We will be taking a hiatus from blogging for the time being. Right now I find there are a few better mediums we can use to share our day to day adventures.
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We can learn so much from watching our dogs enjoy themselves outdoors
They know no comparison, or criticism
They move their little bodies with confidence and curiosity
They are in touch with the earth, they let the grass tickle them and mud cake their feet.
They are present
So we’ve talked about the little quirks we love about our dogs, and also how we are failing them as parents. But what about those habits of theirs that really get your goat. Now now, I know that we all exercise additional patience with our dogs- Hell, I’m actually working with a personal trainer to find ways to better my dogs while still being the soft spoken wimp that I am. My first lesson is to try not to laugh when Bardia does something bad. That being said, there are definitely certain behaviors I could live without.
Both of my dogs beg for food. Elsa takes it to a new level though. She will sit beside me and actually use her paw to pull my hand toward her and try to eat off my fork. When that doesn’t work she will casually crawl into my lap to lay down, and then subtly crane her neck toward my plate to lick whatever she can.
She also loves to wipe her eye boogers on me. It’s gross.
Mornings with Bardia are a struggle. He wakes up unfailingly at 6am every day- weekends and holidays included. Then he proceeds to cause a raucous throughout the house until he and I go for a run or one of us humans leaves for work. These actions include pacing through the house while mildly whimpering at nothing, repeatedly stealing shoes, hairbrushes, pens etc. from whatever room we leave open, and knocking on the door to go outside 9 billions times. Again, this behavior is entirely confined to the first two hours of the day.
Bardia is also very jealous. He does not like me kissing Elsa, or John, or hugging my mom or petting strange dogs and will actively jump between me and these things.
So spill! Does your dog have any less-than-charming habits?
If there’s one thing I can say for sure in this life it’s that no one is perfect (IDK maybe Beyonce is? She seems to have her shit down). Not our dogs and certainly not us pup-parents. Some days it’s really hard raising those fur butts- we’re tired, they’re acting out, we’re pressed for time, or sometimes we’re just being stupid and lazy. But we all have our faults, here are a few of mine.
For starters, I wait too long in between nail trimmings. I know how important it is to keep your dog’s nails short and neat but hot damn are they just awful at sitting through trimmings. It’s like I need to wake up and accept that half of the day will be spent struggling through something that is horrible to all involved. So I put it off as long as I can.
I sometimes forget to brush their teeth…and sometimes I just don’t do it. Again, I KNOW how important dental hygiene is but some nights, it just isn’t worth the struggle of trying to force my fingers into their mouths.
I get grumpy and impatient when they take too long to poop. Especially in these frigid months.
Every now and then, I’ll ignore their pleas to play. Yeah, I’m the worst. Most of the time, thinking about coming home to play with them is all that gets me through the day. But other times, I’m so exhausted I just want to crash on the couch and watch Netflix until my face falls off. Lucky for me, they usually accept a good cuddle in place of play.
I reward bad behavior. Like when they are begging for my food and I just give them some to get them off my back. Did I mention I’m the worst?
What are some parenting mistakes you make with your dogs?
A little celebration of the individual quirks I love most about my dogs.
Elsa barks at big deer and cars like she’s not to be effed with, but is gentle with babies. She sleeps on my neck at night and purrs like a cat. If you start to play fetch with her you’ve committed to doing so for the rest of your life because she does not give up.
Bardia is very sensitive and doesn’t like when people cry, even on TV. He has no sense of personal space and will often trip me up as I walk through the house, or rest his head right on my dinner plate. He always smells good, he’s the best smelling dog I’ve ever known.
I know some dogs are lazier than others but when it comes down to it, all dogs need exercise. Just as with us humans the benefits to their health and general well being are countless. While our two preferred methods are running and fetch, there are of course days when it’s impossible for us to get outside. This Winter alone we’ve seen blizzards, temps below zero, and I’ve been nursing some knee issues on and off. Now we’re entering the rainiest season of the year and it won’t be long before temperatures climb into the triple digits. Needless to say we have to get creative with our entertainment and exercise now and then.
First of all there is tug-of-war! I know this option isn’t for everyone, particularly dogs who get aggressively possessive. Some people will also tell you not to let your dog “win”. All I can say is know your dog, read the signs and quit if things get ugly. But if your dog can handle it and enjoys it, tug can work a lot of muscles your dog rarely gets to utilize. My dogs love it. What’s more is a lighthearted game of tug is often encouraged in puppyhood to strengthen the bond between dog and human!
