21 February 2011

Hello, Mr. Dog, Ms. Dam. Table for two?

Communication is tough when you don't speak the same language as other people. But there are some non-verbal elements, which are generally understood anywhere. You can raise a hand to call the waiter, shrug your shoulders to say "I don't know" and point to something of interest with a finger (though pointing is said to be rude).

What is it pooch? Hungry? Thirsty? Why are you barking?

I find it quite hard to find a common non-verbal communication standard with my dog. This is partly because I haven't had a lot of pets in my life and also because she can get moody sometimes. Why is she tugging on my sleeve? Why is she whimpering? Is she feeling bad? Hungry? Wants to play? Misses Scorpio?

You know how your dog wants to play now or go out or eat and you are hurrying to finish some very important work? It would be nice if you could strike a deal with it, saying "calm down, we'll go after I finish here". But it's not really possible. Your dog won't understand you. It will simply get the idea that the walk won't be happening any time soon, so it will keep bothering you.
Aschiuta and the case of the shredded sleeves

I get lots of tugs on my sleeves from Aschiuta because she needs to go out or wants to play. If I don't want her to get aggressive, I prefer to grab the tennis ball and play fetch with her a little. Letting her out in the kitchen also buys me a few more minutes to work peacefully until I can fully dedicate my time and attention to her.
She tugs on slippers too. All for a bit of attention.
I do keep wondering though, is there an easier way?


  1. Is there an EASIER way? Not sure. But I do know that "giving in" will not improve the situation.

    We teach our dogs the words "soon" or "later". Don't ask me how it's done. It's a slow, slow repetitive process. Georgia hasn't quite got it yet, but Rufus understands those words very well [as did Jordan, who died 2 years ago.] Rufus will calm down when we use the words and wait, basically. another good word to teach dogs in this situation is "relax".

    good luck!

  2. Do you have something else she can do for a while? Maybe a chew bone or toy? I have found that will do wonders when I can't do something right now and can exspell some of that nervous engery. I always tell the dogs "in a little bit", but I don't think they listen to me anyways!! BOL

  3. I agree w/the post above me. Giving my pups something to focus on like chew toys has saved me on more than one occassion! Good luck!


  4. If you have the space and the will, it might be helpful to adopt a playmate for her. We have three dogs and they are great companions and playmates for each other when we are not able to give them full-on attention ourselves.

    And always provide toys (a teddy they all seem to love!) and chew things (rawhide or a safe bone etc.) It's also a good idea to start the day with some activity (a walk, run or ball game) - that helps to settle them for the rest of the morning, we find :)

  5. Thanks for all the good advice everyone! I'll take it into consideration the next time.

    I have also thought that a doggie companion would get Aschiuta off my back, but we have limited space and an even more limited budget. Plus, mom barely accepts one dog, two would be too much for her.

  6. We're dog sitting for a friend's dog called Ted who is brilliant at communicating. When he wants to go out he sits by the door and 'points' and if he's hungry he does the same by the fridge. he is also mega obedient - better than my son ever was! I think he benefitted from having a friend but having read your comment above I can see that would be difficult. I think giving her something to chew might also help.
    I really like Aschiuta- she's a lovely dog.

  7. I think fetch is great. It's a good compromise when you can't give her all your attention.

    I'm also a big fan of food toys. Honey eats all her meals about of toys which tires her more than eating from a bowl. It gives her a good nap right after breakfast and dinner.


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