Communication

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

There are a multitude of ways to get your point across to a human and maybe even understand them. The eyes are a big part of communicating. My eyes are rounder in shape as I am partially a hound, these can convey quite a few things. If I show a bit of white around them I am scared and usually this is accompanied by the ears flat back and probably panting and some shaking if it is really scary (thunderstorm, firecrackers etc). This will be almost automatic on my part, my humans know these reactions and will react to me the way they should. If I want attention I will lay my head on a lap and bump their arm or just try to look pitiful and a quick wagging of the tail. They usually get the point but do not always give me what I am looking for. I have learned that there are certain times and places that this will work. My human comes down in the morning after feeding me and taking me out will then sit down with her breakfast and I can get some petting, ear rubs and scratches before she gets too far into her morning. While they are watching television is also a good time to give it a shot. Though I have found out that the other one of my humans does not like it while he is eating, although I still try. I let them know that I am there to take any leftover food from them, I don’t want them getting fat and unhealthy so really I would be providing a service, unfortunately it is not always seen this way.

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Ears can be helpful in getting your point across if they pay attention. My ears are normally out to the side, not upright or all the way down, so when I perk up my ears to as high up as they can go, they know I am alert and excited about things. When they drive in the driveway I perk up and go to the door to wait for them and then when they come in the house I show them how happy I am to see them, wag my tail, go in circles and generally make an idiot of myself, but they seem to like this and will pet me and show a lot of affection, really it is a small thing and it really does seem to make them happy. So I will bite the bullet and look silly for them.

Your tail is important in letting the humans as well as other animals know what is going on. A slow wag while you are approaching a new dog or person, will let them know you are being cautious even if you are interested. A tail tucked between your legs will let them know you are scared, upset or even a little guilty because you did something you know isn’t going to make them too happy. The fast wagging is just sheer excitement and this is what humans appear to want to see most of the time, but then they want you to settle down; as if you had an off switch.

Now, humans are different. They do not have ears that move, tails and their eyes don’t really do much either, but we have to be able to read them if we want to manage them on a day to day basis. I find that if I tune into their voice, not really what they are saying as much as how they are saying it I get clues as to their desires. A high pitched voice will tell me they are happy and will like to play  or pet me, but when it gets low, loud and kind of a growl I try to make myself scarce. One of my humans is expressive with her face and if she is looking at me and frowning it is another clue that maybe then is not the time to try to get some snuggle time.They are a moody bunch and things pass quickly, but it is in your best interest to pay attention and make the most of the moments. My humans love me and give me so much so I am trying very hard to understand what they want so that we can live together harmoniously, I know that I have said I take my job seriously and I do, but having the ability to read your human helps you to also be a member of the family. Humans can be exasperating but the love, affection, food and home they share with you is worth it.

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So in closing, try to really work on your communication skills and your humans will find that they can understand you better and you can understand them or at least figure out what they want from time to time. Humans!

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A few games!

Okay, we have discussed training for your humans and how important routine, schedules and repetition are. All of these things are the basis for most training programs and successes, but there is no reason you can’t have a little fun too. I have a few pointers and some games to employ to spice up your training plans

  • Another way to get your human to pay attention. This can be done a couple of ways, it involves your sense of smell. I am part hound so scents are a big part of me. I will randomly stick my nose up in the air and start sniffing. This usually will garner attention because my nose is almost always close to the ground smelling, so this makes her believe that she can smell something too. We all know our sense of smell is much more developed than theirs but it doesn’t stop them trying to figure out what you are attracted to. It is amusing to watch them try to use their small inadequate noses to find and identify the smell. Seriously, if we had to depend on them smelling out danger we would all perish, at least they try. The other option is best used on a trail not on the street. Put your nose to the ground and start sniffing and then act like you have found a great scent, but it must be a very erratic trail. You are going to want to go back and forth pulling in all different directions you can occasionally add a whine to this or a little woof if you want, entirely up to you, make it your own!

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  • Statue- I will be walking and then stop dead in my tracks. No smelling, just my ears at attention and looking. Sometimes it is fun if you do this by turning around so whatever you “see” is behind you. This will have a tendency to make your human a little uneasy as they think someone or something is coming up behind them. You can allow them to coax you along but keep looking behind you, whine etc. I like to all of a sudden scoot forward as if something is chasing me, that gets them every time!