The FitPAWS-Peanut While this won’t necessarily tire your dog out quite as much as cardio, it’s a great option for strength training your dog between cardio sessions as well as rehabilitating injured or aging dogs.
The Chase-It This one might require you to move some furniture around if you have a big dog or a tiny space but it’s so worth it if your dog has any kind of prey drive. In fact this is the first “game” that Elsa and Bardia participated in together. It’s irresistible to my guys. If we can get outside I swing it around so they can chase at full speed. Inside I either bounce it around sporadically so they have to hop and dodge or I just run through the house dragging it on the ground.
Agility. Many agility classes have indoor options for inclement weather or easily distracted dogs. Even if you don’t plan to compete, this is such a fun option for a hobby. Not only will it keep your dog on point during off seasons, but they will love it and you two will be closer than ever.
There you have it! Now, I’d love to hear, how do you keep your dog happy when stuck indoors?
About six months ago we reached a point where the long leisurely walks I had been taking Bardia on stopped being enough to quell his excess of energy. I’ve long been inspired by Aimee over at http://runningwithsam.wordpress.com/ so I decided to start my own regimen with the gang. It’s been a tremendous success for us so far so I wanted to talk a little bit about our experiences.Let me just start by saying it sucks…at first. Especially if you have crazy dogs like mine. I used to get so frustrated I would have to sit down on a park bench and count to ten before I could keep going. It took us months to really get into a groove and to this day it can take almost a whole mile for them to get out their crazies and for us all to match eachothers’ pace. But it gets really great, so don’t quit!Runner’s high: It’s a real and beautiful thing. And when both you and your dog get it, the bond you already shared is going to get even stronger. It’s also a very dangerous thing because you’re going to reach a point in your mileage where you don’t feel any pain. Seriously. Which means you, or your dog, could very well have an injury that you don’t notice while you trot on in ignorant bliss. Don’t let the high fool you into going extra miles that you aren’t ready for and fall victim to TMTS (too much too soon) syndrome. Some days it’s going to be hard to stop and you may want to head out on your “off” days but give your bodies breaks, especially when you are just starting out. Know your limits and your dog’s. Remember that you’re bigger than they are (usually) and what feels right for you may not feel right for them. This is where knowing your dog is really important. Take mental notes before and after every run. Learn to read the signs and act accordingly. Gear: The waist jogger that we use is the Buddy System (http://www.buddysys.com/). It’s really affordable and customizable with options for large or small dogs, reflective or non reflective nylon, and the option to add a “lunge buster” which is basically just a bungee that absorbs some of the shock when your dog pulls. Though I bought the longer leash for Elsa we ultimately went back to her regular leash. The Buddy System small dog leash was just too long and would get all tangled in my legs if she pulled back at any point. The regular dog leash with the lunge buster is just perfect for Bardia. It’s adjustable too so I can keep him closer if we’re running through town and let him run a little farther ahead when we hit the trails.
We use Ruffwear’s Approach Pack (http://www.ruffwear.com/Approach-Pack-Dog-Pack) on Bardia in cooler temperatures because the excess weight(we just put his pick-up bags in it PSA PLEASE PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOGS) tires him out a little more and also gives him a sense of duty which helps with the crazies I mentioned earlier. It utilizes the Webmaster Harness as it’s base so I know he’s nice and comfortable and secure in it as well. As for myself, I wear whatever is comfortable and for the most part moisture wicking. On my feet I wear Vibram five fingers.
Advice: Turn your headphones down. I know it can be rough to listen to your feet pounding but for your own safety and your dog’s, you need to be aware of your surroundings. That means oncoming vehicles, wild animals, your own breathing etc. I heard Elsa whimpering once and when I stopped to check her I found she had accumulated big snow balls under her belly and the cold must have been irritating her skin. I would have never known by how fast she was running, so I was grateful she let me know somehow.
Most importantly though, lighten up. You’re dog doesn’t care about beating your best pace, they don’t care if it’s raining or if the temperature is in the single digits. They just want to run with you. Enjoy it!
Elsa isn’t pictured because it was really muddy outside and she JUST had a bath. Ok fine, here’s one because she’s just the cutest.