Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Top Ten Reasons Why Dog Teens Dogs are Better Than Human Teens

What adults see...

10.  Dogs grow up faster - learning the ropes and falling into line takes far less time for dogs than the learning curve we have for humans.  You'd think with those enormous brains, the human teen rate of learning should far exceed that of the family dog.  If you don't believe me, teach your dog to put away his toys.  Then tell your teenager to clean his room.  See who follows through faster, and with better reliability.

9.  Chew toys - I can order elk antler chews for all three dogs for under $30.  Teens want video games, iPads (not gonna happen), make-up, new clothes, iTunes cards, etc.  I can feel the cash being sucked from my wallet even now.  I remember the toddling days when the cardboard box holding the toy was far more fun than the actual toy could ever be.

**crickets chirping**

8. Quiet - Teen dogs don't chatter.  Never have, never will.  Oh, the quiet hours spent enjoying my dogs - puppies, teens, adults or seniors - all of which have been chatter-free!  Not a full minute can be spent with a teen without hearing blah, blah, blah about some kid at school, or some new incident.  And let's not forget about those one-sided phone conversations we're lucky enough to experience from the other room.  Squeals of disbelief and statements peppered with "like", "oh my God",  "I know", and "that's disgusting!"...

7. No lies - If a dog poops on the carpet, he doesn't pretend it didn't happen.  If he eats a full bag of pita bread, he'll bring you the empty, half-chewed bag.  If a teen does something wrong, he'll tell you it wasn't him, or the teacher didn't require that assignment to be turned in, or even that someone stole his binder at school.  The best one yet - that she didn't cut her own bangs, while they've clearly been butchered right down the middle.  She actually said someone must've cut them while she was sleeping!

6. Responsibility - If my dogs never earn the right to be left unattended at home, or to run off leash, it's really OK.  There's always the crate and the leash.  If my teen can't be trusted to stay home alone and not get into mischief, I can't watch her forever.  And when she's old enough to go into the world on her own, I can't leash her.  The leash is just too short...

5. Back talk - Dogs don't back talk.  They don't have attitudes.  They don't pout.  They don't slam doors.  Now God forbid my teen back talks or slams doors, but there's no shortage of attitudes or pouting around here.  Yuk.  If the dogs are unhappy, they just find something new to do, or take a nap.  I've never received a haiku about how unfair something is from my dog.  I can't say the same for my teen.  See reason #2.

So full of woe!

4. Behavioral consequences - When a teen dog misbehaves, you have a few options.  You can crate her, you can redirect her away from something undesirable, you can distract her with training.  I've never once been able to redirect my teenager away from being passive aggressive with a shiny new squeaker toy, or stopped her from leaving dirty laundry on the floor with a few pieces of salmon jerky and a "sit, stay".  And she just won't shut up when I put her in the crate...

3. No break-ups - Dogs don't date.  Sometimes they pine, sometimes they hump, but they simply don't date.  There's nothing sweeter than a dog following after the object of his affection, just trying to play bow his way into her heart.  The same cannot be said for human teens.  Seeing boys' names enshrined in red hearts drawn all over binders and notebooks just makes me nauseous.  And the long phone chats analyzing something "he" said meant, drives me to drink.  If you don't go anywhere, are you really "going out"?!

Double shot, please...

2. No drama - For anyone who's ever lived with a teenage girl, there's no creature more dramatic or theatrical. A dog in her teens doesn't know the meaning of drama (except of course if you have a Sibe and are trying to trim her nails or give her a bath) but human teens live and breath by the beat of soap opera music.  They ride each emotional wave like surfers on crack, crashing hard on the rocks of each jagged emotion.  (Thought I'd give you a little taste of the daily drama with that last line...pretty awful, I know.)

1Spaying and Neutering - enough said.

Poor Arwen - even teen dogs can be annoying!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

No More Cooties!

Have you ever had that AHA! moment when you realize someone is your friend?  That person might be in your life, but you never really clicked just right, or you never really had the opportunity to get to know them?  This just played out with our dogs.

Arwen and Fenway get along great - she is the matriarch, he is the scrappy little pup.  They've liked each other from the start and have similar full-contact play styles.  But Nyxie and Fenway have had their differences.  Nyxie would rather chases and play with toys than be mouthed and wrestled with.  Fenway tries the chase games, but they eventually lead to his entire throat inside her jaws.

While this play hold is great for Alligaterrrr, Fenway isn't a big fan

Just the other weekend, I took Nyxie and Fenway to work with me to stretch their legs in the big yard where the boarders play.  They sniffed and ran a bit, but were more interested in running laps inside the clinic.  As they toured the long halls together, I saw a new spark.  Maybe it was Fenway's joy at having one of his sisters at "school" with him, or maybe it was that Arwen wasn't there to hijack Fenway into a wrestle match.  Whatever it was, they bonded that day.  Wild-eyed, and with tongues lolling sideways out of their panting heads, they found that missing piece.

Fenway loves going to school so much, I found his Kitty Head toy packed in the gym bag I use at lunch!

My decision to take them to work that weekend was made spur of the moment to kill some boredom, get some exercise and give Arwen a break from the high energy of youngsters. Dogs are masters at taking a spontaneous moment and making it a memory.  Here's how I found them later that night:

He's touching her and she's not yelling "COOTIES!!!""

Cuddling on the bed together!!  Unprecedented!