. Living in the moment, loving and enjoying life and those you love, important lessons to impart to them, have to keep at it some of them are kind of slow learners! We love them though.

Pests

I know we have discussed squirrels before, but they have entered a different phase now. The weather is warming up a bit and snow cover is melting and I am sure they are getting ready for spring and all that entails. They are not the sharpest tools in the shed! They go around digging up holes in lawns in gardens as they look for buried nuts? I mean really; they can’t even remember where they put their groceries! They chase each other around trees, how difficult is it to see each other, the trees aren’t that big. I am surprised more don’t get hit by cars as they can’t seem to decide which side of the road they want to be on and why they are even crossing the street comes into question. I will say they are agile and quick. Although I have heard that some neighborhood cats have gotten them (cats a different story).

I am not as annoyed with them as I used to be because well they really are not worth the effort. I will bark and occasionally lunge at them just to keep them a little concerned that I might be willing and able to take them out if I want. Good to keep them honest. I know I will be seeing them a lot more on my walks and when I am outside enjoying the fresh air but I am a little more tolerant of them. Still not my favorite but I will let it go…for now.