Tag Archives: Roger

Life is Good

Cochise
Cochise tells the tale

It is Sunday. On Sundays NiceLady fixes a special breakfast that we all get to share in. Something yummy. Then HairyFace and NiceLady go to church and we dogs take a nap. When they get back we get to spend the rest of the day with both of them. That’s a treat because most days Lady goes away to work for nearly all of the day. That’s life as a People, she says. We are excited to see her again, and we miss her while she’s away. Not on weekends. Life is great on weekends. Saturdays tend to busy with chores, but HairyFace takes us on a truck ride. Blondie and I love truck rides! On Sundays Lady and Hairy rest up and spend extra time with us.

It’s getting chilly today. Earlier the wind was blowing hard, not so much now, but rain (maybe snow) is moving toward us. I can tell.

When HairyFace and NiceLady got home from church, they let Blondie and me out in the yard, then Roger, then Hairy brought in a big pile of firewood and built us a crackling fire. It’s nice and warm in here now.

I have a cushy, warm bed to lie on. HairyFace gave us a brand new hoofie to break in. I got first crack at it this week …

Earlier this morning, HairyFace was talking with a friend about pets, and freedom, and trade-offs. His friend took in a feral tom cat who turned out to have feline leukemia. Mike is providing hospice service for “Buddy” by allowing him to live in their basement (away from their other cats) but in some mighty cushy digs of his own. It’s been 13 months now and Buddy is still going strong. He and Mike have developed a close bond too. Mike’s workshop is in the basement and he spends a lot of time down there. They go out for walks in the yard (sometimes Mike has to carry Buddy), but Buddy has not made any attempt to run off. Mike was wondering if Buddy missed his feral life style: if he ever felt imprisoned.

Most of the foster dogs we take care of were picked up as strays. Some were (judging by their condition) living wild for quite some time (and not doing very well at it). When we take them in, most have no idea of “house manners”, so they have to learn from us everything they need to know to be adoptable.

Do they (we – for I was a stray once myself) miss running wild? Yes, some do. But most of us come to recognize that having a home where we have proper shelter, regular meals, toys, and someone who genuinely loves us (and who we can love in return) is much better than running wild and alone.

Some, including Blondie (aka Houdini), will sometimes slip away for an adventure, but they come back home when they get tired or thirsty or hungry. We know when we have it good. Life is much better in a home, with good peoples, than out in the wild. Even Roger agrees with that, he just wants to write his own rules!

Crating and Free-Play

Cochise
Cochise tells the tale

One of the things foster dogs do as they transition from crate training to house training is to get some supervised free-play time in the house. They still get time in the yard too, but we add house training to teach them to behave in a people house. There are more rules to house play than there are to yard play.

Roger has done well with his crate training. He rarely gets rowdy any more and he fusses only when he needs to go outside. He can go from the crate to the door and back without a leash, and he goes right in his crate to get his cookie. He has watched Blondie Bear and me being house dogs and has taken notes. He is still energetic, but more controlled. Sometimes he does play little games with Hairyface:

When Roger arrived here, he came with a treasured toy: Remington the Duck. A volunteer had given it to him while at the shelter. They told Hairy that Roger loved that toy so much that when they would go in to clean his run and dish up food, Roger would snatch up his duck and sit watching them with the toy clenched in his teeth, “This is my duck. You can take anything else, but not my duck.” So when they sent Roger here they sent Remington along with him.

Sometimes in free-play time they play “Retriever” (a.k.a. Fetch the Duck) and sometimes Roger just wants to play Duck-Slayer:

Even though it looks like he’s being really rough with it, the toy is perfectly intact. Roger will take our plush toys and try to rip them up (the Peoples stop him) but he never damages Remington.

These free-play times are getting longer as Roger learns to be self-controlled. He will always be energetic — that’s just Roger. But as he learns to behave well, and can show that his house-breaking is holding, he will get more and more time out of his crate. The goal is to get him to where he only goes to his crate when he wants to during the day and confined there only at night.

crate training
This silly Snoozer is obviously comfortable with his crate.

To those who think that crating a dog is cruel and unusual punishment: you could not be more wrong. If crate training is done properly, our crate is a safe-haven, a space all our own. I loved my crate while I was being house trained, and insisted on sleeping there for a long time afterward. Eventually I abandoned that for a snuggle bed, but I never viewed my crate as punishment. You have your bedroom, I had mine. That’s the way most of us feel.

Being comfortable in a crate, even if not used all the time, can also be a benefit to you if you decide to take us traveling with you. We may not be as welcome to run freely in a relatives home. If you leave us in a motel room while you go for breakfast, a crate will avoid any unfortunate surprises when you get back.

Roger does not think of his crate as punishment. He is delighted to come out and play, but when free-play time is over, he is just as willing to go back to his big blankie, his chew toys, Remington, and a cookie (for being a good boy). He knows if he fusses, he will be allowed to go outside, so it is not imprisonment. It’s just part of being a house dog.

A Call for Help

Cochise
Cochise tells the tale

Roger got fussy around 5:30 this morning. Hairyface and I were up, the girls were in bed. Hairy let Roger out of his crate and took him to the door. Roger ran down the steps and out of sight.

A short while later Roger was back at the door. Hairy opened the door to let him in, Roger bolted back down the steps. They repeated this 4 more times before Hairy put on his shoes and went out to see what was going on.

Roger ran to the water bowl in the yard and began licking … the ICE. It was 26° outside, the bowl was frozen over, and Roger was thirsty after being in his crate all night.

HairyFace brought out a bowl of fresh water for him, Roger drank most of it then went off to do his business in the dark.

The next time he came to the door Roger was ready to go back to his crate and get a cookie.

Roger_Calm in his crate 160101 800x450Then we all settled back into our early morning activities. The girls were sleeping, Roger remained awake but sat quietly, Hairy resumed studying, and I began a detailed inspection of the interior of my eyelids.

We Wish You a Doggy Christmas

Cochise
Cochise tells the tale

Even though it is Christmas day, HairyFace returned to his habit of getting up at 4:00 AM and studying. He has been forgoing that so Roger would not get all riled up, thrash about in his crate and wake up the whole household. Roger has been calming down, so we thought we’d give it a try today. I always get up when HairyFace does. Well, almost always.

Roger being good Christmas morning.

Roger did VERY well! He did wake and stand up as we came down the hall, but when HairyFace bypassed his crate with just a “Good morning, Roger!” he laid back down and napped some more. He stayed quiet until NiceLady and Blondie joined us and HairyFace started breakfast: poached eggs, ham and fried taters – from our garden. Yumm! I like all those things.

HairyFace and NiceLady always give us Christmas gifts. This year HairyFace decided to wrap them so we could join in the fun of opening presents. We found that a little … confusing.

Swapping Christmas giftsAfter a while of chewing hoofies, Blondie and I swapped: just to make sure what she got wasn’t better than mine and what I got wasn’t better than hers. Once we were satisfied as to the overall equity of our gifts we swapped back.

Roger worked on his steadily for a quite a while, then had to take a break to let his jaws cool off. He napped for a bit, went outside with NiceLady for a relief break, then went back to chewing.

Cochise as a Christmas giftWhen I got tired of chewing, I decided to go be a Christmas gift, now that there is room under the tree. We’ll skip that wrapping paper though, if you don’t mind!