Dogs days of early summer


June 3, 2011 by 8junebugs

Where Spike = Rodney + muscles + bravado – ennui, and Chester = Maggie, the almost-6-month-old mini white Schnauzer running Graham’s parents’ house:

And this is after we wiped him out at a barbecue, where he met two younger dogs and some pretty cool kids (he’s gotten better with kids, particularly kids who are packing baby carrots and peanut-butter-filled pretzels). Poor Rodney probably thought he’d get to sleep for two days after all that excitement; instead, we packed his crate and went over the Sierras for a couple of days at Grandma and Grandpa’s house…

…where the rules are different.

We’ve pretty much got Rodney trained not to bark in the house, not to beg at meals, and not to expect treats every time one of us walks in after an outing. (We’ve also got him trained on “up,” “lie down,” and “wait.”) But where d’you think he learned that last expectation? From the moment we arrived, it’s been a struggle to remind Grandma and Grandpa that

(a) constant treats are a no-no for a dog that the vet says could lose a pound or two,

(b) the humans are in charge, and

(c) dogs don’t speak English and will forget about the extreme injustice of unequal treat distribution within 30 seconds.

I’ve mentioned that we’re big Dog Whisperer fans, right? While we’re here, we’re walking Maggie and teaching her that (b) humans are in charge*. She’s responded well — I’ve never seen a dog not respond well to Cesar’s Way, although some take more convincing than others — and now thinks Graham is her leader and I’m awesome, too.

Rodney’s pretty pissed about that. Now that Graham has led Maggie in two walks, Rodney wants nothing to do with him and is getting all snugglepuppy with me at night. Which is cute, except that he’s a pillow hog.

Maggie, it turns out, is excellent at fetch and will play it until she falls over from exhaustion. Rodney does not usually care to fetch, although he’ll humor me sometimes. But when we’re here and Maggie is being awesome at fetch, he is ALL ABOUT THE FETCH. Eventually, though, he gets tired, guards me, steals the toy Maggie has dutifully fetched, and brings it to me himself.

We haven’t decided if this is strategic or just bratty. Either way, it’s kind of funny, as long as no one gets more than a playful or warning nip to the neck.

While here, Rodney also got a long-overdue haircut. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I laughed at him when we got him back — after more than two months without a trim, the effect is pretty comical. But welcome back to our Velvet Puppy! (All the peeps who thought he’d be wiry-haired and less soft, you should pet him now. Velvet. Seriously.)

*We don’t normally walk in to someone’s home and take over dog training. Parents are different…especially elderly ones who complain about their wild dog.


4 thoughts on “Dogs days of early summer

  1. Val says:

    Unfortunately, MY elderly parents think it’s “cute” that their 40-lb shep mix jumps up to give “hugs”. I’m terrified of the day that she knocks one of ’em over by accident, but on the occasion that I took Trudy back (yes of course I had given them this puppy originally), my mother begged incessantly until she was returned home…

    • 8junebugs says:

      Hey, Val! Yeah, we’re lucky Maggie will top out around 15 pounds. They’ve both asked us to trade Rodney for her…at least until she’s trained, I imagine. 😉

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Ah yes. I left Atlas with my parents while I ran to the walk-in clinic for steroids on a road trip back to Michigan years ago. My mother said not to worry, she’d give him breakfast. I came back to find that she had cooked him a pound of liver. Once when she came to visit, she made him a whole sandwich. It’s a wonder he didn’t leave me for her, LOL.

    • 8junebugs says:

      Wow. Just…wow. A whole sandwich?!

      What’s funny is that G’s mom has a tendency to comment on Rodney’s weight, complain that the kibble we use is high-calorie, and THEN give him daily treats. Oy.

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