Archive for October, 2009
It’s the rainy season in Seattle (for the next nine months or so), and Tasha loves to be outside in the cool and damp weather. Often, she comes in the house soaking wet and stinky. As a necessity and a reward, I rub her down thoroughly with a towel, and she wiggles and squirms with pleasure. All the time that I’m drying her off, I tell her that she’s a “Wet Dog!” I think it makes her feel special.
After coming in the house wet a number of times in a row, I realize that it’s in Tasha’s Golden Retriever character that she actually loves to be wet. As a Golden, her coat is designed to have an oily undercoat, with which she actually dries off in a short amount of time.
But I know that Tasha often comes in the house as a wet dog, just so she can get dried off. It’s a ritual of ours, and of course she gets a biscuit after her rub down. She expects the whole treatment.
Sam is my nephew, and Eli is his horse. They are quite an impressive team, as you can see in the picture. They live with my brother and sister-in-law in Davis, California.
The family used to have a horse named Jack, but Sam got so good at riding and jumping, that he needed a spunkier horse. Now he and Eli are best buddies.
Sam goes to the stable at least once a day, spending hours cleaning the stable, brushing Eli, and of course, riding. The two of them have won many prizes, and they continue to go throughout the state entering contests.
Before Eli, Jack was my niece’s horse. Amy was the rider in the family, but as she got older and more involved in other pursuits, Sam took over. Now he’s the main guy, and the family is lucky to have such a very special horse.
Tasha sleeps on my bed. For awhile, and for a number of reasons, I’ve been thinking of training her to sleep in her doggie bed instead. It’s not going to be easy. Tasha has claimed her half of the bed almost since I brought her home as a rescue. She might have been used to sleeping on a bed, although she was in an abusive household before I got her.
There have been plenty of mornings where I find Tasha’s paws in my face. Or, better yet, her head next to me on the pillow. Many people think that this is unacceptable behavior, and it’s time for me to get onboard.
For a short while, I tried to get Tasha to sleep elsewhere–any place but crowded next to me. It didn’t work, though, and I spent many sleepless nights telling her sternly to get OFF, OFF the bed!
Thinking back, I have always allowed my dogs up on the bed. When my husband and I had three dogs, it was crowded, but cozy. The dogs didn’t actually sleep on the bed, but they settled on the comforter whenever they could–especially if there was food involved.
I just got back Tasha’s dog bed from friends of mine. I loaned it to them when they were petsitting Tasha, assuming that she would find it vaguely familiar and would sleep in it. It didn’t work even then. Tasha snuck her way onto their bed. I was embarrassed about her behavior.
When I took it home, I thought that the bed would smell strong enough from their dogs that Tasha would be motivated enough to curl up in it. For a few minutes she sniffed, and, intrigued, she lay down in the bed, her chin on its side. I thought that if I could make her time in the dog bed stretch out longer and longer, she would feel comfortable enough to actually sleep in it through the night.
It’s going to be a long process to train Tasha not to jump up on my bed and claim it as her own. I’ve thought of putting my sleep shirt in the dog bed, along with some treats and her toys. I’ve thought about getting a dog trainer’s opinion. I’ve thought about staying up all night to keep her from jumping up. All of these ideas sound good on paper, but she’s spoiled and not likely to give up soon. My bed is hers, but it’s time to reverse the situation, if I can watch her disappointment and confusion, and not feel guilty in the process.