Thursday, June 5, 2014

Scheduling for Tyrant Poodles

Dog lovers, you know how important it is to get your pup on a schedule.  A good schedule;  not a poo-when-you-stand-up schedule or whiz-when-the-wind-blows schedule.  A genuine sleep, eat, walk and empty kidneys/colon schedule.  It really makes a pet enjoyable!

Coco, our dog (frequently rant fodder), is on a very tight schedule, but I swear I didn't make it that tight. You could set a clock by her.  At times, she can be very accommodating to her human slaves; her evening walk-a-dump occurs promptly at 6 p.m..  On occasion, I get tied up and come home later - she never has an accident. So, call that the good news part of the tale.

Here's the bad news: she's a tyrant.  Cute? Yes. Lovable? Oh, gosh, yes. Tyrant?  Absolutely. Most dogs live a life on the periphery of the human existence. Coco is front and center, directing the whole household to her needs, and all needs must be addressed now.  Friendly advice: Don't tick off the poodle.

Typical day:

6:30 a.m.  Noting the time, Coco goes to the side of the bed and wakes my hubby. She IS the alarm clock.  Hubzam gets up. Coco goes out, if it is not raining.  If raining, she delays it till she knows it's her last chance before he leaves.  If I get up and try to take her out, she runs to her blanket on the chair and pretends to sleep.  Why?  Because that's not my job or my turn - it's his job, his turn.  Tip: Follow the designated poodle schedule, people!

7:30 a.m.  The normal time for my hubby to go to work.  If he detours from this plan, Coco wakes me up and when I ask what she wants, she jumps up on her blanket and looks at the door repeatedly.  It's like she is telling on him.  

"That guy left early. Go after  him. Fetch. "

On a normal day, when hubby leaves for work at 7:30 a.m., she will tap on my arm as I lay in bed, hundreds of times, if necessary - until I finally get up, too.  If I close the bedroom door to mess with her plan and catch a few more winks, she'll scratch on the door once or twice. Realizing that the door is an impenetrable barrier, she will use the power of poodle theatrics. Coco will lay down on the opposite side of the door, leaning on it. The shadow and fur extend under the door, helping to accentuate her separation anxiety. For added woe-play, she sticks her nose under the door and makes a sniffing noise like she is a bloodhound.  Nobody can sleep through that.  No matter what occurs or how late I'm up the night before - I'm making coffee at 7:30 a.m. at the very latest.  Thanks, Coco.

8:00 a.m.   She goes into hover mode.  During the school year, this is when we home school.  She's learned that we won't deviate from that too much, so she plants herself on her blanket and vegs out. If I use the desk or kitchen table, she'll plant herself at my feet.  If I go to the laundry room, she will stand and stare till I get back to homeschooling.  In a nutshell, she is within a foot of me at all times, except when I close the bathroom door; and you must truly close it, or she will push it open and come and sit on my feet as I grace the throne.  She doesn't want me to have to go through the whole bathroom experience alone.  She's thoughtful (smirk).

Magically, she knows the beginning of summer vacation and replaces her hover mode with crazy, obsessive ball play.  Everywhere I go, everything I do, there's the dog with a ball.  I've even tried to be difficult by pointing to different spots on the floor for her to "drop it,"  as if I'm being super picky about where she lays it.  She's re-positioned that ball in excess of 20 times in response to my dictator-of-the-ball demands;  she is fine with that and waits me out. Coco is nothing, if not persistent.

Company will be sized up before she offers the ball.  If more than one person comes over, she circles them with the ball in her mouth till she decides who is worthy.   Hint: You don't want to be worthy of the poodle attention unless that was the only reason you came to my home.

8 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. promptly:  Meal time, or more correctly, when she eats;  Coco gets exactly four tablespoons of food.  Give her more and she carries it in to the living room and plants it on the carpet.  It will stay there till I pick it up;  it's like a customer sending back bad food.  She won't touch the extra pieces.  If I don't give her enough OR (heaven forbid!) she runs out of food or water, she will carry the metal dish right to me and fling it at my feet.  Warning: Don't bring on the wrath of the poodle.

Special instructions:  when she is done with breakfast, she wants you to go ahead and put dinner in the bowl (it's dry food) so she can look at it all day till 6:15 p.m.  When everyone goes to bed at night, she checks the bowl to make sure I've "loaded it" for the morning.  Exactly four more, no less, or I get glared at till I mend my evil ways.  Give in; the red scoop holds two tablespoonfuls.  Don't fight it.

She gets medicine at 9 p.m.  I don't have to remember that because she goes to the kitchen and scratches on the refrigerator when it's time.  It's annoying.  

At 10:30 p.m., she expects my husband and son to go to bed (not me, I stay up till 1 a.m. or more, typically).  She'll pace, or scratch the refrigerator, or put the ball in their laps - anything to annoy, till someone stands up and gets out of her favorite chair - then she jumps in the chair and wants her blanket.  The blanket must be laid exactly the way she wants it;  frequently, she'll spend ten minutes fixing our dog bed making mistakes. Coco recognizes that we are blanket imbeciles, and so she just does it herself. Then it's snooze time till morning.

I guess I should be glad that she is friendly and smart; kids love it when I make her do all her tricks - she's a big hit. It's a big plus that she will wait till I get home, and she's never chewed up anything. We love her!  But I realize that she isn't the one with the great schedule - I am! My dog created the schedule,  not me.

And once again, I think I might know the real reason the dognappers returned her after a month.


  1. Hello again, dear Cherdo! I always appreciate a little Coco first thing in the morning and you delivered. Remember the boy in my story on JJ's blog, the one who ran for help as I was being beaten by bullies? He had a black standard size poodle named Buttons. I often played ball with Buttons and pictured him as you described your poodle in this post. I also thought about my dearly departed cocker spaniel, Toto. She died nearly a year ago at age 14.

    All of the quirky behavior you mentioned here applied to Toto. If she had her way I would never sleep at night or take a nap during the day. She expected me to be on duty 24-7 to cater to her needs. If I stretched out on the sofa to watch TV she would get a running start from across the room, leap and land next to me at which time she would head butt me until I gave in and petted her. The moment I stopped petting, scratching or massaging her, she butted me again. If I went to the bathroom she became panic stricken with separation anxiety and tried to beat down the door to get in to me . If you closed the door to the bedroom in a futile attempt to sleep undisturbed, she would do what Coco does, plop down against the door, fur visible through the crack, and sniff and cry until you let her in. Toto was responsible for a total of 1,456,023 accidents on the rug during her 14 years of life. At the time, Mrs. Shady and I did lots of complaining about her messes, but we would give anything for just one more day with our beloved dog, named after the one Dorothy owned in The Wizard of Oz.

    1. My previous dog, Cleo, passed away at 18 1/2 years old and I missed her like I had lost a child. People might consider that crazy, but it's true. These doggles become part of the family and that was just a huge void when we lost her.

      Thanks for the link! :-)

  2. My two boys pace when they know it's time to eat or time for me to go to bed or whatever. Willy Dunne Wooters says they are like sharks circling him.


    1. I love that you called them "my two boys," Janie! Sweet!


Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo