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    We're good at learning rules...from other dogs.

    It's a lot easier for me to learn a new rule than a new trick. Tricks take forever to learn... and they usually come with a thousand treats. And they're not very practical... but they do make my people happy. Tricks are not rules. With rules I don't get any treats... but I follow them because they're important.

    When my dad opens the door my rule is to stay behind it until he tells me it's safe. When new clients come to the store my dad has a rule... stay on the couch.

    Dogs teach each other rules all the time. If you've ever been to the dog park you might have noticed that the biggest, fastest dog might set a dog-park rule... 'this is my tennis ball... don't touch'.

    I love it when humans connect with us by using rules (like we see in the dog park) with treats (like when I do something good during training).  Here's a little example of what I mean.


    Does your breath stink?

    Elk Antlers from This & That Canine Co.My breath doesn't stink anymore... but it used to.  My oral hygiene wasn't exactly up to par and I was eating crap from an open bag that was sitting in a closet for over a month.   Both of these were the culprits preventing my mom from wanting any kisses from me. My dad didn't seem to care.

    Recently my dad started to give all the dogs at the daycare elk antlers from This & That Canine Co.  We absolutely love them!  They last forever and all I do is chew chew chew.  It cleans my teeth so much better than when I chew the bark off of sticks... and it's natural... hello!  I chew them every day and my teeth have never been cleaner.  I've heard of other dogs who go to the vet to get an anesthetic then get their teeth cleaned... ummm, not for me thanks.

    My dad also started to feed me fresh unprocessed food which is delicious. Now I get stuff like carrots, zucchini, eggs, yogurt, meats, and other fresh stuff mixed in with my kibble. Good thing... I was starting to hate that kibble.  It's like eating cheerios every day for your entire life.  My coat feels smoother and looks shinier and I have more energy.  AND... my breath smells great.  This comes in handy when I surprise my mom with a kisses.

    A Lick in the Face

    One cosmic law that I’m beginning to familiarize myself with is the law of ‘Giving and Receiving’.  In a nutshell, always give more than you take and always give cheerfully and with love.  Expect nothing in return.  Do this a few times and you just might find that you receive in abundance... the things that you need... but likely not in the form that you’re expecting, nor at the time that you expect it.  I'm delighted when the cosmos surprise me this way.

    If Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs for dogs, grooming would be at the top of his list.  Grooming is something that’s vitally important to your dog's health, but it’s not something that he can take care of entirely by himself.  Sure, he’s capable of licking his private parts on a daily basis (usually just before he gives you a big kiss), and he’s very capable of scratching away at his fur when he has a bur.  But he can’t reach everywhere, and he usually makes a bigger mess doing this than if he had some human help.

    If you’ve ever owned two pets then you’ve probably seen them lick the shmutz out of one another’s eyes.  I notice that when they perform this act they’re so sweet and loving.  I imagine it’s reminiscent of when their mother licks them clean as a pup.

    Each day we should make a point to attentively run our hands up and down the entire body of our dog.  We do this to mindfully scan our dog for injuries, but also to give him a quick massage (similar to a shampoo at the hairdressers).  We're checking to see if our dog has any injuries or sensitivities that may not be visible because it's hiding under their thick winter coats.  We should check their paw pads and see if they’re cracked and chapped from the ice and salt.  We should check to see if their ears need cleaning, or if their nails need trimming.  We should get the gunk out of their eyes, and if it doesn’t gross us out, then we should offer it to them to lick off our finger.  (It’s what they know how to do!)  If they have long hair we should brush them methodically at least once a week.  We should be cautious not to over bath them... their coats have oils designed to keep them clean.  Brushing and massaging helps to stimulate blood flow and exfoliate dead skin.
    Remember... grooming can be a chore, or it can be a selfless act of love.  As you sow so shall you reap.