Update on Retirement GiftFriday, September 13, 2013 by: Mac Headrick
It is 5.30 a.m. in the far north country. The sun has yet to rise to signal the start of another day. The mighty warrior with his faithful companion venture forth from their enclave. In the far distance a flock of geese rises over the mist trumpeting their flight. This sound does not distract the two solitary figures as they scout familiar terrain. They are ever vigilant for interloping beasts that would/could challenge and or threaten their domain. Eventually the duo returns home hungry but satisfied, the quest has been accomplished.
Another way of expressing the above scenario… Raji wakes me up early every morning. We head out and he does his business.
Raji (my Pug and retirement present) has been with me for six months. I believe we have adapted well to each other. The purpose of today’s column is to update you on Raji’s training.
According to the “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan most dogs can be house trained by ten months. Raji achieved this in less than seven months. He certainly was a challenge but it wasn’t his fault. Raji was brought home from the breeder in early March. Imagine putting your puppy outside and attempting to walk him in Sault Ste Marie during the winter. Raji’s only desire was to head back into a warm house. Besides waiting for warmer weather the secret to house training has been exercise. The dogs and I walk an average of five times daily. Even in extremely hot weather we will head out for about an eight minute walk followed by cooling and water.
Pugs are normally very fixated on food. In fact besides sleeping and cuddling the consumption of food is a Pug’s main activity. Now, food is important to Raji but not his main focus. He is fed on a schedule but often Raji will initially ignore his food and returns later. Of course he is fascinated with any nourishment intended for the cats or Beau (our Shih-Tzu). Shortly after 10 months Raji will be switched over from puppy food to the adult stuff. I have begun to introduce Raji to appropriate healthy human food such as apples, carrots etc.
Raji expects wait…let me rephrase that… demands constant attention. The fact I may be sitting on the couch trying to watch some television is completely irrelevant to Raji. He has adopted the following approach to deal with an inattentive (in his mind) master. Raji will pick out a favourite toy and jump on the couch beside me. He will then attack and maul said toy. In an instant he abandons the chewable article for something else to chomp on. The “something else” is any piece of my exposed body. The fight is on. Of course I eventually win by rubbing/scratching Raji’s stomach or back while expressing how cute and adorable he is.
From past experience I have learned once a Pug sleeps on a bed that becomes his permanent night time location. Raji has a large crate where he spends the night. He has adapted well to this arrangement. During the daytime if I have a snooze Raji is right beside me on the couch. Of course this is a rare occasion as I spend my retirement days cooking and cleaning. During these nap times it is not uncommon to have Raji beside me; Beau in-between my legs and Sanchez on the arm of the couch up against me.
Raji has developed a positive relationship with the other household pets. (Three cats and Beau). At any moment the serenity of our home disappears with Raji either chasing or being chased by one of the cats. Beau and Raji get along for the most part. Beau is a mature dog (9 years old) and lets Raji know if he doesn’t want to play. During my walks with the dogs we have met many other canines. I have to be cautious when this happens. Raji loves every other living creature in existence and wants to get in their face and lick them. He doesn’t understand the concept that perhaps the strange dog might like to get to know him first.
Apparently our provincial politicians have returned to work in Toronto. At some point our federal representatives will show up in Ottawa. Let me sum up the message both these groups will be sending to the electorate ….. Blah, blah, blah and hold it right there more blah, blah, blah etc. I mention the above to compare it to the intelligent, meaningful sound a Pug makes when he wants attention; or to play; or perhaps a dog treat. When it comes to communication or having positive interaction politicians could learn a lot from dogs. Exception to the above could be the sniffing the butt thing. Yes it is effective to establish relationships but humans would have to sort out some social norms things.
As I see it when I retired I got two main gifts. From work a large panoramic picture of Lambeau Field. From my family a brand new companion Raji. Now this is my definition of perfection.