Young Pups

Many canine breeds are good with children and Golden Retreivers are one of the best. The American Kennel Club places Goldens fourth after the Bulldog (1), Beagle (2), and the Newfoundland (3).  Labs at number 5 were right after Golden Retrievers.

When Kloe first joined our pack it took her a few days but she eventually engaged Kali in play.  All of 15 pounds when she came home Kloe would run full speed at Kali nipping at her ears and bouncing off Kali’s torso, hips and head.  It was warming to see Kali, at 60 pounds, play so gently with Kloe instinctively knowing that Kloe was obviously smaller but also a “baby”.  During tug-o-war Kali could have shaken the rope toy hard enough to launch Kloe into the air but she didn’t.  She would hold on lightly and allow Kloe to gain some ground.  Kloe would eventually tire, lie down on her belly,  and Kali would drag her along the carpet or kitchen tile for a ride.

A little over a year later its fun to watch Kloe, now at 80 pounds, approach her big sister much in the same way she did when she was just a bitty pup.

Kloe still blind sides Kali at full speed, often with a toy in her mouth, daring Kali to fight back as if Kali has a choice.  The difference now is that Kloe has a 20 pound advantage over Kali who has to go full strength as a matter of self preservation.  And some games never change. Often after several minutes of tug-o-war Kloe will lie flat on her stomach, front and back legs fully extended, and Kali drags her along the carpet and Kitchen tile.

Until recently Kloe had not been around any young pups and I wondered how she would act if she was.  At only fifteen months does she possess the same instincts that seven year old Kali demonstrated with her baby sister a year ago?  Kloe has always had just one speed during play: 11 of on a scale of 10.  Through training and to some degree maturity (did I just use the word maturity in a sentence with Kloe?!?) Kloe is calmer around people when she first meets them.  It’s hard for her but she is learning what’s expected and keeps all her feet on the ground while wagging her butt feverishly.  Usually there is a thought bubble over her head that says, “Hi!  I love you!  Do you see me?  I am really really glad you are here!   Do you see me?  Did I tell you I love you?”

The young pup that Kloe met recently was not of the canine persuasion.  It was a human pup baby.  Perri is the granddaughter of our friends Marty and Jen.  We were at Marty and Jen’s for a BBQ when Perri was introduced to Kloe.  Kloe was very interested and saw that this was a person who just happened to be very small and very young.  In fact Kloe and Perri are just about the same age.   Kloe probably instinctively knew she had an advantage in most major categories:

  • Age – tie
  • Agility – Kloe major advantage
  • Intelligence – Kloe slight advantage
  • Weight – Kloe Super major advantage
  • Cute factor – Tie with the smallest of tie breakers going to Kloe  (full disclosure:   Perri’s parents and Grandparents were not consulted for the rating of this category)

Kloe laid at grandpa Marty’s feet while he held Perri in his lap.  She was fascinated and so very calm as she watched Perri’s every move.  I believe that with any dog, and I mean any dog, one must be very cautious with babies and they should not be allowed on the ground with the dog nearby until both parties – dog owner and parent/grandparent – are sure it’s safe.

So was the case with Kloe and Perri.   Perri was eventually allowed to sit on the ground near Kloe.   Our 80 pound bundle of energy 11 on scale of 10 “puppy” laid there calmly next to Perri and just hung out with “the baby” and let her do her thing.

But just for good measure, and so Perri knew that she loved her, Kloe gave Perri a little kiss on her nose, captured in the video below.

Take that Bulldog, Beagle, and Newfoundlanders!

Young Pups Kloe and Perri

 

Respect

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Find out what it means to me”

Aretha Franklin

From the first day Kali arrived from Taiwan almost two years ago she has always been very respectful of the house, the yard, and our possessions.  She seemed to inherently know what was a toy and what wasn’t.  Even if they looked the same or were the same.