So these are just a few games you can try to liven up your training program, I mean really you got to have fun with them otherwise it just gets old and nobody is enjoying your walks anymore. We know that our sight, hearing and sense of smell are far superior to humans so use them. They will try to keep up with you and it is amusing, they are only human after all!

Schedules

I have been a little off lately because my daily schedule which was nice and predictable has been thrown off by one of my humans being home everyday-all day. He is getting up and around more and will leave for a bit, but overall the regularity with which I thrive is not there.

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When they leave for work or wherever it is they go I get a little treat, my pillow in the kitchen and the gate up. A new wrinkle is that when I am left alone by the other human lately this has not happened. I am just left free in the house. So now I am on constant watch! Nice. I then do a little stretching, smelling and playing then on to the serious napping. I have to be all rested up for when they come home. I am very happy and show this by tail wagging, jumping, running around and talking. This requires some sleep to be fully ready. Now I don’t know if there will be days when no one leaves the house. I have to be “UP” all day. Frankly this can be very difficult to maintain on a daily basis. I will lie down and try to get naps in over the course of the day, but I have to sleep lightly or even with my eyes open just resting, so that I can jump up, remind them that I am there to help. Do you need a food tester? Do you need to snuggle? Shall I accompany you to the other room? I heard the fridge open, do you need help? With all of this going on it is easy to forget about your immediate needs.

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My bathroom schedule is now totally messed up. I still get my morning and afternoon walks and take care of most of my business then, but there are times when I feel the need and really I should ask right away as I don’t know what their plans are for the rest of the day. Of course being up and about makes me very aware of the fact that I might need to pee so we had better go NOW. I will admit there are times when it is a false alarm and I make an effort to try at least. I occasionally get distracted by new smells or sounds, also. This doesn’t sit well so I have to make a concerted effort to only ask when I am positive. The humans think I am just faking it to go outside to smell around and while I do like to go out and smell, this is not always the case.

While trying to get a handle on this new non-schedule as I am calling it I had difficulty knowing if anything was an urgent matter because, well, I am not  mind reader! At least some of the schedule is staying the same for which I am very grateful, I hope if and when it changes again I can roll with it. I am a working dog and I need my rest!

Man Down!

Life has been a bit strange lately. One of my humans that used to leave for extended periods on a daily basis is home all the time.

My other human does not seem to notice that we are a man down. I don’t know how she can miss that he stays on the couch and moves very slowly. I am not allowed on the couch with him. I really do not understand this as I can help by snuggling, but I try to keep my eye on him. Don’t get me wrong, she brings him things and makes sure he is comfortable, but I am torn between the two. Frankly this whole thing is hard.

I guess he has some problem with his foot and went somewhere to have something done to it and can be in pain, but he seems to be progressing, I don’t know how long this situation is going to last, but I will be there every step of the way. I had an injury a long time before I came here and it never really healed so I limp from time to time even though I am not in pain, just a little numb so I understand that this can be frustrating. You can’t take it personally when the humans snap at you as they are either in pain, frightened or worried and that is how it comes out. I try to stay close in case I can be of help, but it is upsetting to have my life turned upside down. I can’t sit with my humans so I go into the other room or when my other human goes upstairs I go up to be with her so I can sleep on my bed and keep her in sight. I was a little depressed at first but maybe this is the new normal and I will just have to roll with it.

I am still getting my walks twice a day and I am never really alone much so that is good. I have trained my humans well and now I have to rely on that training to keep things on the straight and narrow. I will keep you updated on the progress, but right now I am tired so I am off to take a nap.

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A quick update

I know that I have not posted for awhile but my humans have been in need of constant company lately. Their moods are unpredictable and our schedules are off.

I had a trip to the vet and was deemed healthy, my weight has not changed which is odd because I thought that I had put on a few pounds with this cold weather. Got a couple of shots, not too bad, basically was in and out in about 20 minutes. I must say I was a little anxious because we don’t go in the car often and there were a lot of new smells at the vets office.

My humans have been spending a lot of time in bed or on the couch and not sounding like themselves so I guess is they are not well and this requires extra attention on my part even if I get snapped at for being too attentive. Sometimes these people just don’t know what is good for them.

I got a new coat, I don’t know that I needed one but it is a very classic plaid, subdued not at all flashy so I think it looks good and I will wear it in good faith if it makes my human happy. I will be glad when it is back to normal around here. Sometimes these humans can be exhausting!

