Sunday, May 24, 2020

Properly Training Your Humans

How To Properly Train Your Humans

If you wish to understand your humans better then you need to pay attention to all of their communication. This can be verbal and non-verbal. It can be with other humans or to us, their "pets."

First, let me introduce the two of us, Maggie Mae (the one writing this blog for Lola) and Davis who are patiently working with our own two humans, lovingly nicknamed by their granddaughters as Lola and Smiley. 

Together they have four wonderful children and four beautiful granddaughters. They felt like their jobs prevented them from ever owning one furbaby, much less two. But once, Lola retired and was home working on her writing, things changed. While Smiley was off at work, she really started to look around and talk to others, as well as Smiley at night over dinner about maybe getting a dog. It was a big step. They both are dog lovers and had dogs before, just not the two of them together.

After some research things just fell in to place. It was like magic. They had a name, just not the goldendoodle that they wanted so much. The two of them did shopping on respectable breeders, as well as looking for re-homing and local animal shelters for dogs that had that 'goldendoodle' look. Both of them are most definitely hands on parents so it was not going to be pick one out on line and have the pup flown to them or drive to go and pick him or her up. Their philosophy, as I heard them talk about it many times, is that the dog will find you. 

Turned out that a FaceBook friend that Lola went to school with thought that a friend of hers had a Mom close by that was a breeder. So she got the name and number and she made that call. Turned out that there were two litters of pups waiting to find their forever home. Lola and Smiley were cautious, wanting to do the right thing, as they took this very seriously. Lola talked to Kim, the breeder, got directions to her home and went to see the puppies. She had converted their garage into the home for all the puppies and their Mommas. She even had a place where she could be out there with them and it was heated. 

Lola and Smiley could see that she loved them with all her heart. Turns out she has been a groomer, a trainer, showed dogs in Dog Shows and was into breeding dogs. She had two black standard poodles and an English Golden Retriever who had puppies a few weeks apart. They were all black puppies. We sat on her kitchen floor as she brought a couple out at a time. One little fellow kept trying to climb up on Smiley. Even when his sisters kept pushing him away. They all were about the same size and all were cute as could be but according to our two humans, Davis melted their hearts and that is who they chose. Deal done.

Look at just how happy he seems. He is still that way, even though now, he has me, Maggie Mae to play, snuggle, protect, share, get into shenanigans with as well as to put up with my pestering him. What else are sisters for?

Lola kept in touch with Kim and noticed that about two years later on her Goldendoodles by Kims Design page that she had two more litters of pups. Some were apricot blonde, one chocolate and a few black. Everyone kept telling Lola and Smiley that two are better than one. Hmmmm.. I certainly don't disagree with that philosophy. We do have two smart humans so they decided that they would drive back out to Kim's and take Davis with them. 

Kim now has a proper building for her pups and their Mommas. There was even a doggie door so the pups were learning to go outside in the fenced area for their duties. Kim patiently took one pup out at a time and we all watched to see the furbabies' reactions. Davis acted like he could have cared less. So did all of the pups, that is until I came out.

Both of us kissed and snuggled and our tails were wagging like crazy. Yes, we picked each other out. Davis even put up with me pulling on his tail. Once we got home

all that Davis wanted to do was to protect me. He guarded me in my crate. Little did he know that even though to this day, he outweighs me by 20 pounds I am the most vocal in every way that you could imagine. Davis rarely uses his vocal skills. He relies on his body language, which at 61 pounds, I suppose he can do that. All you need is patience and you too can have obedient humans. They really want to please you and make you happy. 

First of all, humans want to be sure that we go to the bathroom outside. Our silly humans bought these jingle bells that hang on a ribbon for Davis to use when he was a puppy. The nickname for them is "Tinkle Bells." He fell for this trick hook, line and sinker. I learned to use them just like he did on my first day. The second or third day, I decided to use my own way. Bark! I just went to the back door and gave one bark. They learned what that meant almost immediately. I just wanted my own way to express myself. If at first they ignored me, I let out little woof-woofs or used my paws to pound on the glass at the backdoor. It did not take long to train them.

