Tag Archives: living with dogs

Be like dogs – live the best life

Dogs don’t worry about the future. They don’t lose sleep over what may happen. And they accept what’s happening now as the best day ever. Dogs are models on how to live the best life. Be like dogs!

Why worry?

Some challenges in the last few months make us admire dogs’ resilience and adaptability. 

Booker has developed an issue with incontinence. Neither we nor the veterinarian has been able to figure out what’s going on with him (so far). We know it’s not a training issue, he seems to have no idea that he’s dripping his way around. Since we don’t know what’s causing it, we’re reluctant to use medication to control it. Instead, Booker now wears “pants” (a belly band) in the house. And he doesn’t mind. At all.

Be like dogs enjoy every day like this Boston Terrier play-bowing

Actually, he seems more comfortable wearing his pants. When he comes inside the house he waits by the door until we replace his pants. It could be because of the treat he gets. Or it could be because dogs love routine. When we first discussed using the belly band, we were worried that he’d be uncomfortable, or unhappy, wearing them. He doesn’t care.

Simon doesn’t care, either

A few weeks ago we talked about getting a muzzle for Simon to stop his persistent determination to eat every morsel of rabbit poop in the yard. We have to admit that the first couple of days weren’t happy. Now? Simon sits and waits for his “mask” to go on, knowing he gets to go outside. He no longer paws at it, and doesn’t try to avoid putting it on. Again, it could be because of the treats he gets. Or the routine. But he doesn’t mind. 

Booker and Simon demonstrate how to let go of the things you can’t change. They’re probably not crazy about their new garments. But they don’t resent them, either. These boys are living their best life.

What is the “best life” for a dog?

Dogs don’t have a lot of requirements for happiness. “Best life” depends on the individual dog and owner. Our dogs were accustomed to “going places” and “doing things” at least a couple days a week. With all dog sport classes cancelled over the past year, that changed. We miss going to class, socializing with our friends, and spending time focusing only on playing with our dogs. The dogs seem just as happy with our little basement training sessions

There’s a dog we follow on social media, a pied French Bulldog named Bubba. The person writing Bubba’s posts completely understands. He talks about Bubba’s adventures of the day, from Bubba’s point of view. And almost every single day is “the best day ever!” Which for dogs, it is. It’s always the best day.

The dogs don’t know what could be happening. They only know what is, and enjoy what’s going on now. They adapt to the situation. Dogs aren’t concerned about what could or should be. They enjoy now. Be like dogs.

Pick one word for your dog

If you could use only one word for your dog, what would it be?

Just for a fun exercise, think about your dog. If you have more than one, like we do, just focus on one at a time. Is there a single word or short phrase that would distinguish that dog’s personality so everyone who knows him or her would recognize who you were talking about? 

It wouldn’t be a complete description, but just the outstanding feature that allows that dog to stand out.

Puppy personalities

It’s a given – dog people understand that all dogs, even siblings, have distinct personalities, just like people. We don’t know too many non-dog people, but we get the impression they don’t understand that “this dog” is different from “that dog.” As if there were a great mass of dog, and any chunk of the dog mass is indistinguishable from any other chunk.

Dog personalities are somewhat defined by breed. Breeds were developed to bring out not only certain physical traits, but psychological ones as well. Anyone who’s ever owned a terrier knows that independence is part of the package. Just as intensity comes with Border Collies, and willingness is right there with Golden Retrievers.

Box of chocolates

People are drawn to particular breeds because of both looks and personalities. We’ve always been partial to flat-faced dogs. Part of that is because our first dog was a Boston Terrier. Now our preference, and our household, includes Bostons, French Bulldogs, and Brussels Griffons. In all honesty, if space, time, and finances allowed, we’d probably wind up with a dozen or more. Of each.

Even within a breed, each dog is distinct. Now we have two Bostons in the house at the same time – a first for us. And our one-word descriptions indicate the differences in their personalities. Simon is persistent. Booker is a flibertigibbet.

It was also true when there were two Griffs. Tango, who’s still with us, is silly. Roc was sober. And Golly, who was the inspiration for our business, was one hundred percent diva.

The Frenchies couldn’t be more different, either. Torque is sweet. Teddy was irresistible, but selfish. If there was one dog who invariably got what he wanted, it was Ted.

What’s your dog’s one word?

When you have your one word for your dog, what do you do with it?

For us, with the joy we get from building our bond and their brains with training games, it colors the way we play with them. 

Even if we’re playing the same game, like “put your toys away,” the way we interact with each dog changes. 

Simon learns quickly and focuses intensely. Booker has to be kept “on task.” Tango has days where he’s all about the game – other days he just doesn’t want to play. Torque loves playing any game. He’s the epitome of loving what he does, so he never “works” a day in his life.

One word for you, too

Now that you’ve considered your dog – how about you? What’s a word that your best friend would use to describe you? And how does that mesh with your dog’s word? 

Figuring out those definitions is a puzzle that’s a bit intriguing to think about, and may help your family work even better.