The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

May 2, 2008

BeagleFest 2008: Wrapping Up

Filed under: Dogs — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 10:56 pm

Seen on a Random bumper sticker in town earlier this week:

“Lord, let me be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”

I’m pretty sure there was a time at some point in the past when if you told me that I’d not only spend ten days dogsitting, but that I’d be blogging the wole entire thing, I’d probably think you were crazy.  Of course, there was also a time when I thought that my parents would never have a dog, but that one went out the window years ago.  To briefly summarize the whole thing, here are a few statistics I probably made up out of thin air for the whole thing:

  • Days Spent with the dogs: 10
  • Trips to the Dog Park: 18 (give or take one or two)
  • Average Hours of Sleep per Night: About 6
  • Accidents in the house: 4
  • Uncontrolled Barking Fits: 3
  • Bad Habits Picked Up: 3 (I think the dogs might have picked up a couple of those too…)
  • Dog Treats Consumed: Don’t ask.  And no, I’m not THAT crazy….

I do have to admit that the whole thing turned out not to be quite the ordeal I was expecting it to be though.  The dogs seemed to quickly accept me as their packleader (of course, it’s not like I was exactly a stranger to them going into this) and for the most part managed to remain pretty well behaved during this time.  I think that the frequent trips to the dog park really helped out here.  To be honest, I think the dogs might be just a little bit spoiled by being able to go over there all the time like they do, but given how difficult it is to get them from the front door of the house to the car without them getting distracted by one thing or another, I suspect it;’s a lot easier to get them their exercise this way than it would be to take them out on a walk through the neighborhood.  Besides, the place is practically in our backyard anyway, so why not?


BeagleFest 2008: Sometimes You Just Have to Let Go

Filed under: Dogs, Personal Stuff — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 9:58 am

 As I’ve spoken of a number of times here, Beagles are by their very nature explorers.  Much of their time at the dog park is spent investigating whatever catches their attention, be it a scent, a molehill or even a particularly interesting (and/or tasty) plant.  This means that they tend to spend a lot of time wandering off in one direction or another.  At times, they’ll venture into the bushes, or into tall grass that takes them out of my sight.  When I first started taking the dogs to the park, this worried me to no end.  After all, the last thing I want to have to do at this point is tell my Mom that I lost one of her dogs, and it’s easy to get paranoid about this type of thing.  The advice that I was given on the topic was to just go ahead and let them wander into the bushes, and trust that they will want to stick close enough to the pack leader that they won’t get themselves lost.  I was also told that whatever I do, I should not try to chase them into the bushes either, as they will then think that they are the ones leading the way and go further in.

To be honest, i still worry just a bit when the dogs wander out of sight, but as I’ve gone through this last week and a half, I have found that this piece of advice has been true.  Even though Imola and Minardi may chase something or another into the bushes and out of my sight, they won’t wander far enough away to lose sight of where I am, and so far at least,  they have always come back.  The trick seems to be for the pack leader to just stick to the usual route, and although I do slow down a bit to make sure they can find me when they come back, you can’t just watch them the whole time.  If you do that, they’ll start to think that you are looking to them for guidance, and they are likely to head off in a different direction than you had originally intended.  As you walk along the path, you can see them glance back at where you are every so often, looking to you for direction.

You have to realize that the dogs are going to look to you, the pack leader, for guidance, and that as long as you can trust them to follow your lead, you should be fine as far as actually having two dogs with you when you get home from the park.  You’re not always going to see where they are going, and you’re not always going to be able to follow them there.  For that matter, on many occasions it turns out that following them is just going to cause problems.  Of course, the fact that I came into this already having the trust of the dogs was a big advantage.  In fact, it surprised me somewhat just how well the dogs accepted me to be the one in charge while my parents are away, even though I only see them occasionally.  My Mom was expecting them to be stressed about about her being gone for at least the first couple of days, but as far as I can tell, this never happened, and the dogs have just stuck with their usual routine, even if the pack leader looks a little different than normal.

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