FAQ on everyday life with my dogs



"How can you look so sincerely happy with your dogs after each run, no matter what?", "Do you EVER get mad at your dogs?", "How can you stop your dogs from destroying things, chasing joggers, barking etc. without using punishment?"

Those are some of the questions that I'm getting by mail that I will try to answer today. Let me start with the story that made a great affect on me when I was a kid. My mother is a teacher and she once gave a homework to her 8-year old pupils to write about what makes them sad. I read some of their answers and one of those little kidos wrote that it makes him sad when he comes home all dirty, after playing with his friends in bad weather, because his mother gets so angry with him. He went on with how he sneaks into a bathroom and trys to clean his shoes and clothes etc. It made me just sooo sad... Well after the ere of washing machine discovery, somebody can still make her kid sad by getting angry over dirty clothes! You can ask my mother: those washing machines can survive lots and lots of mud. Or ask anybody who ever saw me on a rainy competition!:)

I know that most parents don't get angry over so banal things, but I still believed that some of this stupidity comes with adulthood. For example, my mother is one of the most patient people I know, but still, she couldn't laugh with me at my my-whole-world puppy Aiken, my biggest-ever-wish-fulfilled, after he destroyed a shoe or chewed on a chair... Even though he was SOOO cute! I decided then that I never want to grow up if being a grown up means you can't see the cuteness of a 10-week old Samoyed puppy, eating a shoe. Or if it makes you angry over things like some mud on the trousers...

And well, my washing machine still has lots of work with all that mud and I still laugh at my dogs, being dogs, years didn't make me stop laughing. The funniest is Bi when she gets to some paper or cartoon or plastic bags - those are her "top 3" materials - and makes the tiniest little pieces out of them. And when you walk into the room, she is standing there, at the middle of all the mess, with the biggest smile possible all over her face, with such a satisfied, fulfilled expression that it just cracks me up! Sometimes I think she does that just to make me laugh. I have this suspicion because sometimes, when I come home and she doesn't have anything to show, she frantically starts to surf counters for some decoration material. Of course, I tell her not to do that, but she knows me too well to ever be fooled that I really think so. Gosh, I laugh already just writing about that face of her!



I guess that pretty much answers a question on what I say to destroying: I make sure the important things are in the drawers or closets - and I laugh whenever something changes shapes... Luckily, our furniture doesn't look too tasty to the puppies, so neither of them tried to chew on it, maybe I need to get them a wooden chair or something!:)

They also never showed any wish to chase joggers, bicyclists, deer or rabbits. My Samoyed was a passionate hunter and it's not a nice thing if you love hiking with the dogs in nature, so shepherd breed seemed a safer solution when it comes to deer and other animals. Building a good recall and keeping them animated on the walks helps too.

And that pretty much answers all the questions: either what my dogs do make me laugh, either they don't do it because they either just don't - or I make sure they can't (by keeping all the important things in drawers and all the food very high or in closets). So no, my dogs never make me mad. Well, I have to admit that when they roll in something stinky, I tell them all loudly and clearly that I'll sell them all - but they do know it's just a joke: they know I know they're just dogs and I love them the way they are.

So no, they can't make me mad with things like that - and even less I could ever get angry because of what they do on agility course. Afterall, it's my responsibility! So yes, I actually am happy after every run - there is always something good to be happy about and if something isn't perfect, it is just a new idea for a training. Yeah, we don't take agility all that seriously.

Also, a quick answer to a question on why I have females only: simply because in order to get a better chance to have a PyrShep, small enough for medium class, female is a safer choice. And as I already had two non-spayed females, it was just logistically easier to get another female. I don't think they're better for agility or whatever, I just find it easier to live with females only as with a mixture of unneutered males and females in the same appartement:).