Nurturing Good Doggy Manners With A Taoist Flow

Well, so, it was hot and humid, and Pika and I spent most of the day outdoors. I was thirsty, so figured she was too, and went in earlier and filled up a water dish for her, and glass of water for myself. Set out the dish in a shady spot. As the sun moved along my in between garden path, I refilled from the hose and moved it to another shadier spot.

I don’t know, maybe the tie-out bonged the metal of the bowl, or the reflections were different, but man oh man, she was like completely triggered by something. She kept barking and barking, and making very strange talky sounds I have never heard her make before. She was so so disturbed, really upset.

So I dumped the dish of water on the new shady perennial bed, and set the bowl away out of sight, and she stopped.

Once she couldn’t see it, she let out this little sigh and visibly relaxed.

After that strange growly talky thing she did, it dawned on me, that bowl had been Irish’s.


She was definitely upset, so maybe was the smell of Irish on the bowl? I had washed it, but, well. Something spooked her.

There was no obvious signs of things I can point to, really, of how she was after Irish died, back in late fall. Well, other than her full puppy energy and joie de vivre now laser focused on moi.

But, you know mom, that incident, it kinda sums up my sense of this little being, this companion o’mine. She is… um… she is an interesting little doggo.

I’ve walked her every day for almost 2 weeks now. Nice long walks… at a brisk pace.

We’ve explored, gone to places she’s never been… places I haven’t been even for a bit. New experiences, new challenges, new sights and sounds, of lawns, meadows, forests, asphalt pathways winding along the river, or the left, right, left, right through the city on sidewalks, new neighbourhoods, from busy streets to quiet lanes, and paths that follow the curve of the river.

I know the end result I desire, for her. The sort of doggo I would like her to become. The doggy I know she will be. You know, when to bark, how long to bark, how to walk, how to behave, how to deal with other dogs, new people, strangers, friends, all that kind of thing. Self-confidence, to compliment her feisty spirit.

She will be a year August 1st, so these sunny Spring days are her training grounds, forming her habits and character, who she is.

You know mom, its like I’m trying to just get her to understand… eh… like, chill out, go with the flow. Trying to get her to understand that we don’t need to bark at every dog we meet, that one can stroll past and give’em a friendly nod, and go on our way.

And she’s s getting it, and I’m so proud of her. Our long walk yesterday, she did just that, just breezed past every other dog, with nary a notice.

Well, now, course it could have been to that she was too exhausted and hot to be bothered, cause I got a bit lost in Old North… couple wrong streets, wrong direction (shut up mom), and ended up a 3-hour tour… there and back again.

Yesterday we met all kinds of dogs. Big ones, small ones, as we made our way down the North path along the river, and then out onto the quiet shady streets of Old North, and she just trotted along, nary a peep, just ignored them.

She’s like… with my hoooman… and I’m all that and a bag o’chips, stay out of my way.

She is smart, and she picks up on things very quickly I find, now that she’s grown up a bit.

Yesterday in the garden, think I got through to her with the barking and barking at everything, by changing my strategy. Not that she’s quiet, but that she’s listening, she’s trying. Well, failing a lot, but trying.

I’m good with that.

I’d saw on a YouTube channel on training a puppy, they mentioned changing the name you use when you’re correcting their behaviour. One name for her when she’s good, another when she’s bad… no confusion… and I think its working.

So, last couple days out in the garden have seen a gradual change. Cause to be honest I think the other challenge is language comprehension… in that dogs sometimes are not getting the gist of what we’re saying. I mean, they know the words, but the context when it’s not consistent confuses them.

I’m trying to teach her inside voice and outside voice kinda stuff. Bark a bit, and that’s sufficient. Enough.

I don’t mind barking, doggys of all shapes and sizes have to bark. Barking is what they do. Fine. Just, its-nay on the barky barky on and on and on like a lunatic.

So another word I’m adding to her Lexicon. ENOUGH.

Yesterday instead I said…. Pika-lou-lou, NO. No bark. And I’d also snap my fingers, or make a little weird noise to get her attention sometimes.

If she ignored me and went on a bit… Pika-lou-lou… Enough.