Walks…a refresher course

For those of you new to this blog I thought I would take the time to go over a few things again and for those of you that are not new, well we can always be reminded.

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Walks are very important, they help you and your human bond, get exercise, go to the bathroom, leave message to other animals and have fun. It all starts when you are getting ready. When you know that a walk is in the offing jump around, bark, try to rush your human by helping them get ready. This may get them a little annoyed but it is imperative that you show how important the walk is and how excited and happy you are about it. If they carry treats with them sit nicely so they can give you one before you leave that way you will know when you do what they want you will get a treat, not every time but it is a good way to help your human be more aware of you and what you are doing. Depending on your collar or leash situation don’t pull or yank, it hurts you and humans are not thrilled with this idea at all.

Now that you are out and about it is usually advisable to get your business done soon so the rest of the walk can be fun. Remember you want your human present so if it looks like they are not paying attention and running on auto, stop to smell, grab something unmentionable to eat or just stop and stare at something, this last one confounds them totally. They can’t see what you are looking at and it drives them crazy! It is a little game I like to play every once in awhile. Can’t do it too much as they will catch on, humans can be very smart. I grab snow, grass and acorns, these are my go to ways to make my human be in the moment. These things probably are not that great for me but she catches me before it goes too far. There are times when she just gets annoyed and I suppose I just have to let it go. People are moody.

Walks are important so these are points to remember:

  • exercise
  • bathroom
  • bond with your human
  • get familiar with all the great smells
  • great training for your human

So remember to take your human on at least on or two walks daily and enjoy the out of doors, be in the moment and love life.

Musings

As I have said I do like the cooler weather so when it got so cold that I couldn’t enjoy the outside I was disappointed. The weather then got warmer and I was enjoying going out again, did not care if it was raining, but it was so warm I lost track of time and thought the warm weather was back to stay! This place is really confusing lately. My human still makes the effort to get me out no matter what and I think she is trying to make up for the time when it was too cold, because she has really picked up the pace! She brings me up to my favorite place to smell and do my business and then we are off! I try to stop but it is not appreciated. I have trained her to stop at intersections and look both ways. I sit down and get a treat for my efforts (sometimes) and I stick close by her leg so she knows where I am and that I am keeping an eye on her.

We still get our daily couch time where we snuggle after dinner and she has made me a new toy. Now I am not a huge toy fan; balls leave me cold, I do have a wishbone type rubber thing that I like to chew on, but I have had fleece rope things that are fun to thrash around and pull apart. I guess she wants them gone when they are mostly gone because I have ripped them and chewed them to the point where they are just a small knot. To be honest when they get to that point they really are not that much fun anymore. My human decided to make me a new one and it is great, it is a little longer than my others and it is lasting longer because it is tighter and a bit difficult to pull apart. She even made small ones for cats, although I think this is not at all needed as they have different personalities, i mean really do they even play? One of my favorite humans has a cat living with him, I have seen it through the door and it seems to have an attitude. I still like him though.

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I find this time of the year very uneventful after all the holidays and celebrations that we just finished with, it is important to have some downtime and time for reflection. I enjoy my humans, my food, daily walks, my warm house with my own beds should I choose them over the couch and now I seem to be able to get a new toy whenever the old one is past the point of enjoyment. Fun times!

Cold

I have talked about how much I enjoy the cold weather and the snow, but since we had our last holiday (Christmas?) it is too cold to enjoy anything outside.

My humans have bundled me up to walk me but between the snow, the pavement and the fact that it has hovered in the single digits for quite a bit means that I can’t enjoy it. My human tried really hard, she knew I wanted to go out, put on my warmest coat and continually wiped off my paws, but to no avail. She just stopped trying and just took me out when I needed to go do my business and smell a bit, but even that was no fun. Both my humans were home during this time which was nice as I had company, but they wanted to relax, read, watch tv etc and I was bored. I heard my human say that she thought I was getting depressed, don’t know what that means, but it did seem to concern her.

Her next try was to take me out in the back yard with a very long leash to let me run in the snow so my paws did not touch the road. This was fun, still really cold but much better, she really is trying. It has started to warm a bit so I got a nice long walk yesterday and came home, ate my dinner and raced around the house, upstairs and down(easier to do where there is a rug), I was in a great mood and slept really well.

