Archives for posts with tag: Dogs

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We can learn so much from watching our dogs enjoy themselves outdoors

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They know no comparison, or criticism

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They move their little bodies with confidence and curiosity

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They are in touch with the earth, they let the grass tickle them and mud cake their feet.

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They smile

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They are present

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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.

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She also loves to wipe her eye boogers on me.  It’s gross.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  DSC_0415

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.DSC_4988Let 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!DSC_4992Runner’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.  DSC_5040Gear: 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.

DSC_5100Advice: 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!DSC_5061

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.      DSC_5116

Today I woke up to the best text message anyone who hates their job can receive, “No need to come in today”.  One peek outside revealed a world that looked like thisDSC_4916this DSC_4912and thisDSC_4915 I love a good snow day.  Slow lazy mornings, drinking sweet milky tea in my pajamas, with my two best pups curled as close to me as they can possibly get.  We thought about heading outdoors…DSC_4749We bundled up, and tested out the waters,016

But playing inside seemed like a much better idea 😉DSC_4838DSC_4856This damn frog has been around since Elsa was about 4 months old.  It was a gift from our old Landlords.  It’s the rattiest, stinkiest toy in the house so naturally it is a favorite of them both. DSC_4832DSC_4854And of course, we did lots of laying around.  DSC_4772 DSC_4823 How did you all enjoy your snow day?

I have a confession to make.  I used to be one of those people to say, “I’m not that big a fan of small dogs”.  Pretty unfair of me considering most of the dogs I knew and loved growing up were small dogs.  That’s probably where my issue stemmed from though.  Lap dogs were great for petting and picking up, but I often felt like I was missing out on some great adventure reserved for those who shared their lives with big, sporty dogs.  I was so envious of the neighborhood kids I would romp through the woods with, their trusty black Lab always in tow, the families who took their dog camping, the man who walked his Shepherd on the beach every morning of every Summer.  Wasn’t that the joy of  dogs?   To run and swim and hike and play?

I brought my childhood dog, Pookie, a Yorkie-Poo to the beach once and the poor thing got so scared when I put her  down that she just ran as fast as she could down the shoreline, heading nowhere.  Of course, on her stubby little legs she was easy to overtake and shaking like a leaf when I scooped her up.  I held her close to me, while we waited on the street for my mom to pick us up.  Her heart rate slowed down to a normal pace and she settled against my chest in a warm gratitude for saving her from the fear to which I myself exposed her.  I loved that little dog so much and it took until that moment to realize that the joy of her wasn’t in what she did or didn’t do.  It was just in knowing her and loving her and having her as a part of my life.  I wasn’t sad because she didn’t like hiking and swimming, I was sad because I had to do those things without her.  Because I liked her company, and I wished she could always be present.  You see, the thing about small dogs, the really incredible thing, whether they’re athletes or not (and God knows they can be- I’m looking at you, Elsa) is that they really know what they’re doing in the lap dog department.  They were literally bred to be pets.  Do you understand what that means?  It means that their job is to love you and be loved and cuddled and doted upon.  It didn’t matter that Pookie never joined us on any outdoor excursions because she was there every evening when I returned home, ready to rain kisses and settle into the crooks of my legs.

To this day, if I’m sick or sad, Elsa goes into overdrive.  Ever see a dog on point?  Ever watch a Border Collie herd?  That’s the sort of intensity with which she takes her comfort dog duties.  Like something is vibrating in her core, saying this is your moment, Elsa.  You’ve got this.   Then she wedges herself between my neck and shoulder, so close she’s practically under my skin, and lets out a little snerffle like she’s just fixed everything in the world.  And as far as I’m concerned, she has.

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