Friend from Greece

Look who I met on the beach:20150629_134024

Her name is Filia and she has just arrived in Holland. She looks a bit like me, doesn’t she? She is from the shelter where I grew up, in Athens, Greece! And now she lives in Holland, because a Dutch human adopted her. Which means she is an expat, like me.

Together we explored the beach and tested the water.

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When we got warmed up a little, we started sprinting. M and I sometimes do this, but for me that is very easy because M is slow. Sprinting with a dog like Filia is more challenging! Very nice.

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Do you see how she is looking at me, asking me to go faster? When she got tired and slowed down a bit, I motivated her to move on:

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In the end we both were wet and tired. We had a great time. I hope I will meet her again soon!

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Do you want to adopt a gorgeous dog, just like us? Take a look at the website of the shelter. They have awesome dogs and cute puppies as well. If you live in Holland, you can go to the site of Huize Zwerfhond, the Dutch foundation that arranged for Filia and me to come to Holland. Please do, because I’d like to meet more expats like Filia on the beach!

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The power of surprise

In my last post I wrote about how to make your dog come to you. I suggested to use a toy or a yummy treat to make it worth while for your dog to come to you. Some of my human readers have asked me what to do if this doesn’t work. They told me their dog won’t come to them, although they have a treat or a toy.

Okay. I think these humans have a problem and I guess their relation with their dog is not as good as they think it is. They should work on that. Or maybe they made a common mistake, by calling their dog and putting her on the leash every time she came. We are not stupid, you know. When you call us and put us on the leash and take us home every time we come to you, we won’t come easily again. How do you think we feel, when we are having fun but we stop our play to come to you and then every time we do this, we have to go home? Here’s the clue: don’t do this. Call us once in a while, give us a treat or play with us, and let go again. Then your dog will learn it is a good thing to come to you. And she won’t mind that after some nice playing time she is taken home again.

There are some other tricks than toys or treats to make your dog come to you. The key word is: surprise. Like I wrote in my previous post: make it fun for your dog to come to you! I know a human with a very independent dog. She has to make an effort for her dog to come to her and she found an excellent way to do this. When she wants her dog’s attention, she starts jumping up and down, waving her arms and singing ‘whooieooieoowiieee!’. That is funny. It makes all the dogs in the dog park go to her! When we are with her, she tells us to sit and we all get a yummy treat. Then she sends us off again, to resume our play. Now that is a good way of making your dog come to you and build a strong relationship. When she calls her dog to go home, in the end, he willingly obliges because it is fun to be with his human.

This is just one trick to get your dog’s attention. One of the favorite tricks of my personal trainer is this: she throws some treats into the grass (and I pretend not to see it), then calls me and asks me to search for them. It always works. Another trick is bending down, pretend like you are looking for something on the ground, maybe even dig with your fingers. Your dog will certainly come to help you in your search. Some time ago we were walking leisurely along the canal near our house, when I turned and saw M sitting on the grass! She never does this, so I immediately ran to her to check it out. She told me she fell down, but she won’t fool me: it was another trick to get my attention!

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All these tricks have one thing in common: it is a surprise for us and it is fun. We love surprises, so this will always work. But please do not make the mistake of putting us on the leash every time when we come to you. If you do, you will not fool us again and it will become harder and harder for you to make us come to you.

 

Hysterical humans

Yesterday I was running next to M on her bike. I really like doing that and when I do, I am very focussed. We passed a human with her dog, a young and friendly dog who wanted to play with me. She was off leash and she came running towards me. But when I run next to the bike, I do not want to play because I focus on the running. So I ignored the young dog and she understood I did not want to play. She did not return to her human, however, but ran on and crossed the road. It is a busy road. Gladly for her the car that was approaching saw her and stopped, but her human got totally hysterical and started running after the dog, screaming she had to come to her. Which her dog, obviously, did not.

I thought it kind of funny. But since this is a dogtorial, I will explain to my human readers what went wrong in this case. So they can learn from it and avoid making the same mistake. This was a dangerous situation, the dog could have been hit by the car. I am very capable of walking home alone, because I am an intelligent and sensible dog. I watch out for cars and other hazards. But most dogs don’t.