This morning much to my delight there was SNOW! I couldn’t wait, went out first thing for a quick pee and then in for breakfast. I could barely contain myself waiting for my human to finish her breakfast. It is very windy and still snowing so we did the backyard romp instead. So many smells! I think some squirrels left some tidbits of food, which I found under the snow. My human wouldn’t let me have them and she is probably right as you never know about things you find left about. Smelled good though.

Don’t know how long this weather will last but I am sure my humans will do everything they can to keep me safe and warm and I will continue to try to help them enjoy life. If you have some snow, try to get out and play a little, have fun, unlike cats we only have this one life!

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After holiday let down

I guess the holiday is over as the other humans who came to stay have gone home now. It was fun having more humans to snuggle with, get food from (people drop a lot of stuff, if I had thumbs I think I would be better) and play with. There was a really crazy night with them opening up boxes and bags with paper and ribbon, what a mess. There was no room on the couch for me as the humans took up all the space! I tried getting to my bed in the corner but I finally gave up and curled up on the rug in front of the fire. You do what you have to, I guess.

After that one crazy night things quieted down a bit and it was nice, there was always at least one person to give me attention. I worked hard to get them to relax, some were better at it than others. Some humans seem to have no relax in them. The other humans left, I will miss them and my humans seemed a little sad when they did leave so I need to stick close to them to make sure they know I am here for them, if they need a hug I am willing to step into the breach with a lick, or a warm body with which to snuggle. I need to take care of these humans, they need a lot of love.

I got a new toy and some treats so that was nice if unexpected. My rewards are really simple although my humans like to give me things to play with and  I am not going to complain as they can be a nice diversion from time to time. I even have a basket that they put them in. I think they want me to put them back there also, but really, why? I am just going to take them out again. If I leave them around it really is like marking my space.

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The weather has turned very cold with snow on the ground. The snow isn’t as much fun when it is very cold as it hurts my paws. My walks have been shortened for now. I still go out twice a day, but with my coat on and I need to stay out of the snow. I don’t like it but it is hard to tell how cold it will be until I try. My humans help by wiping the snow and whatever else I pick up while walking on the street off my paws so I won’t be uncomfortable or sick. It is nice to come home to a warm house, fresh water, food and humans that love me, really all that I need or want.

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The tree that lights up with stuff hanging off of the branches is still here. I don’t know when that will leave along with the other things placed in odd areas around the house but then all will be back to normal and a familiar routine starts back up again. The holidays are fun, but can be pretty exhausting, glad this doesn’t happen everyday I would be a wreck. Well, I hope you all enjoyed your holiday if you celebrated in any way. Remember to keep an eye on your humans and make sure if they get sad to keep their spirits up; play with them, snuggle with them,act silly etc. After this hectic time some of them seem unable to get back into the swing of things. Back to work!

Another Holiday?!

These humans love a good party. The lead up to this holiday seems to be coming to a close, I think.

They started this whole thing by bringing a tree in the house! Seriously, I am always trying to get them to go outside to enjoy the crisp air, smells and sounds so they bring it inside. I think they are missing the point. Don’t get me wrong, it smells great although they don’t want me getting too close. The put things on that light up and then a whole bunch of stuff dangling off it’s branches. Talk about an open invitation to investigate. They have brought in other branches and other outside items in for decorations, so I guess this is a thing. So now they put down a bunch of bright boxes with ribbons and bows underneath so it is harder to get close, don’t know if this is the reason for it or not.

Food is playing a big role. My human has spent days in the food room(kitchen?) mixing up stuff and cooking it then leaving it out on the counter. The smells are fantastic even if I know this food isn’t for me. I am on watch constantly, frankly it can be exhausting. I am right next to her at all times in case she needs my help also if things drop on the floor I want to be there to clean it up. She has brought out that annoying loud sucking machine more often and if I can help by cleaning up as she goes then I won’t have to deal with that thing!

Trying to remember back to last year, I think I remember having other humans to stay and visit and they are great fun. More snuggling opportunities! I am all for welcoming people into our home if they are willing to snuggle, what’s to hate about that. I also, think my human is home more and I love that.

Well, all these holidays can be very tiring and I need to pace myself but I think my human is about to start mixing things again, she never stops. I am still able to get her out for walks but she certainly has a lot to do. Have to get in short little naps when I can. I hope you are all enjoying this time of year and helping out your humans in their many tasks, try to keep them from overdoing things.

Have to go check the tree after the food comes onto the counter, so many things to do!