We have a beanie baby that we use to keep our door ajar at night.  It’s an old habit from when Panda the cat was still with us.  It kept the door from shutting all the way when the heater came on (house air flow dynamics) and gave him a way to come and go while we were sleeping.  Full transparency about that: initially it wasn’t so much because we cherished this animal and wanted him to have full access to us even when we were asleep.  It was because, well, he was a cat and he would tear up the carpet outside our bedroom door if we didn’t.  I’ve mentioned before that we’re very trainable, right?

The point about the beanie baby was that Kali has a couple of beanie babies in her toy box that she plays with from time to time.  But she never touches the beanie baby next to our bedroom door.  As I recall she picked it up one time when she first saw it, I said “no – that’s not yours” – she dropped it and it’s never been an issue since.

She has fuzzy toys she likes to chew on and some of them look a lot like socks or slippers but she’s never chewed on a slipper, shoe, or anything else that wasn’t “hers” as appealing as they may be to her.  She instinctively knows what’s hers and what’s not hers and shows proper respect.

Kali is very highly extremely food motivated.  She is “all about the food” which makes it easy to provide positive reinforcement for good behavior and obedience.  So as respectful as she is about “things” what is truly notable is how she respects Smokey’s food. She has never exhibited any food aggression even from the first week she arrived and ate side by side with Smokey.   She knows what food is hers and respects Smokey’s even when it’s left unattended.

Smokey is not so much about the food.  Mealtime for Kali is an event.  Mealtime for Smokey is about the 6th or 7th item on his daily “to-do” list.  For convenience and routine sake I feed both Kali and Smokey at the same time.  Kali never fails to do her Suppertime dance even at breakfast.   The house could literally be on fire with fire fighters spraying water and burning beams falling and Kali would stand her ground and finish her meal before reacting to the mayhem around her.  When Smokey’s bowl is put on the ground I usually have to call him over to it.   I’ll say, “come on, Smoke.  Eat up or Kali will get your food”,  even though I know she won’t.  Smokey will saunter over to the bowl, take a sniff and look around the room (what is he a cat?!), and usually walk away and return to the spot in the sun or couch he was sleeping on.  He’ll eventually go back and eat but it might be a while and long after Kali has finished her puzzle-maze filled bowl.

I used to think that Kali would eat Smokey’s food if left on the ground unattended so I would hang around until they had both finished.  She did try to eat it once and Smokey made it very clear that even though he was not interested in the food at that moment that it was his and Kali should back off, which of course she did.

Here is what I found to be a truly remarkable event.

The other morning I put the food bowls down, Kali’s first.  With the bowl in front of her she immediately goes into a sit with eyes fixed on mine.  It’s our routine and I wait four or five seconds before I say “ok” and point to the food.  I do believe that she would sit with eyes fixed on mine for 10 minutes if I made her.  I would never do that of course but I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t eat until I told her it was ok no matter how long she had to wait.

Smokey’s bowl went down next a few feet away from Kali’s.  Smokey does his routine and eventually walks away from the food without eating.   I head upstairs to my office and see Kali’s eyes glancing back and forth between Smokey’s bowl of food and me.  As I head up I tell Kali to “leave it”.  She walks past the food and lies down in at the edge of the kitchen.  I know Smokey will eventually eat.   I usually check after about 10 minutes and if the food is still there I pick it up and it becomes dinner for him later that evening.

This particular morning I forgot to go back downstairs to check on whether Smokey had eaten.   About 30 minutes had passed.  I head down and I see that Kali is lying in the same spot and Smokey’s bowl is still full.  But Smokey isn’t around.   I then remembered hearing my daughter pass through the kitchen and go back to bed. I realized that Smokey had followed my daughter into her room without eating.

But as I’ve said about Kali, she is all about the food.  For her to lay there for half an hour by herself with a bowl full of food and not eat it was truly remarkable.  I couldn’t have been prouder of her at that moment.  I picked up Smokey’s bowl and opened the cookie jar and handed Kali a couple of biscuits while telling her what a good girl she was.

I only hope she had some idea of why she was being rewarded.

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Love these guys!