SAY WHAT?!

When I first brought Tippy home, almost 7 years ago, I filled her water bowl up from the faucet outside the garage.  When she got thirsty again that day, she walked right up the faucet and looked at me, expectantly.  I turned on the faucet and she started drinking straight the spigot.  She has been doing that ever since.

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I need a drink!

One of the things I have taught her is to “Say Please” when she wants a drink – that is to sit politely and wait.  One reason I want her to do that is that the sun shines on that area of the garage and the first bit of water coming out can be hot.

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May I have a drink, please?

This past summer I had to have my air conditioner worked on.  The man finished, and was standing at the door of his truck righting up the bill when Tippy decided she wanted a drink.  I said, “Say please.” like I always do, without thinking about it.

I noticed the repairman move and the look on his face was priceless.  It was a “Say what?” moment.

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Umm. Just exactly what do I need to be asking for politely?

I don’t know what was going through his head, but I’m pretty sure he thought I was telling him to say please for some netherious reason.  He did immediately realize I was talking to Tippy, but I had a good laugh about it after he left.

I have since been more mindful of my surrounds when giving Tippy commands.

 

RUNNING WITH THE WRONG CROWD

As with people, dogs can get into trouble when they run with the wrong crowd, or should I say, the wrong pack.  Tippy found this out a couple of weeks ago.  We had gone for our walk in the neighbor’s field and she disappeared before we got back.  She does this sometimes, but always comes back within 10 to 15 minutes.  I figure she can’t get into too much trouble in that short period of time.  However, on that day, the neighbor called to let me know that he had seen Tippy and the neighbor’s two Pit Bulls barking at his cows. Uh oh!

He was actually very nice about it and said he didn’t think they would do any harm, but he had three new calves and they were aggravating the mom’s to death.  He asked me to keep Tippy up for a couple of weeks, until the calves are better able to take care of themselves.  He also told me that he has had problems with those Pit Bulls for over two years.  I have since learned that they run the horses that belong to their owner.  That’s not good.

So, for over a week now, Tippy has either been inside, tied out, or on leash.  She’s not happy.  I feel bad for her and wish I could make her understand why she isn’t allowed to run free.  If I could, I’m sure she would chose freedom over hanging out with the other dogs.

Yesterday, I’m convinced the Pit Bulls came by for a visit and she really wanted to go out to play.  Here is what I saw and heard.

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I think I see my friends. Can I go out to play?
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Please, mom. I really want to go out.
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In case you didn’t hear me, I REALLY WANT TO GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!
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Fine! I guess I’ll just have to take a nap!
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Naps over. Maybe the stare down will work.

When that didn’t work, so she made one last ditch effort.

I did eventually take her out for a nice walk, but only after I was sure that the Pit Bulls had moved on.  I have figured out a way to let her get some running in with little potential for “escape.”  I drop the leash, throw a treat, which she will run to retrieve and devour, then run back to me and sit down to wait on the next treat to be thrown.  This has the added bonus of working on her recall.  Sure wish I had made that a priority when she was a puppy.

Just a few more days and I will let her have more freedom.   Living on a farm, I hate to have to keep her restrained – especially since she’s used to being able to run free and she has so much energy.  But, having grown up on a farm, I also understand that she can’t be allowed to aggravate the cows.  For a long term solution, I am researching GPS dog collars that will allow me to keep track of her when she is out of my sight. Maybe that will keep us both from getting into trouble in the future.

Tippy and I wish you all a very happy and trouble free 2018!

 

BARK FOR LIFE 2017

This past Sunday, Tippy and I participated in our local Bark For Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.   The turn out was pretty good, about 18 teams of dogs and their humans, considering this was the first “Bark” in our county.  We plan to make this an annual event, so hope it will grow as more people find out about it.

Since it is close to Halloween, there was a costume contest.  Tippy has no costumes and I’ve been very busy, so I made her one at the last minute.  Do you know what she is?

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Mom, this costume is puzzling.

I thought it was cute, but apparently the judges liked the bought costumes better.  LOL

We had a “Strut Your Mutt” parade where we all took a couple of laps around the track while the judges scored the dogs for awards to be given later.  Afterwards, we had fun activities for all of the participants. We were able to show off tricks, compete in vocal performances (best bark), had a doggie limbo, jumped through hoops, licked peanut butter off of a spoon, and found hidden treats.  Tippy was the first one to find a hidden treat and, of course, won the race to lick the peanut butter spoon clean.  She was also one of the two dogs that jumped through all 3 hula hoops and crawled under the lowest limbo setting.

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All gone.

Tippy got along with most of the other dogs.  She did growl some, but I’m pretty sure most of that was a play growl and not trying to be mean or anti-social.

We had a great time and are already looking forward to next year.  I need to come up with new tricks for her to do though.  Any suggestions?  Right now, she does the basic stuff:  sit, down, roll over, crawl, and high five.

After all of the judges votes were in, Tippy won 3 prizes:  1st – Best Tail Wag, 2nd – Best Trick, and 1st – Fundraising.  With her awards and the goodie bag everyone got, she had quit the haul.

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Mom, Look at all of the stuff I got!

 

I love the Pet Album.  Tippy loved the squeaky toys.

I think she had a good, tiring day.

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All lined up in a row.

 

MAKING ME A BETTER PERSON

Resting after a walk

One of the things I am working on with Tippy is to NOT pull when she is on the leash.  She weighs 65 pounds and is as strong as an ox.  If I let her pull, she could potentially pull me down or get away from me in a dangerous situation.  To keep this from happening, if she starts to pull, I will stop and call her to come back and sit beside me until she settles down.  We continue with our walk, and, if she pulls again, we repeat the process until she can walk with no pulling.

One day, a couple of weeks ago, I had taken her out for her morning constitution before getting ready for a day of substitute teaching at a local day care/preschool.  I was sort of in a hurry, but she started pulling.  I know that she had caught a whiff of something that had been out the night before, but that is no excuse. Being in a hurry, I was tempted to just let it go, but knew that I needed to be consistent.  We started the training session described above.  After the fifth time of calmly calling her back to sit by me, having only gone about 10 steps, I said to her:  “What are you doing?  Trying to teach me patience for my day with the children ?”

Then it hit me!  That was exactly what she was doing.  If I could be calm and patient with her, I could be calm and patient with the children. I don’t have to get frustrated when they don’t listen the first time.  I still need to get them to mind, but in a more calm, assertive way.  This is just one example of how Tippy has made me a better person and a better teacher.

Do you have a story of how your dog/pet has made you a better person?  If so, I’d love to hear it.