Still Life with Dog

Before I even met Cabana for the first time, I had already HEARD her. I was in the waiting room backstage at the GDB Holiday Luncheon, and she was with all the other puppies in the puppy holding area outside. The whole time we were waiting for our turn on stage (quite a long time), the other puppy raisers and I could hear one dog, barking insistently...loudly...untiringly. I knew we were all thinking the same thing--"I hope that's not the puppy I'm bringing home." Well, that barker turned out to be Cabana.

For the first two weeks, Cabana barked quite a lot. She barked at bedtime when we put her in her crate, she barked when she needed to go potty, she barked at other dogs, and she barked for no reason at all. But since that time, Cabana has learned not to vocalize that way. For the past 2 months, although she does sometimes whine or make other small sounds, she has honestly not barked once.

Until tonight.

Our family's schedule is very routine and punctual. For the most part, we get up, eat our meals, go to work/school, get home from work/school, at about the same time every day. (Yes, we're boring.) We eat dinner around 6:00, then my husband does the dishes (yes, he's a good husband). After he does the dishes, he gives Cabana her dinner, and she does her happy dance.

But tonight, my husband was watching the NCAA tournament after dinner, intending to do the dishes a little later. Cabana got her little nose bent out of shape, came over to me, and started whining--"where's my dinner, Mom?" I told her to stop, and she did.

At 6:30, her regular dinner time, since my husband was still watching the game, I got up to get dinner for her. While I was getting her food ready, she BARKED at me--LOUDLY! Just one bark. I reprimanded her for it--but I was shocked! I hadn't heard that sound for months, and it kind of amazed me!

Hopefully, the barking won't continue. But it did make me wonder if Cabana is a dog that likes routine anyway--or if that's a result of our family's pattern. I wonder if she will need to be with a person who also has a regular routine, or if she would just as easily adapt to a person with a crazy schedule.

The photo above was taken at my bosses' house (which is also where I work--in the studio above their garage). Cabana was sitting so peacefully in the alcove, and her coat matched so well with the light wood colors. Very feng shui! (Click on it to view larger--it's such a pretty picture!)

raiserally  – (March 19, 2009 at 9:04 PM)  

She's adorable! Very nice picture of the girl! I have no take on the barking for you, though. Iverson never was a barker and we always just discouraged barking during play with any pups. The Shepherds we worked with were known to bark but they were eventually put in citronella collars for alert barking. Sorry! You're doing a good job with the girl!

Natalie  – (March 19, 2009 at 11:48 PM)  

Wow, that is a GORGEOUS picture, I love it! Cabana is such a pretty girl :)

Madison and Andros  – (March 20, 2009 at 6:12 AM)  

I live that picture! Andros is a patient pup yesterday I forgot to feed him till 9:00 pm..woops!

Taelor, Franklin, and Pilaf  – (March 20, 2009 at 8:17 AM)  

What a beautiful picture!!! I love the colors.

As for the barking, I would maybe try changing around her schedule a bit more frequently? My leaders have always said that our dogs needed to learn to be flexible, so don't be afraid t feed them too early, or too late! Of course, we are so busy, that our dogs end up eating at wierd times anyway!

~Taelor, Franklin, and Pilaf~

Cabana's Puppy Raiser  – (March 20, 2009 at 11:06 AM)  

Great suggestion, Taelor. You're right, we need to shake things up sometimes. Next month, we're doing a puppy swap, which will be good for all of us.

Poppy The Puppy  – (March 20, 2009 at 11:30 PM)  

Whatever you do, she will adapt. Some dogs need a tight schedule because they have more acid in their tummies. My last pup ate every 12 hours, or there was a price to pay! (That said, she also became very good at using a poop bag for other things! She will aim for whatever you put in front of her mouth.)

Being adaptable is important, but life at home is different. Accord doesn't miss the clock hitting 7:30 when we are at home, but he's not having issues at puppy meetings or any other time that dinner is late. He has also learned that sleeping in WILL happen on weekends. If he bugs me awake on a Saturday morning, he will end up crated in another room. Him waking me up will NEVER get him food before I am ready.

These pups are super smart. They pick up on so many things that we are not even aware of. They are aware of our schedules, our body language, our mannerisms and all that we do. They are more aware than we are!

While Cabana should not equate a late dinner with dying, a routine is ok. Unless you live a totally chaotic life, most people have some sort of schedule that they keep. One bark isn't the end of the world. As long as she stops and it is not a regular habit. She's just telling her Daddy that HE is supposed to feed dinner! Our cats are currently trying to tell their dad the same thing! They eat on our way to bed, but someone is asleep in the recliner...

Becky  – (March 21, 2009 at 8:06 PM)  

I remember one of the rare times Pantera barked as a guide ... We were at GDB and she heard the clanking of the other students getting their bowls to feed their dogs - I was on the phone and she wanted to make it clear that it was time for dinner! Cricket when home is very aware of time to eat ... when we are away she is great to be adaptable.

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