Misty morning

I am sure it is a Sunday today, usually a day when I have to make a lot of effort to wake M or P and have them go out with me. But not today! M woke me when it was still dark. I did not feel like getting up, I had such a nice dream about ducks when she woke me. Besides, I really like my new snoozebag.  It is warm, while outside it was very cold this morning.

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But M insisted, so I got up and we walked and had breakfast. Then we went into our campervan and drove to a place that is a bit familiar to me. We had hunting training there before, but I thought we had stopped this training, because our trainer Ilse resigned.

It turned out we went to a new school! There were a lot of other dogs I don’t know, and people too. It was all very thrilling, but it was a big disappointment to me to discover this school also trains with stupid dummies. I told you before about them: they are made of cotton and filled with sand. They do not resemble the wild ducks or rabbits I am designed for to hunt. Not in a million smells!

So I decided not to fetch them. I want to work with the real stuff. The other dogs did fetch them, but hey, they were labradors and retrievers. I think M was a bit disappointed in me, although I did the obedience part very well. Like sitting when she asked, and staying and running to her when she called me, past the other dogs. I even ran past a labrador-beagle mix I really would have liked to measure forces with. But I did not, so M was proud of me. And we did enjoy the countryside, the weather was fine:

Misty morning

I don’t think we will go to this training again, because I did not fetch the dummies. I hope M will find a school where we train with real prey! That would be swell. We are home again, now, so I will sleep the rest of the afternoon and dream about hunting ducks and rabbits.

Size matters

Humans often seem surprised that we dogs instantly recognize each other as dogs. They say: ‘How can it be that this huge Saint Bernard sees that chihuahua as a dog?’ The answer is simple: we smell, therefore we know. From this point of view size doesn’t matter.

Size does matter when it comes to meeting each other and measuring forces. Like I wrote in this post, this is what dogs do when playing: we are having fun and we test how strong we are. In that case it is good to be not too small. A small dog can easily be overrun by a big one. I really liked doing that, because these little ones can be a good sport when they try to run away from you. Alas M made me very clear she does not like me doing this, so most of the time I leave the little ones alone, now. Choose your battles, right? To be honest I got a bit bored by chasing little dogs in the end, so I decided to let M have her way.

Did you know I was supposed to be a little dog? When M and P adopted me, they were told that I would become a medium sized dog, weighing maximum ten kilos. They predicted this because my feet were quite small and my legs were slender. Well, my legs are still slender, but they kept on growing. So did my neck and tail and, well, practically everything. Now I am a tall dog, as tall as a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler, but much lighter. I weigh almost twenty kilos. I am two years old now and some parts of me are growing still. My nose, for example. My head is looking more and more like the head of my noble ancestors, the ancient hunting dogs.

I am happy to have become a big dog, because big dogs are much more cool than little ones. Except, of course, little ones with character. Like some Beagles and terriers I meet: they are small, but they are groovy. They never whine when I run them over, they just get up and start chasing me. I like that. So sometimes size matters and sometimes it does not. But personally, I really like to have become a big dog with my long legs and nose.

Little fish!

Oh, by the way, this was a fish I found on the beach. Very interesting.

The Method: dodging

I have written before how to manage rude dogs. Recently there was a picture taken of me, working according to this Method™, so I will share it with you. But first I will tell you about the very nice walk I had on the beach. I always like going to the beach and it gets even better when my friends are there. This time my personal trainer Nicoline was there, with her pack of dogs! They are my friends too; when I stay with Nicoline I see them a lot. This time the pack was quite small, usually she walks with ten or sometimes even fifteen dogs:

Nicoline and friends

I like playing with almost all of them: running and chasing and boxing with each other. The big old German Shepherd in the middle thinks he is the boss of the group. I like to tease him. I run to him, bite him in the legs or his neck and run away very fast. He will chase me, but he is way too slow to catch up. So when I am at a safe distance I turn quickly and run towards him, as fast as I can. When I am almost bumping into him and he thinks he has me, I dodge aside so he misses me. It looks like this:

The Method

The funny thing is he knows I will do this, but still he waits for me and tries to get me when I am almost there. By the way, we don’t do this for a long time, usually after this running around we stop and start sniffing and searching for little crabs to eat. I tease him, he is not really angry with me. He just pretends, it is a game.

When I meet a dog I do not wholly trust, this is a very good Method™ to have some fun and in the same time avoid getting hurt. It only works when you are a very fast dog, mind you! Otherwise just make sure you are not in their way and do as I explained in this post.

 

 

 

Snoozebag

I got a really nice present today. Winter is coming and it is getting colder, so M thought I might be cold in the nights. We all sleep in the same room and M and P like to keep this room cool. I don’t mind, but I do have to admit I am not very well suited for cold weather. You see, my coat is made for the country where I was born: Greece. My hairs are very short and on my tummy there is not enough of it to keep me warm. When we are out I run to keep myself warm, but when I am sleeping I cannot do that, of course.

So I like this present! It is a snoozebag and it was made especially for me. It is big enough for me to lie in. I am glad that M respected my taste in this and chose an elegant black-and-white motif, with a classy neutral grey on the outside. Like I told you before: one has to be stylish, always!

Snoozebag

Now I can sleep nice and warm. M told me she bought this from a lady who makes these snoozebags and donates the money to the foundation where I came from. That is a nice thought. I will sleep warm and my fellow former stray dogs in the shelter in Athens have something to eat and sleep on, too.

