Monthly Archives: October 2011

That Black-haired Beauty and I: Part V – “Woof”

Interestingly enough Arwen has never been much of a barker. For the first four years of her life she would happily sit on our lawn in MI and watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood. She didn’t bark at other dogs, people, trucks, delivery, men, etc. For awhile we weren’t sure she had a voice in that sense.

To a certain extent that has changed, though she still does not bark a lot – we’re not exactly sure when she made the connection, but she did eventually discover that barking has its purposes. Perhaps the first instances were when walking with her, for some reason she gets rather excited about small dogs. Essentially she got barked at first and then she learned to respond. Now – small dog equals bark first, ask questions later. We haven’t let her leash go to find out whether she is more interested in getting to know them or eat them. Discretion is sometimes the better part of valor.

Or it might have been that she first started to bark when other creatures invaded our yard. She loves to chase rabbits, squirrels, black and white squirrels (aka skunks), deer, ground hogs, foxes, and ??? Well oft we don’t get to see what has gotten her excited as it has already skedaddled by the time we get out to check.

The last ‘barking’ thing she learned, and she really has learned it well, is that when she barks things happen, i.e. it attracts Mom or Dad. So “Bark” I want to get out, “Bark” I want to come in, “Bark,” someone is coming, and so forth. For more important things like foods and walks she makes a noise with her mouth and throat – “Arggwgghwant”. (Well that’s the best I can do!)

Pretty demanding, she has gotten. She will even stick her nose in your face at 5:00 in the morning to let you know it’s time to get up and feed her and let her out.

Guess what? Difficult people have learned these kinds of tricks, too.

And guess what again? Unfortunately we tend to jump when they grunt or bark or ???

The truth is we are ALWAYS part of the equation when it comes to difficult people in our lives.

What is the solution? Change your behavior in response to their behavior.

HINT! You can always find kind, positive ways to change your behavior. You don’t have to fight back or retreat.

It’s worth thinking about.


Joe Koob

P.S. Sometimes we ignore those doggie head-butts at 5:00 AM. She gets the point and back settles in for awhile.

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That black-haired beauty and I: Part IV “The Owner”

There was an on-line ‘article’ recently about what a dog (breed/type) says about their owner. Here are a couple of excerpts with commentary:

  • Labrador Retriever

This dog typically attracts an all-American, guy-next-door-type owner. We picture him nonchalantly tossing his pooch a tennis ball and running shirtless, leash in hand. Sure, he may be a tad predictable, given his dog of choice, but when predictable comes with six-pack abs … we’ll take it.

Okay, so the ‘shirtless’ is not quite true in my case, but I have always been a BIG dog lover. Arwen (That black-haired beauty, in case you haven’t been following along) is a cross between a black lab and a golden retriever. She does fetch, loves the water, chases things, and we do lots of things together. She is the all around great pooch for “The All-American Guy’. Hey what can I say.

Now the ‘six-pack’ abs, might be another small problem. I do have them, it’s just that they’re hidden beneath a bit of rotundity – which I might add I keep working on or I wouldn’t qualify as “The All-American Guy’.

So to be totally open here. The article also speaks about the ‘mutt’ owner. And in reality Arwen qualifies as a mutt:

  • Mutt

A mutt owner is usually laid-back, humble and has a good sense of right and wrong. Given his choice of dog, he likely isn’t typically into a cookie-cutter woman: He’ll actually dig the crooked tooth you’re totally self-conscious about, as well as the weird slobbery sound you make when you chew — in short, he appreciates what makes you, you.

Laid-back? You bet. I’m a product of those late sixties and seventies when ‘laid-back’ was IT.

Humble? Well I have my moments. Then again we all have our egos to deal with, too.

Good sense of right and wrong? Now that’s a dissertation in and of itself. I think I’ll let that one lie.

And, well, I do try to appreciate people for who they are. Though it is hard, isn’t it, when someone is treating you badly, or IN YOUR FACE? One of the hardest things in dealing with people, dog-owners or not, is understanding that they see the world very differently than you do.

You know that person who gets on your nerves all the time may just be a ‘Yippy-dog’ owner. Wonder what they say about guys who own chihuahuas or poodles or terriers?

Now you see! If you’re a small dog owner I probably just raised your hackles a bit. Those differences!!! We DO see the world (and dogs) (and dog owners) (and cat owners) (and…) differently. The question is can we make the effort to understand who they are as they are without trying to change them or denigrate them? ACCEPTANCE is a good word for this week. Think about it!

Arwen is a pretty good exemplar – she loves and accepts everyone.


Joe Koob

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