If either Davis' or my water bowl goes empty, I watched Davis just go to his and then to mine and just mope around, like, "Woe is me!" I found out if I put my two front paws in the steel empty dish and played it like Ringo Starr plays the drums, they come running with water to put in our dishes. My nickname seems to be Ringo and they laugh when they call me that, so I suppose they like him, whoever he is.

Lola and Smiley had to feed us from different bowls for a while. Mine was puppy food, while he had big boy food. His was better and I would sneak it now and then. He seemed to like mine and he would do the same if our humans did not watch closely. We learned another trick too. When they were cooking, stay nearby. They usually drop something, or we give them the pitiful eye look and they will put some cheese or some other treat down for us. Works like a charm every time. 

Another trick that have taught our humans is that they are allowed only so much reading time without paying attention to us. If Smiley has the newspaper held up with both hands, Davis jumps up and smacks the paper with his giant paw. Since I am the smaller one, I simply curl up in their laps and put my head across their books. This is for their own good. It has been scientifically proven that petting your furbabies reduces stress significantly.

Our humans seem to love taking pictures of us. We need to be sure that we are in charge of what they snap to share with others. Sometimes I want to appear like a little doodle angel with my sidekick, Davis. For example, Lola wanted to get a picture of the two of us sitting perfectly in front of the Christmas tree, possibly for a Christmas card. On other occasions, I just want to be the Wild Child.
Somehow SantaPaws still came to see us and left goodies.

Both of us love to watch TV when our humans settle down at night and turn something on. I love shows that have dogs in them.
Davis, not so much. He prefers TV shows that have balls in them. Well, none of that lately. He always loves playing with balls. He will take them to Lola or Smiley and they throw it and he catches them in midair and returns it to them. Me? No way! My thoughts on that game is, "Hey, you threw it. You go get it." I prefer chewing on bone marrows, bully sticks, Oinksies and squeaky toys. Those bone marrows make a lot of noise when I drop them on the hardwood floor and the squeaks that I can make from the Kong balls? WOW! Plus, they usually give one to each of us. But the fun is taking Davis' stick or marrow away from him and hiding mine under me. This is why he usually walks around with his bully stick hanging out of his mouth. Lola and Smiley have nicknamed him Sir Churchill. They say he looks like Churchill with his cigar. 

If we act a bit too rambunctious one of the best things that our humans do for us is take us to Walnut Grove Animal Clinic. We go to see Dr. Taylor for everything, starting from the our first puppy shots.They already knew Davis so I was quickly known right along with him. I watched him go to Doggie Day Care without me for a few times. I had to wait until I had all of my shots. Then the day arrived. WOW! So many dogs. In all sizes and shapes! It was rather scary. But the Day Care Crew took good care of me, as did Davis. Now, I know my way around and no big dog intimidates me. Davis always has my back. (even though I really don't need it - he is such a proper gentleman)  Then, there is Amber who grooms us keeps us looking spiffy. This last time she put little bows on my ears and a bandana for Davis. 

We know when it is Doggie Day Care Day. Some talking box that they call Alexa wakes up our humans earlier than they usually get up, both get dressed quickly, Lola gets her purse and shoes and we stare at the leashes while Smiley tries to take us out for our business before getting in the car. We LOVE LOVE LOVE WGAC! They are the best!

With a little extra work, you too can have well trained humans. We all have that duty to help them. We are not spoiled. We just happen to be great at training humans.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Contingency Plans

Really in my thoughts, I was originally not going to write anything else that dealt with the pandemic. Eventually, I will. It seems that I am not quite ready to stop sharing my thoughts just yet. I listen to a fairly balanced enough news about the pandemic, from what I consider good sources and then switch it off. There is only so much a person can take. It actually all starts to run together, especially when one group states facts that are totally opposite of another group. Then people in some groups, even though what they said is on live TV when they said it, want to tell the public that is not what they said. 