If you want a snoozebag too, just tell your human to go to this Facebooksite. If your human is not very receptive to your hints (some of them can have really big bananas in their ears!), just go to the Facebooksite yourself when your human is not around and keep the computer turned on, so he will see it when he comes home. That should do the trick. Good luck!

Fighting?

There are some big misconceptions, things humans don’t seem to understand about us dogs. I wrote about misconception number one: dominance. There is another big one: fighting.

Let me tell you about something that happened on the beach, lately. I was playing with another dog – a dog looking a bit like me, being ultrafast. We ran like hell, chasing each other. We had great fun. Her human had just told M that her dog was scared of practically anything, but I did not recognize that. She was a bit nervous, yes, but not scared. Anyway, we played rough. That is how I like it: bumping into each other, chasing each other, sometimes biting each other in the legs to invite the other dog to run even faster.

So we were racing on the beach, me chasing the other dog and biting in her hind legs to tease her. She did not like that, stopped, turned around and snapped at me. This happens sometimes. I don’t mind, it is only a clear signal that my motivation technique is not appreciated. In that case I stop, we pause for a while and usually we start our play all over again. But this time the human of this so-called scared dog got very hysterical. She shouted ‘oh no, they are fighting, I don’t want this! Go away!’. So M called me and we went on together.

I thought this very strange. The human obviously did not understand the difference between playing and fighting. I admit I was a bit rough on her dog, but we weren’t fighting. When we walked about a hundred meters she released her dog and it came running towards me to resume our play. But M did not feel like an argument with this hysterical human, so she told me to get along with her and I said goodbye to the dog.

Maybe one of the reasons why humans can’t  see the difference between playing and fighting, is that we dogs often play rough. We sometimes bark and even growl, we show our teeth. This is because playing is also a way of testing how strong we are, compared to each other. We do this with our humans, too! What do you think we are doing when we are playing a pulling game with you? We like the fun, but we are also testing if you are still strong. It is all in the game for us.

So this is playing, something very different from fighting. When are dogs fighting? I can tell you this: seldom. I mean really fighting, with the purpose to seriously hurt the other dog, not the barking and growling and biting-in-the-fur stuff that is playing rough. We hardly ever really fight because the risks are very high. When we city dogs get hurt in a fight we are taken to the vet, but when you are a stray dog, you could die. No dog will take such a risk if it is not really worth it.

For a real fight the stake must be very high. Such a stake could be a territory a dog defends. Or a pretty willing female, in that case a male dog will fight with another strong male dog who wants the same female. All the other things, like food, are not worth a real fight. If you look carefully how dogs behave in this situation, you will see a lot of snarling and growling and sometimes even an attack, but the dogs usually back off quickly. No one gets seriously hurt. We are pretty fast in determining which one of us is stronger and the strongest one gets the food.

Humans are not very good at really noticing what is going on, so I’ll help you out a bit here. How to tell the difference between playing rough and fighting? This is something Nicoline, my personal trainer, tells the humans she trains. She says that as long as dogs make a lot of noise, they are not really fighting. If they start snapping and showing teeth without making a noise, than the going gets though. When this happens with the group of dogs she walks with, she intervenes – she is a tough cookie, did I tell you that? She is brave. I would never intervene in a dog fight, I would just run. Which is a very sensible reaction, by the way.

Sorry for this long blog, it takes a lot of words to explain something that is not difficult to see for us dogs, but apparently it is for humans. I hope you will understand it now. A little test, to make sure you get it. Look at this picture. Is this fighting?

Fighting

Maybe it is a hard question to answer, because it is a picture and you cannot hear the noise.  This is me with my German Shepherd friend Sem. And no, it is not fighting (we made a lot of noise). Me and Sem like to measure forces when we meet each other. As you can see, we show our teeth, although in this picture Sem is not paying much attention to me anymore, because another dog was approaching. Sem is not very well mannered, he doesn’t know how to behave with a lady like me. Ha! I’ll show him next time I meet him.

A list of happy things

Dogs don’t get depressed. All right, sometimes we can be a bit grumpy, but most of the time we are content. I do not say happy, although some breeds seem to be happy all the time – labradors, to name one breed. I suspect they are born with their tales  wagging! They are happy with anything: a ball, a kind word, a cookie.

I am not that easily satisfied. I am an intelligent and independent dog, I do some thinking before I wag my tail. But there are certain things that make me instantly happy. Here is a list of them:

1. The sun shining directly on my favorite chair behind the window.

2. A slice of pizza where I did not expect it (on the road, in the forest, on the beach, in the car).

3. Going on an adventure with my human M.

4. Going on an adventure with my humans M and P.

5. My boy friend and my girl friend visiting me.

6. Sleeping in the sun and M waking me up because we are going to the beach for a second time!

7. Meeting my friends.

8. Little crabs.

Now I think of it, there are a lot of things that make me happy. Like I said: we dogs don’t get depressed. We just love life.  We are optimists by nature, always expecting things to stay as good as they are – and if they are not good, expecting them to get better.

Bad joke

Something very strange is going on. M and I made a long walk on the beach and I was really enjoying myself, running after crows and seagulls and snacking on all the tasty sea food that was gathered on the sand.

It did not occur to me immediately, but after a while I realized that something was missing. To be precise, this:

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This is our favorite beach club of the season, M and P and I went there a lot. But suddenly, it is gone! This is what is left of it:

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A totally empty space! Of course I can still smell all the wonderful things that were eaten here, the people that came here a lot, the spilt beer. But these scents are fading fast.

What happened?