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So what to do when your dog runs away from you? The first thing to remember is: never ever run after your dog. We are much faster, so we will always outrun you. Besides, when you run after your dog, she will get scared or consider it a challenge. Either way she will run even faster. What to do, then? Make your dog come to you. Seduce her with a yummy treat or a favorite toy. Make it fun for her to come to you, more fun than running away and checking other fun stuff. In the end, when you have established a good relationship with your dog, she will come to you anyway because she learned that being with you is the best thing in the world. You will not need treats and toys anymore. But in this particular case the dog was still very young and the relationship with her human was not strong yet.

The second thing I would like to tell you about this situation is what happened when the human finally got her dog. She ran towards the dog, screaming, drove her into a corner and than fell onto her. I don’t know how to describe it otherwise: she just jumped on the dog, both arms around the poor thing. It must have terrified the little dog. Then the human started to talk to the dog, in a way a lot of silly humans talk to us. She said: “What did you just do, you stupid sweetheart, I told you not to run away!” This is very odd. One: you don’t argue with us like you argue with other humans, it is useless. Of course you told us lots of things, but that doesn’t mean we comply! We forget most of all this blabla anyway. Two: the little dog did not think ‘oh my human told me not to run away but I feel like doing it so I will’. No, she probably did not think at all, but just felt like running and did it. We are dogs, remember? We don’t think that much – which is great, by the way. Humans should try it.

What should the human have done in this case? Well, her dog was behaving badly by not coming to her. But the dog could really not help it, she just acted on her impulses and she is still too young to know how to behave properly. So when the human finally got to the dog and the dog waited for her (she did, you know. She could have jumped and run away, but she didn’t), she should have given her a yummy treat and put the dog on the leash. In a calm and composed manner. No screaming, no jumping on the dog, no harsh words. Just put her on the leash and continue the walk. Like nothing happened.

There is one other very obvious thing to mention about this case. The young dog should not have been off leash in the first place. It was a busy and dangerous surrounding, by the road and all that. The dog was not yet capable of handling situations like this and her human placed her in a dangerous situation by letting her walk off leash. That was irresponsible of the human. I am not in favor of walking on a leash, don’t get me wrong. I like freedom. But in some situations it is safer to walk on the leash. It is not that bad, really. By walking on the leash you make sure your human is following you and you do not have to wait for her all the time. I consider that a great benefit of leashes.

Foldable dog

Ever heard of a foldable dog? That’s me! My legs are very long and so is my back – long and extremely flexible. I was born that way and I have been training hard to maintain the flexibility, by doing doga together with M. I benefit greatly from it and M says she does too. Although I do not see her progress, because she is still as stiff as a plank.

Anyway, I like being foldable. It gives me lots of variations in the position I like to sleep in, for instance. This is one of my favorites.

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Now I think of it: this could be an excellent doga posture! I will practice it with M, so she can become flexible, like me. She masters the plank already, so it is time to move on to more challenging poses.

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Big boat

There was a big event in the harbour near our house last weekend. There were loads of humans and music and boats. Big boats! This was the biggest of them all. We saw it when we were walking on the beach. P says it is a navy ship.

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l like boats, I have some experience with them – although the boats I travelled in are a bit smaller. I wonder what being on a big boat like this is like. Will they have pizza? It certainly is big enough to have several kitchens, so they probably do. Pizza with freshly caught sea food, no doubt!

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Cup of dog

My humans are great coffee lovers. I like coffee myself, being a Greek dog I prefer it hot and with some texture to grind between my teeth. P prefers Italian coffee like espresso, preferably made from fair trade beans roasted by small artisanal coffee makers. M likes that too, but in a creamy latte. Yes, my humans make a great fuss about food and drinks. I totally understand, food is my top priority, too! Although I do not mind who made it, as long as I get it.

So this is what happens (a lot) when we go for a walk. We walk and I run and we walk and then we sit down to have a nice drink and sometimes some food, too. This time I was alone with P. Usually I have to scan the surroundings to make sure we are safe. The beach was deserted, as you can see, so I had plenty of time to look cute for the picture.

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Beauty tip

I already told you I love Greek yoghurt. It is creamy and very healthy. Humans and canines should eat more of it! What I did not tell you is that it is also good for your looks. When you use it as a beauty product, I mean. It is especially good for your skin and your eye lashes. And, as everybody knows, long luxuriant eye lashes are essential for pretty girls. Like me. That is why I do not only eat yoghurt, but I also apply it to my eye lashes.

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I let it work for a while and than I take it of, by licking it. That is an advantage of being a canine, humans can’t do this. They need a cotton pad. Anyhow, it works wonders. You should try it!