Below is a copy of a Post from April 2015. Reading that Post, and reflecting on Ray’s life journey with us, I had to conclude that the recipe for having a happy home with a dog in it, is no different now than what it was when I wrote that Post. I guess we all (includes Ray!) learned well in those first two years together.
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This Post was not planned as such (I usually write Posts a week in advance so I always have a small number “in the bank” if needed!) however, we do have a development regarding the incident (lack of!) with the bag of dog biscuits* which I thought should be noted as early as possible.
The other lunch time, we went through our usual discussion about what to have for lunch and as none of the “regulars” sparked any excitement, we were considering options when Carol mentioned that we had a can of sardines in the cupboard. Voila! Sardines on toast! Problem solved.
She got the can out of the cupboard and immediately became Ray’s best friend! He was reaching up and pushing his nose right up against it. These cans do not seem to have changed in years because this one was exactly how I remember them in England a lifetime ago. They are a kind of oval shape (rectangle with rounded corners would be more accurate) with a section that pulled/rolled back to reveal the contents. This can was then wrapped in some kind of paper.
Not wishing to overstate the obvious, but to get into that can, you have to break through the wrapping, and then pull back on the lid which involves some effort as it does, after all, form an airtight seal on the can.
Ray displayed such an exceptional amount of interest in that can that we must conclude that he knew something really good was in there. I don’t suppose for one moment that he was thinking sardines, but likely something really, really, REALLY, yummy!
Here’s the reason for this Post! If he can pick up the scent of food through wrapping paper and a well-sealed can, he can obviously pick up the scent of biscuits through a bag. He could have so easily reached that bag; taken it off the table; gone into his den or somewhere else in the kitchen, and devoured the complete contents. Why didn’t he?
I cannot think of any explanation other than he knew he shouldn’t. He certainly gets excited when we give him one of those biscuits so it’s not as if they were really low down on his choice of treats. What a “guy”!
Those of you who have read most of our Posts (Ray’s antics + my writing = team work!) will realize just how far he has come in the two years that he has lived with us. For the benefit of recent Blog Followers, and to Followers who have not had the experience of a dog, the recipe was quite simple:
Be patient – Rome was not built in a day! Ray is still a “work in progress” after 2 years.
Be respectful – He may be “only a dog” but his mentality is similar to a human 3 yr old and so was treated as such. I like the saying “If you wouldn’t do it to a child, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it to your dog.” A great answer to many training questions.
Get educated – We asked lots of questions; listened to the answers and applied them.
Love him – He wanted to feel appreciated just like us. That entailed the “tough love” concept which meant occasionally “separating him” from his actions. i.e. We didn’t always love what he did, but we could still love him for who he is.
Finally, we never let him feel that he was not part of our family. The more affection he showed towards us, the more comfortable we were responding to him and the end result is that he has become a “huge cuddle”. He still occasionally likes his space but then don’t we all?
*Related Post “Bag of Biscuits “ – Apr 23, 2015
Footnote: Browsing through the Comments on those old Posts, I had to smile at the familiar names there. Thanks so much “guys”, for staying on this journey with me and Ray.