I have been a doggie mom for five years now. These were my first dogs and we waited to have them in our retirement so we should have time to spend with them. I have learned so many lessons from them and I would like to share just a few with you. Zeke and Libby are twin Yorkies. Zeke is almost twice as big as his sister. They are nothing alike except they are both the best dogs in the world. We only planned on having one dog, but when we saw both puppies we didn’t want to leave Zeke behind. So here are a few lessons I have learned over the past five years.
1. Be happy to see people. If we go check the mail, Zeke and Libby are happy to see us return. They act like we have been gone for years, even though it was only a few minutes. If Jim goes somewhere, Libby will stare at the door until he comes home. They have taught me to answer the phone with a cheerful greeting and to welcome our guests with joy and hugs. A good lesson don’t you think!
2. Be patient, it pays off! Training any dog takes patience. Getting frustrated with them is a waste of time. Praise and consistency works best. When we first had our puppies I had doubts that they would ever be allowed to roam the house without fear of accidents. It has been years since I have had to worry about that. It took a lot of cheese and lots of patience to teach Libby to walk on a lead. She would sit down and refuse to move. I wish I had videoed it because it was hysterical to watch a grown man beg a 2 lb. puppy to move. Now she and her brother are excellent on our walks. We have never hit our dogs and we have rarely raised our voices at them, although I have asked Zeke to “button it” a few times when he barks too much at squirrels. I think years of teaching first grade prepared me for dog training.
3. A good nap is not a bad idea. I hate naps, I swore as a child that when I grew up, I would never waste my day sleeping. Of course I made sure my daughters took naps, because they needed it and I needed the time they were sleeping to get things done. If things get even a tiny bit calm or boring around here, both dogs are instantly asleep. They take advantage of quiet moments to refuel so they are ready to hunt for squirrels or lizards. I have learned to occasionally take a short power nap. Not every day, but just when I need it. I have learned to Rest in the Lord! He revives me when I do!
4. Take your time on walks. Some trainers will say that you need to walk and not allow your dogs to stop. We do not have the same view. Zeke and Libby love to take their time on walks. We call their sniffing “checking their pee-mail”. Zeke loves everybody and every dog, and he likes to say hello to everyone we meet. Libby loves to smell and explore and look for adventure. We know so many neighbors because of our dogs. People know their names more than they know ours. We walk our dogs every single day. People see us faithfully exercising our dogs and they stop and chat with us. We see birds and flowers and interesting things on our dog walks. After all these years, I still enjoy my time walking our dogs. It’s good for all four of us!
5. Dogs can learn lots of tricks. Zeke and Libby have a long list of tricks they have learned over the years. We teach them tricks because they love to learn. They can give me five, Libby can roll over, Zeke rings the potty bell to go outside, they jump over hurdles, touch on command, and they can tell the difference between a circle, a square, and a triangle as well as countless other tricks. They have taught me that I should try new things too and it’s not to late too learn new tricks. I have learned to blog, play the drums, and try new things. I guess “Old Dogs” can learn new tricks!
I could go on and on about other lessons. Will save them for another blog. Libby did teach us that miracles happen when she recovered from a very serious head trauma. Zeke is still teaching us to be friendlier. I am so thankful for my Yorkies. They are both blessings from God.