My feelings are that we all need a contingency plan for ourselves during this pandemic. It is my thoughts that we are going to be in this predicament for some time. By no means am I an expert, however, I feel that I do have enough common sense to listen to those who are the certified experts. The majority of them all agree on this. Then there are those people who can only state their gut instincts that tell them the exact opposite. I am not prepared to listen to such nonsense. 

These experts are furiously working on plans to help get us back to some type of normal life. Knowing that the old norm has long gone by the way side. From this point on there will be a phasing in of the new norm and none of us know what that will look like. While this is happening, in order to help with my emotional side of my well-being, I have come up with some plans to help me.

This summer will be like no other summer in my opinion. I know that some beaches have opened up and have seen pictures on the news of these beaches crowded, as if nothing is going on in the world. Going to those beaches is not on my bucket list. I am so grateful that we have a screened porch, a beautiful front and back garden, along with a swimming pool. We have had stay-cations before. Lots of good reading, exercising in the pool or simply floating lazily along, grilling out and just enjoying each other's company. Those who live alone have been sharing ways that they are coping with friends and neighbors having driveway parties...keeping social distance but seeing each other; perhaps having a Happy Hour together. It is time to get creative. We can do this instead of having panic attacks. I know how that feels.

With me being such a list maker, I have been taking notes of things to do that would make this a great summer. It means making a total shift of plans, yet a powerful shift to help my emotional state. I hope that it will make a kind of statement on my heart and in my soul that far outlasts the end of this summer.

It begins with coming up with a word or phrase that will define my summer and that was actually fairly easy for me.
I wish to develop some new skills and build on ones that I just never seemed to get around to doing. If I sit and mope around saying that it just wouldn't be summer without a trip to the beach, what good would that do?
It is not going to happen in my 2020 Summer. So I need to replay what my beach vacation could be. First of all, it would last all summer but in my backyard in my pool. I can get out on sunny Summer days, read, hop in the water when I get too warm, and have my beach play list which may include ocean waves in the background playing that gentle, relaxing sound. Alexa even has the true beach sounds with waves and the sounds of sea gulls in the distance.

Ordering beach read books and loving just sitting out under the umbrella reading and having my frozen
drink with the umbrella in it.

I also know that I want to continue to expand my cooking abilities and my painting talent. YES! I said talent. I can look at my paintings with pride. I created them. It is a work in progress and I learn as I go and experiment. Take the risk. Now is the time. I have even been thinking about a future art sale. 

Some other creative ideas such as picking up my guitar again to play. I have no long fingernails due to no manicure so now is a perfect time. Also, I understand that there is a man who is teaching piano lessons on FaceBook live to adults. We have the piano. Instead of saying, "Why?" I say, "Why not?"
I have managed to do a bit of decluttering here and there. Reorganizing some cabinets, closets and drawers and it felt wonderful. My Rosetta Stone is calling me also. My 3 years of Spanish from high school days and college have long gone. Well, not completely. It is basically some of the grammar. I am actually pretty good at reading Spanish. Speaking it or understanding someone speaking it to me is where I need help. Plus, ya'll have to understand that my Spanish teachers were southern, just like me. So their Spanish speaking was slow. Much slower than someone who speaks Spanish as their first language.

The one thing I believe that we all can agree on is that there are more changes ahead. When Autumn does arrive, I want to be able to look back on this Summer and know that I did not miss a beat. No regrets for what could have been and I let it slip through my hands without trying. Go ahead and take some risks in trying new skills.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Compassionate Gratitudes

Genuine compassion comes in many forms. You can't always fix someone's problems. What is even more helpful in my mind is to just be there for them to talk to. Once someone is ready to move on there is a way to help them think of one good thing happening in their lives right now. Many times it is the smallest thing of all that turns out to be the most important. It is crucial to practice acceptance and acknowledgement of why you or your friend feel the way you do. It is normal behavior. When it takes a wrong turn, is when someone can't get over it. A good question to ask yourself or another, "Is it helpful for you to feel this way?" If the answer if yes then you may not be ready just yet to move on. In time, hopefully not too long, we come to the realization that we are ready. 

