Two months ago, we brought home the newest member of our family, Snug Eleanor. While much of my time has been dedicated towards her puppy training, in turn she has taught me things for my heroine training, so I asked her to share her top life lessons for humans.
Life Lessons from A Dog
by Snug Eleanor Robinson-Burns
Hi people! I’m Snug the Samoyed.
My human Xandra asked me to share some of my top tips for life. Here you go!
Go on adventures (and bring me)!
At my puppy class I learnt that I need to experience all kinds of new things, especially while I’m still a baby. I hear that doing new things is good for humans too.
In fact, Xandra’s takeaway from February’s Happiness Book Club book, Sane New World by Ruby Wax is that “Novelty builds neurons”. (She said to include this. I don’t know what neurons are though; I’m a dog).
When she leaves me at home in my crate she better be out doing interesting stuff to make leaving me at home worth it!
Bark less, smile more.
We Sammies are famous for our smiley faces. When I smile at the humans they can’t help but smile back!
When I sit by the door nicely and smile, they say “good ghoul!” and take me outside.
Barking at the humans seems to agitate them. I still do it though…
Decide what’s okay for me to chew.
It’s called teething, humans. A pup’s gotta chew. If you don’t give me something to chew I’ll go for your books, the furniture, and the floor, all of which are mega tasty.
If you give me my own toys though, we can all be happy!
Xandra says this rule of puppy training is a good reminder for her to keep healthy snacks on hand for her human self too, to keep from eating dairy and sugar, which upset her tummy.
One trick at a time, people.
If you try to teach me too many tricks at once, it’s confusing! Whether you’re teaching a pup to lie down or learning a new habit for yourself, focus on one at a time (and bring lots of treats).
Reading for fun is the best way to calm down.
The humans have been reading me this great book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. After a few pages I settle down to listen calmly.
Xandra says reading helps her relax too. When she’s having reading time I wander over and take a sniff at her book.
Stretch out often, especially after waking up.
I like to splay out before, during, and after my naps. It’s the comfiest way to be, and good for my muscles too. Come on humans, join in!
Practice doing scary things, so they’re not so scary anymore.
At first I thought that big metal crate was the scariest thing in the world! The humans taught me that it’s actually really nice, and now it’s my cosy safe space. I go in there when I need some peace and quiet, and I hide my coolest toys in there.
I’m always super excited to see humans, but Xandra can get nervous about meeting new people. She set a goal to meet 100 new people for an hour, partly to make the scary thing less scary!
I try to help her as much as I can by approaching every human we pass and howling “Haaaave you met Xandra?”.
Lead by example.
If you panic and shout at me, I’m going to panic and shout at you! But if you’re patient and calm, I’ll calm down too. Treat others how you want to be treated.