I also don’t yell, I’m not loud, I just use my regular tone, normal volume, no anger, just matter of fact and straightforward.

I also try to distract her… with the ball, or a little stick, something to focus her attention to something else, teach her to distract herself. And, again, that’s what she does. Yesterday she just barked a bit, I said ‘enough’, and she turned her back and chewed her foot.

She is a funny little dog though mom. I mean, she’s super smart, and she does pick things up sometimes almost, I don’t know, organically. Like, she gets the drift, and adjusts, folds it in to what she knows, and I am sometimes kind of astounded at her intelligence. I mean, Dixie dog level intelligence.

She is going through her you’re not the boss of me stage, and of course she’s all that and a bag of chips, trotting along the sidewalks by my side, little kicky-poo with her little bow-legs once in a while. She is learning to take her cues from me though… well, not to mention… I got the leash, and she’s attached to it whether she likes it or not.

So, with everything the way it’s worked out, I am taking advantage of all this time, moulding the wee lass into a good doggo, a smart lassie-lou, a pleasure to hang with, and a good neighbour too.

My method it to just go with the flow, adjust her behaviour on-the-fly, and so far so good.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.”

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

There is a big force inside that tiny body, a sparkly zest, a little dark chocolate surprise in a lot of ways.

Even her fur has a hidden aspect, in that you can’t see some of her markings but in the right light.

Its impossible so far to capture on camera, a subtle yet distinct darker streak of fur that runs down her spine, from the tip of her tail to her shoulder blades, and down her shoulders. But the other fur, its this sort of sable coat, with a slight lighter, darker more reddish brown at the tips, and a fuzzy coat under that.

She now has another beigey colour appearing, markings coming up the side of her shoulders, and along the bottom at her belly, outlining where the dark fur meets creamy white.

Actually, when I looked it up, the term is called Sable, and her fur is very much like German Shepherds coat markings. I remember Mogan’s was just the same.

When Mogs was a pup she looked like the Rottweiler, but as she got older, at around 8 months, her fur started to do the exact same thing, and she began to look more like the other part of her lineage, the German Shepherd. I learned at the time this is a Shepherd trait, that they don’t get their adult coat and markings till they’re almost a full year. So I’m thinking it must be a feature of a Sable coat, that it comes in later?

And that’s the other thing I find remarkable about her, as she really does have this combination of all my dogs, all the doggos I’ve had. Little things, but a kind of magical thing, a gift of little bits of those I have loved and lost.

Bit of ol’Jinx, a bit of the Doberman vibe, but with perky ears poor Jinx never could muster. The coat of Mogan, though in a gigantically smaller package. And, you know, even a wee bit of Irish… with a nod to her chin hairs, and of course her obstinate nature.

That strong sense of herself, yes, that too is something I love about her.

Maybe that is the thing, that I don’t see it as training, as much as guiding – well, least sometimes.

Certainly, other times it is just firm commands I want followed with no back-talk, just do it. And we are getting there.

The wee weasel gives me side-eye now… that’s my cue she hears my request, she’s acknowledging it, and we’re working now on the follow thru, you know… the shutting the fock up part. Or, the walking like a sane dog part.

Her other little quirk, is sometimes she has to hold the leash; you ain’t the boss of me. And… every once in while go bonkers, and whip her head back and forth and bounce around like a lunatic. Very amusing to fellow travellers wherever we happen to be, much hardy laughs at her antics here in the hood, and beyond.

Born of this pure joy, her love of adventure, of walks and being out and about… its like it overtakes her. Though, generally she does it on grass, she also does her bonkers bit just as we set out for the walk.

But, I just let her go at it… whatever… she settles down quick enough and off we go on our way… as she trots beside me at pace, her little bowlegs going a mile-a-minute, lickity-split, and back to a wonderful little walking companion.

Oh, she’s a wee wonder, a real gift. Thank goodness for her. With Irish gone, I couldn’t have known back in the fall what life had in store, but I am so thankful I have her.

Thank goodness for feisty little doggo’s, for she has helped me learn to go with the flow.

Here are some more pics of our adventures yesterday. Love the Old North, some of those houses…. em, em, em… beautiful neighbourhood.

Love your directionally challenged daughter,

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