We've recently undergone several sad events in our personal lives concerning our dogs. While we wish that our canine companions could stay with us forever, they are Seniors now and have begun to succomb to old age and they've moved on to the Rainbow Bridge. We have lost Halo, Rashia, and Gilligan within the past few years and Tessa and Moose are getting up there as well. While we all wish they could stay with us forever, they can't...and while they've lived with us for years upon years, they've left their footprints on our hearts and it hurts when they leave us. And if you've had an animal for that long, you know what all this feels like and it should be addressed, because it's a fact of life and it's important.
With the warmer weather approching, we might want to take our dogs along with us for a ride to the local pet-supply store like we did when they were younger. Sometimes, just because, not because we had to; it was so that they can get out of the house too (yes, dogs really do like that, some of them anyway). But we're finding that our Seniors can't climb up in the car (or as in our case, truck) and we have to help them. We find that they're not too keen on taking a trip around the entire store as they tire out easily and sometimes, the urge to potty arises and they don't make it outside...they're not pups anymore, even if they love the attention that they get because they're well behaved...our own dogs are our on best ambassadors, but in the end, they're still dogs...even if we think they're pretty awesome! Moose doen't get around so well and had retired from the training ring and Tessa barely lasts an hour or so of being our official Demo dog when we travel to Expos, so she too is retired from public life. We wonder if they miss it? Kim says that they're both at the door wanting in to see the new visiting dogs when they come for lessons or consults, so clearly, they're still interested in helping out.
So we have to keep the store visits very short or perhaps we just visit a short trip to a drive thru for an ice cream treat or some chicken nuggets (they don't get those often and its a big deal when they do).
And when we get them home, we have to help them out of the vehicle and help them to the house and they sleep...hard. For a week to ten days, it feels like. So, then we don't take them out anymore, because it's too hard on them and we have to wonder if they miss it? We do, so why not them too? We're sure they do.
Stairs have become a challenge and now they sleep downstairs without us. Sometimes when we awaken in the morning, usually one of two things happens...we have to rush out and get them outside so that they can relieve themselves...or we have a bit of a mess to clean up. We can't get mad at them...there was no one to tell, was there? Still it's aggravating to clean up a pee or poo mess first thing, even before we get to go ourselves. So, we find that we have to re-train them and more importantly, re-train ourselves...the dinner time is more strict and the water gets brought up instead of being out all night. It's the little things that make the difference. We learn that we have to take them out more often...even when it's cold outside or raining...they don't want to be out in that weather either...so we take them out in a rush and stand out there with them because they're our friend and friends stick together...but more importantly, studies have shown that our dogs look to us when they relieve themselves to help keep them safe...a throw back from ancient pack days? Maybe?
We've also learned that a change in diet is indicated as is a new monthly purchases of medications and suppliments. They get comfier beds and several warm blankies if they want them...this stuff gets expensive but we make sure that our animals are well cared for, sometimes better than we are.
And we do all this because they're our dear friends...
You were a train wreck when we first met
Snarling and thrashing, threatened by my very presence.
I approached slowly
So that you would know
That I am your friend. And I love you.
Time it took to gain your trust
That and loads of treats and soothing words.
Being petted certainly didn't hurt either
You came to understand
That I'm your friend. And that I love you.
I see more white in your black fur now
Treats are softer and so is my touch.
I see the pain in your eyes and you know
That I understand
Because I am your friend. And I love you.
I know that I must release you soon
It hurts my heart and soul to think about.
You'll hear my voice and feel my tender touch
And sweet release you'll swiftly find
Because you're my friend...and I love you.
Copyright 2017 Kimberly McNally
Training Tip Of The Month
Ever wonder why your dog seems to blow you off sometimes when you’re calling him or her and how to fix that? We hear time and time again, “My dog listens to my kid more than me!” This is why: Moms and Dads generally have to be the ones who do icky things, like give baths, and administer medications…and let’s face it, those things aren’t FUN (for neither of you)!
The problem is two-fold actually:
- Name recognition isn’t really there
- You’re not as interesting as whatever (or whoever) s/he is fixated upon
Being interesting to a dog isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to find out what your dog really likes. What do you like to do with your dog? Chances are, if it involves a physical activity for the both of you, s/he’ll like it. Maybe your dog loves to play tug or fetch? Call to your dog and show him/her the toy. Really get into it, and be genuine about it…Fido *IS* going to know if you’re faking it by the tone of your voice and your body language. The object here is to creating a lasting and loving bond between you and your dog. Kids are really good at this simply because they love to play. As adults, a lot of us forget how to play and have difficulties in this area.
How to fix:
Get your clicker and treats and go someplace where your dog isn’t easily distracted. Call your dog’s name (doesn’t have to be loud, and really, it shouldn’t be). When s/he looks at you, click and treat. When your dog is looking at you 100%, toss a treat out past your dog and call his/her name while the treat is still in the air. When he looks at you, click (he’ll get the treat from the floor). Repetition (and patience) is the key!
Have a safe and fun Spring from Dan, Kim and the Doggie-staff at Spring Canine!
Also, if you haven't already found us on Face Book, you can find and LIKE us at Spring Canine Academy