May 13, 2014

Reactive Follies, Smart Dog is Smart and Managed Playtime

On this Ruby Tuesday I have a trio of unrelated tales to tell as life continues in a temporarily two-dog household.  The ginger dogs have settled into a comfortable routine, with Boca showing more of her sweet, funny, playful self every day. Last night I was sitting in the center of the loveseat bookended by matching red-and-white dogs. I love preparing their breakfast in the morning and then being entertained by their accompanying wrestling on my bed like two monkeys while I get ready for work. 

All these fun and games are not without their snafus; however, as I was reminded on our evening walk last night, the sun having finally emerged after a freak May snowstorm that had camped out over Colorado for more than 24 hours. Just about the time that Boca made a pitstop on the townhouse complex lawn, another person walking a dog came into view about 100 feet away. Boca does not seem to care one way or another about other dogs but Ruby is of course another story. As I had poop to scoop, I couldn't make my usual fast exit, so I did my best to wrangle Ruby with one hand encased in a pink, citrus-scented bag. In Ruby's frantic leaping about she managed to twirl right into the pile with one lovely white hind foot. I took a deep breath and tried to think of the funny story it would make on my blog instead of seeing red. The other dog eventually disappeared from view and I completed my pick-up job and untangled leashes. Luckily the five inches of slushy spring snow that blanketed the lawn returned Ruby's paw to its pristine condition before we got home. The whole experience was a reminder that walking two dogs is far more than twice as hard when one of those dogs is reactive. 

All was soon forgotten, especially when Ruby surprised me with a cute example of her cleverness. This cold, wet weather gave me the opportunity to try out the Tall Tails pocket towel that was included in a Bugsy's Box that I won in a giveaway. It was probably the third time I used the towel, so I was astonished when Ruby remained expectantly still after I removed her harness and collar. She was most definitely waiting to be dried off! Ruby is not a dog that likes to be fussed with, and normally she is weaseling away before I have her gear unlatched, but she clearly enjoyed getting rubbed down with the soft towel. So sweet and smart!

One of the things that realized I was missing in my short time as a multi-dog household was one-on-one playtime with Ruby. While the girls generally play well together, I still have to do a lot of policing so that things don't get out of hand. I've learned which toys they share well, and which ones cause problems. Last night I decided to play tug with Ruby in the living room as per our previous daily routine, but I did not want Boca to feel left out. My solution was to put Boca behind the dog gate in the kitchen and toss the purple dragon toy that I won recently over for her. I would tug with Ruby, ask for a release, put her in a down-stay and retrieve and toss the dragon for Boca. Both dogs had so much fun, and it was a great exercise in patience for Ruby. Boca has a very soft mouth and gave me the dragon willingly, bounding after it exuberantly each time. I'll be employing this routine regularly!

After our play session, I worked with both girls in the kitchen and got some great pictures of them posing together, with Ruby being her usual over-achieving, show-off self. Look for some of the shots tomorrow for Wordless Wednesday, or take a peek on Instagram!


  1. They do match so well! You are doing such an amazing job making sure they are both exercised and trained! I have always had trouble focusing on more than one dog at a time which is one of the reasons I prefer a one-dog house.

    Can't wait to see the pictures tomorrow!

    1. I'm doing fairly minimal training with Boca, but thought it would be nice if she had a few basics "installed." Overall she is a really easy dog, which is one reason I think she deserves her very own family.

    2. It's such a funny logic--the "easy" dog deserves a "regular" family. I totally get what you mean, but still. One gets into a weird kind of martyrdom, almost, "I can handle crazy dog, so crazy dog is what I deserve." OTOH, I often think about my "next" dog, and find the concept of owning a non-crazy dog to be appealing, but also kind of boring.

    3. It isn't that I *want* to end up with another challenging dog that no one wants to adopt, either - but when activities are already managed for one dog, it does make it less of a big deal. I would also like, if not an *easy* dog, one that could go more places (especially hiking) but in reality I wasn't totally sold on the idea of two dogs and the fact that Boca is low maintenance and highly adoptable makes the decision a bit easier. I still feel a bit blue seeing her up on the rescue website today, though.


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