Tricks, Treats & Scaredy-Dogs, OH MY

The weather changes make humans do strange things this time of year!  Why, just a few weeks ago random carcasses started showing up in the house and in the yards around the neighborhood where we walk.   Skulls, femurs, scrumptiously raw, bloody-looking things are all over the place.  It’s really quite confusing as none of these things smell the way they should and you would think I killed it by the way my guardian reacts whenever one of us canines finds these plastic-tasting bones. I’m beginning to think it’s all an elaborate ruse!  The worst part is that soon, there will be hundreds of frightening creatures coming to the door for hours on end.  My guardians…they OPEN the door!  Each-and-every-time!  When will they learn that this can be just plain dangerous?

I just don’t get it…around my house trick or treat is a simple training protocol.  We dogs do a few tricks (roll-over is my particular favorite) and we get a treat!  Simple!  There is no “or” and there are certainly no scary creatures, costumes or door bells involved.

Halloween dogs

As for the treat; in my world bacon is best – plain and simple – no buts about it (although a little rump roast – mmm, mmm, good!)   One of these years, the guardians will wise up and make sure we don’t have access to that stuff they hand out to the two-legged puppies.  Not sure what all this paper-wrapped, sweet-smelling stuff is all about (being in a bowl on the steps, well that just makes it easy pickings).  It doesn’t do much for my digestive system and makes for lots of extra clean-up in the yard for days-on-end.

The other two dogs that share my home feel the same.  Sugar, she’s almost 7. Oh, the barking & ridiculous amount of energy she expends over a silly doorbell ringing!  Of course, she’s a scaredy-dog.  Running to the guardians closet at the slightest sound of thunder and acting all goofy when she sees another dog out on a walk (or squirrel, or leaf blowing the wrong way…you know the type).  Then there’s Chopper…another story entirely!  This one thinks the whole world is here simply to lavish attention on him (little does he know most people take one look and turn the other direction – but that’s another blog entirely).  When the doorbell rings, one quick dash and he’s gone, baby!  Born to run!   We’re working on some serious doorway manners with him.

So, what’s a dog (or his human) to do?  Well, a few things I’ve learned to maintain my dogosophical existence during this horrifying event the two-leggers call “Halloween”:

  • Don’t chew those sparkly things that are on a string & attach to the walls!  (They come out in December too and may be interesting to look at, but they feel like those horrible collars that ZAP some dogs when they get too close to their territory line).
  • Leave the candy alone!  That stuff can be like poison…literally!  Stay far away and stick to the bacon.
  • The bloody-carcass looking goodies – plastic!  Don’t even bother (one of those stuck in your intestines makes for a not-so-fun trip to the vet!)
  • Don’t eat the costume!  Some humans put these goofy get-ups on us dogs.  We’ve got to humor them now and again – and while the outfits can be a nuisance, it’s all about avoiding that trip to the vet!
  • Stay away from the door!  My guardians make sure we furry residents have a safe place all night long.  I go to my crate, Sugar spends the evening in her closet, and Chopper (who loves to be a social butterfly) is on leash all night long.  (They also make sure we have proper ID tags on, and are microchipped just in case one of us slips by them and darts out into the dark and scary night).

Keep those tips in mind and have a safe Halloween!

Dogosophically yours,   Dino

A dogosophical beginning

This is all new to me, so I hope you’ll bear with my first few posts.  I spend most of my days doing something I love.  The kids are in school, husband at work, I am at home working with my dogs – or someone else’s dog.  People consider me a dog trainer, but the reality is that I let the dogs do the work.  They lead me in the teaching process.  I work by trying to get into a dog’s brain…what do they think? what are their motivations? why do they do the things they do?  By answering these questions, there isn’t a dog out there that needs to be “trained” with force, intimidation, pain or fear.

Rather than trying to “train” a dog, one should be thinking about how to motivate Fido and to help the pup understand what it is we want it to do and why it is important.  If we can accomplish that (not so) simple goal, we build a relationship.  We build trust, we eliminate anxiety, fear, insecurity.  We can live the way a dog does – without complications, without the need for “things”, wandering happily with a companion who can give unconditional love under any circumstance.  Strive to live a “dogosophical” life…a life of composure and calm in the presence of troubles, annoyances (and dog behavior problems).  I hope you enjoy reading from three dog’s points of view.