Through Whole Hearted School Counseling I found a wonderful way to express gratitudes that I am always writing about. It is a list of prompts. Some people seem to write better if they are given something specific, so I thought that I would share these this week in my blog. I am going out on a limb and put specifically what my gratitudes are on this prompt page. There really is no wrong answer. It is all about YOU!

A strength of mine for which I am grateful is my optimism.

Something that money can't buy that I am grateful for is my family.

Something that comforts me that I am grateful for is Davis and Maggie Mae.

Something that is funny for which I am grateful for is watching some of the amazingly creative YouTube videos to help bring me up a notch from the news of the pandemic, such as SGN with John Krazanski.

Something in nature that I am grateful for is our beautiful flowering garden.

A memory that I am grateful for is for my Mamaw showing me how to cook. 

Something that changes that I am grateful for are the four seasons.

A challenge  that I am grateful for is to be a published author.
Something interesting that I am grateful for is the possibility of unicorns among us.

Something beautiful that I am grateful for is the chance to see a rainbow.

There were so many things that I could have substituted. We just need to be attune to them and in trying to do this in "normal" times can be difficult, much less what we are going through now in 2020. I found a quote that was inspiring to me by Deepak Chopra: "In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."  For me, this is telling myself that I am not willing to give up my joy to FEAR. Experience some creative activities to make you happy. Happy people aren't always creative, however being creative can make you happy. 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Manage Emotional Energy Levels


Emotions are energies. I have learned that there are ways to manage these energies to my benefit. In my case it is a matter that I must do in order for me to stay motivated, especially in this global pandemic. I did a bit of research and found out that for all we do in our everyday lives is based on about 70% emotional energy while only 30% is physical. 

With that being said, I think that it is important for me to work hard on starting each and every day with as much emotional energy as I can. It already is basically lower than it was before the quarantine, so I find that I must have some kind of routine in place to keep my emotional energies fueled. 

It does not have to be set in stone, just have blocks of times set out to accomplish certain things that I wish to complete for the day. What really can drain me is if I have focused attention on the symptoms of my distress. In other words, I can't do this, or I can't do that...instead of being focused on what I can do. It is called self-acceptance. There are times that I must give myself pep talks to stop beating myself up mentally about why I did not get certain items completed for the day. I need to be clear in what I can do as one human being. The world will not come to an end if I did not get laundry finished or have a moment to read some of a novel. There is always tomorrow.

Being a list maker, I know to prioritize what I want to do and put the most important at the top. Most of all, I have learned that if I attempt to multi-task, I find that I am draining my emotional energy. Taking a deep breath and moving through my list one step at a time works much better. Sharing with friends and my precious husband briefly of how I am feeling is a good thing. It is my version self-acceptance. Then? The time is to move on instead of droning on and on about poor pitiful me. We are all in this together and supporting one another is very important. 

Doing mundane chores like cooking, laundry, showering can turn in to a really positive outlet. As each chore is completed take that deep breath and move on. When I get close to the bottom of my list and I see that there will be no way that it will all get done, I heard a great phrase to tell myself instead of judging myself. I simply say, " I did not get the clothes put away and get 500 words written in my book 'IN A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC.'" There! That can put things in perspective. It is not a normal world right now. 

The important thing for me is to think about what drains my emotional energies and what fuels them.
Really, I could only come up with a short list of what drains them. The good news is that my list on what fuels my energies is twice as long. My job is to remember them:


bad talking myself
didn't get multi-lists completed
thinking about politics/news
not getting enough sleep
not hydrating my body
not eating right and exercising


focusing on what I can control 
being open with myself and my family
daily gratitude focus on what is good
doing kind things for others - showing compassion
self care
meditating and breathing
tai chi

What is important for me is that most of the time my days don't always start the same way. This means to be flexible and go with how the morning flows. Having some structure is good, however if all does not go along with my Plan A, then move on. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. 

For me the quote that I leave you with really says it all.