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.
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 tablespoons...no 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.