Saturday, February 1, 2020

A Day in the life of Darling Darby.

He knows when I am sleeping and he definitely knows when I awake.

As morning creeps across the horizon and he hears the furnace kick on, he gets off his bed, sits sweetly and patiently by the side of the bed until I reach out my hand. Then, he jumps up and down like Tigger, from Winnie the Pooh books, ears flapping adorably. When I pat the bed, up he jumps with sweet good morning kisses. 

He gets belly rubs after that, time to go out and, of course, breakfast. He gobbles down every kibble, licks the bowl and goes to his mat in the kitchen.

Counter surfer no more. 

When we adopted Darby from Guide Dogs, he had some issues. Dumpster Diving. Counter Surfing. Jumping and lease pulling. Mouthing. For the Guide Dog program, these were reasons he had to be ‘career’ changed. I got the lucky call to adopt him. 

Dumpster Diving was the first to be checked off the list. All my garbage cans are behind doors. Darby has no access and therefore, no more dumpster diving!

Counter Surfing is not a problem. One reason, no food is left out on counters within his reach. Two, when cooking happens and food is out, he stays on his mat in the kitchen. He gets small handfuls of his food to snack on while our food is being cooked. Problem solved. 

Walks in the park. 

I love to walk. Almost everyday, you’ll see my husband, Darby and I walking around the lake. I also take Darby on ‘second’ walks several days a week to keep us both in shape. 

Darby’s a very enthusiastic, energetic extroverted dog. He loves every person, child and dog we pass. He wants to run over, jump up and down and lick them all. I love him for it but not everyone shares his enthusiasm. 

So our walks provide ongoing teaching moments. Darby learns with every step, every dog, every person we meet. He knows how to heel in. Sit and wait. Pass without pulling. And he gets kibble bites when he gets it right, which is more times than not now. Problem (almost) solved. 

Greets and treats.

When the doorbell rings or the garage door goes up, Darby gets excited. Now I’ve taught him to bark on command because I want him to alert me. And he does it gladly. 

When I open the door, he rushes up to everyone with 70 pounds of exuberance. I find it funny. But for others, it’s just too much. So I’ve been working on a training routine for greeting. 

He goes to his place and waits. I go to the door. I open the door, let the person in and then go back to Darby. If he has waited, he gets a treat. Then I pull out another treat, lead him to the new person saying, ‘easy greet’. Well, let’s just say this is a work in progress and it’s much better now. 

You know what’s so much better now? I couldn’t imagine a day in my life without my darling Darby. 

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