"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it along to someone else." Mitch Albom

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Day in the Life of Jet

Lots of cuddling is part of his everyday life!

I always get many questions and comments about my "poor puppies" and how they always have to work and never get to play or just be a dog.  So I thought I would do a post about "A Day in the Life of Jet".   While this post specifically reflects Jet's daily life, I know that all of the KSDS dogs in formal training and graduates also have play time every day.  They are well loved and get extremely good care.   This is a post about what Jet's life at home is like.  Most of my posts are about when we go out and about and do something challenging or exciting.  That's not his everyday life.  He does go on outings, on my minor errands, and to work, but the vast majority of my life is driving kids around (so he is a very good car rider) or at home doing things that all mommies do.  I don't lead a super exciting life.  It is important that he learns to be a good puppy at home as well as out and about because that is where the majority of people spend most of their time.
Jet starts his day at about 6:15-6:30 a.m.  He comes out of his kennel where he sleeps, goes outside for a break, and comes back in to eat.  Then returns outside for another break.  Mealtime is a great time for "training" in patience and respecting me.  He does not eat until I tell him he can.  He follows this procedure for anyone who is feeding him.  The first several weeks I had him I was the only person who fed him and I fed him by hand.  A dog is going to bond the best with the person feeding them.

He has a morning ritual of chewing his bone for about 30 minutes after he eats.  He really doesn't chew on it a whole lot at any other time during the day, but he really seems to need to chew at that time.  This is what he does while I'm getting ready for the day.  Until I dry my hair.  At this time he comes in and lays directly behind me with his back against the back of my legs.  He is very relaxed, but he does have a need to be  near me when I do this.  He also ALWAYS lays outside the door when I'm in the restroom.  I know when I open that door he will be in a Down with those big brown eyes looking up at me.  The rest of the time he is always in the same room as me, but not necessarily in a particular spot.  He's always very near me, though.  If I move to another room, he follows.  He can be in the deepest sleep and know when I have changed rooms.

On the rare occasion that both Pat and I leave (and he's not going  with me that day) he knows he goes in his kennel.  He goes very willingly and settles right down.  His kennel is his safe place and he doesn't mind it at all.  When he was a puppy he would put himself in there when he needed a break from his day.  On days that Pat is working from home, he spends his time under Pat's desk or in the same room with him.  When he goes to work with me, he spends the majority of the day under my desk sleeping.  So the days he goes to work are not all that different from the days he is kenneled while we are at work.  

Throughout the day I look for training that can be incorporated into my daily tasks.  Anything I can use to desensitize him to noise, sudden sounds, general household racket, etc.  In my busy household this is not hard.  He is used to the vacuum cleaner, kitchen appliances, hair dryer, loud music, working out, power tools, etc.  

I also take advantage of anything I can find for him to have something new and different in his mouth.  He carried this slick gift bag back and forth between my daughter and I several times.  He really likes this task and will grab things and "ask" to practice this skill.  This is not pre-planned training.  It is just things I find when he's up and about from his extensive napping to keep him busy and learning.  He loves it!  This is playtime for him and I always let him practice when he wants to.  He also knows "drop it" and "leave it" so if he grabs something he shouldn't I simply give that command and replace the item with something acceptable, praising him the whole time.  It's important he doesn't get in trouble for retrieving things for me.  He will need to retrieve a wide variety of items in his future.  He should see this as a positive thing to do, not something he will get in trouble for.

I also find anything I can to rub him with or sit very close to him when he is in a down position.  He really doesn't like this for some reason.  He is very suspicious of objects being close to him when he is in that position.   
Something else I do on a daily basis is walk over the top of him when he's lying down.  I make sure he is comfortable with me coming over him from all directions.  This is something he hated when he was younger, but could now care less about.

Notice none of this has been presented as a "formal training session" but rather just being mindful in my everyday life to do things that will help prepare him for his world.  He does get about 15 minutes of  intentional training 3-4 times per week.  I do this to specifically teach something before I add it into our daily routine of practicing when the opportunity arises or to specifically correct things he might need work on.

He eats his second meal at around 4:30.  After that... 

...he gets LOTS of play time.  EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!  He is a regular puppy who loves to play!  On the weekends, he gets even more playtime.  While I do make sure to participate in his playtime sometimes, the majority of this time is done with his boy.  He LOVES to be outside with his boy!

He starts winding down his day at around 7:00.  Even though he has spent a lot of time sleeping thoughout the day,  he is still a great sleeper at night.  He is very particular about his bedtime.  Around 8:30 every night, he gets very restless and persistent about going to bed.  He is tired!  Some evenings this means he gets to have snuggle time in my lap where he goes to sleep and some nights this means he goes to his kennel.  He practically dives in there he is so excited about going to bed.  He snuggles up and is out for the night.  And that is a day in the life of Jet!

*Notice I didn't write anything about his health care in this post.  I will cover that next.  But, just so you know, that is part of his bedtime ritual after the kids go to bed.