July 19, 2011 Issue #12 Published by Sue Skiff
A NOTE FROM SUE
What should I write about, this week? That’s a good question. You know what? I think that I’ll let Emma write this e-zine. What do you think Emma? Would you like to write this e-zine? I’ll bet that you’ll do a great job! What do you say? Yes? Fantastic! Go for it, Emma!
Enjoy Emma's Musings!
THE SEVEN JOYS OF BEING A DOG – by Emma
I love being a dog. True, I have never been anything else but a dog. But, I have observed other species, and I have to conclude that there is nothing better than being a dog. We dogs have it made. We know what’s important. Humans think that they know what’s important, but they haven’t got a clue. I’ll tell you what’s important below, because, as a dog, I get a chance to enjoy these things all of the time.
Number 1: Loving and Being Loved
Simple enough. I love everyone, even the stupid cats that I have to share Sue with. I love meeting everyone that I see. I project my love on the people that I meet, and I rush up to other animals to meet them. Other animals don’t understand this. They run away. Why? Don’t they know that I have enough love to give to everyone? All right, I have to admit, I do like to run after them when they run, but they’re asking for it, right?
Number 2: Playing, playing, then playing some more
I think that covers it. If you are not sleeping or eating, then you should be playing. Period. Invite everyone else to play with you, too. Humans don’t know about play, except for kids. Why is that? Idiotic humans. Go play. I’ll teach you. Cats think that they know how to play, but they don’t. They don’t get it when I try to show them how to do it properly. They act like I am being rude.
Number 3: Eating whenever the opportunity presents itself
Eating is one of the great joys in life. Don’t you agree? I love to eat. Of course, I eat everything really fast, so that I will have time to eat more. Somehow humans don’t get that this is the reason for eating fast. They think that I have had enough when I clearly indicate that I’m ready for more. What’s with that? Some really great things to eat: meat, carrots, meat, cheese, fat, blueberries, anything our landlady is eating, meat, Sue’s leftovers, bones, cat poop, did I say meat? I think that eating is one of the best things about being a dog. Nobody knows how to appreciate food the way a dog does, and that’s a fact that I know from being a dog, and observing.
Number 4: Working like a dog
All dogs understand what this means. It’s simple, get at least 20 hours of sleep a day. This is hard work. You have to find the right spot, then get your bed all prepared, then find exactly the right position. Just getting ready to sleep makes me need a nap, which is fine, because that’s my intention, anyway. Then, of course I need to move to a new place to sleep every once in a while. One of the joys of being a dog is being able to sleep in lots of places, everyday. Cats understand this, too. I wish that I could sleep in as many places as cats can. That’s the only area where cats may have it made over dogs.
Number 5: Serving humans is the best
I like it when humans tell me to do things, usually. It is the biggest joy in being a dog; getting to do things for people. They appreciate it so much. It makes my tail wag just thinking of it.
Number 6: Going for car rides
It doesn’t matter the reason for going in the car, or the destination. Being in the car means that you get to be really close to your human, and that you get to feel the wind in your face. It means that you get to see lots of people and dogs. Oh, and if it leads to a great hiking spot, or to a friend’s house, then all the better!
Number 7: Going for walks.
Yes, this is such a fantastic thing to do! All of the smells that you encounter on a walk make walking worthwhile by themselves. It brings such bliss to take in those smells! Poor humans, they just don’t know about smells. What’s wrong with them? They have big enough noses. I love to smell everything on a walk, but I also love the walks, themselves. They’re almost as fun as playing.
So, there you have it. If you are not a dog, you have my sympathies. However, if you try the above things, then you can still enjoy all the same joy that being a dog brings.
FOUR TIPS TO HELP YOU TO TRAIN A HUMAN – by Emma
Sue always writes articles on dog training, or on dog behavior. I think that it’s only fair to write an article on training humans. I mean, really, it’s not a one-way relationship, this dog-human partnership, after all.
Tip 1: Be cute
This is simple for most of us dogs. I try to be cute as much as possible. Sue says that even my behavior is cute, so I think that I am getting it right. Being cute really helps when you are ordering food from landladies. It also helps when you are telling people to pet you. In fact, if I had only one thing up my sleeve (if I had a sleeve), to use to get people to give me my way, it would be this one.
Tip 2: If they don’t get it, repeat your order
When endeavoring to get a human to do what you want, you will have to repeat yourself, a lot. Humans spend a lot of time teaching us dogs to understand their language. However, they don’t spend much time learning ours. So, you have to be plain, and repeat yourself. Keep letting them know what you want, until they get it. This works with most people. It may not work as well with dog trainers, unfortunately. Fortunately, most people aren’t dog trainers, so there are plenty of people around to practice this on.
Tip 3: Use positive reinforcement
Sue has already defined this, so I will just tell you what are the best reinforcers for dogs to use to let humans know that they did what you wanted them to do. The easiest reinforcer is tail wagging. I wag my tail when it looks like someone is going to give me the food that I ordered, and while receiving it. I also wag my tail when being walked to encourage further walking. Wagging my tail when getting attention helps insure that the attention will continue. Other reinforcers that work include; holding up a paw, a lick or two, and presenting yourself to be petted.
Tip 4: Don’t let on that you are training them
This is very important. Humans think that they always have to be the ones in charge. I do find that this is a relief. I am happy to let Sue be in charge. Still, if a human knows that you are training it, s/he might get upset. So, it’s best to be sneaky about it. This is usually easy, since, as I said humans don’t usually bother to learn much about our language.
Now, enough about that. It’s time to go play, or should I take a nap?
It’s part of life in the 21st century. You get the kids off to school, work all day, pick the kids up at daycare, make dinner, and collapse. But, what about the dog? How do you find the time to train it to be a good citizen? Maybe, you managed to get your dog into a puppy kindergarten class, and then a basic obedience class. But, you really didn’t have time to practice the way the instructor wanted you to, and now, well now, it’s all kind of fallen by the wayside.
You know that your dog can do better. Perhaps, your dog has some behavior issues. Whether or not they’re serious issues, they make your life harder, don’t they?
So, what do you do when you’re already stretched, and you know your dog needs more? The answer is “day training.” Day training starts with a meeting with me where you describe your dog training needs, and your dog’s behavior issues. I then come to your house for an hour or so, on agreed upon days, to train your dog. You get to get on with your life, while your dog gets training and attention from a professional. And, that training and attention is customized to your and your dog’s exact needs.
Maintaining what your dog learned is also built into the day training program. At the end of each week of training, I meet with you to go over what your dog has learned, as well as what you need to do to maintain the learning. After the agreed upon number of weeks has elapsed, I return for a follow-up or two, to make sure that you and your dog are on the same page, and everyone’s happy. For more information on day training, visit
my dog training website
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