Saturday, July 6, 2013

Accommodating Your Dog's Feelings: I’m Just Going Out With The Garbage, Honey

by Jana Rade

A walk in the woods is great. Freedom of no leash makes it even better.
We always considered our dog(s) in everything we did. Be it a choice of place to live, choice of a vehicle, where to go for holiday …

The Pooch Coach
If you asked Jasmine, she’d tell you that the most important accommodation were her daily walks.

Seriously. If you don’t want to walk, don’t get a dog. Get a cat. Or gold fish.

Special accommodations need to be made when your dog gets injured or sick.

After Jasmine’s knee injury, we moved most of our life to the main floor. We used to have a living room in the basement. But stairs were out of the question with the busted knee. And spending time downstairs and leaving Jasmine behind was totally out of the question. So the living area moved up to the main floor.

The system of stairs and decks for easy access
Accommodations included covering the entire floor with carpets and rugs, building ramp(s), making sure Jasmine had safe access to everything she needed and wanted.

Considerations for physical needs is important. But what about emotions?

I admit I was quite obsessive about making sure Jasmine’s feelings didn’t get hurt.

Office trailer featuring doggy windows
When we found out she was allergic to chicken, that was the end of having chicken in our house. 

Stuffing my face with something good I couldn’t share? Wouldn't happen.

When we took Jasmine swimming, quite often other dogs would steal the toy we threw for her to fetch. 

She didn’t argue with them, but it did make her sad. So I started getting into the water with her, making sure she did get to fetch her toy without anybody stealing it. We both enjoyed doing this together, we did it even when there were no other dogs around.

When Jasmine’s best buddy was able to come out for play dates less and less frequently, it was making her very sad.

It was very obvious that she KNEW it was going to be a long time before she'd see him again. That’s when I decided we needed to get a second dog, so she had her own beck and call buddy.

Jasmine's best buddy
Jasmine never really get much upset about another dog snatching her treat. Why? 

Because she knew that if that happened, she not only immediately got a replacement, but a second piece to make up for the mental anguish of losing the original one.

Her entire life, until the injured knee, she got to enjoy all off-leash walks. Suddenly she was to be bound to a leash. I was very worried she might see that as punishment of sorts. I insisted we had to find some new trails we’ve never been to, which would be designated as the “on-leash” trails.

My hope was that she’d figure that the leash was because of the place, not anything she did.

When, after her surgeries, she couldn’t go for any walks at all, her feelings were hurt enough by that. And then I was supposed to take JD for his walks, to rub it in? Of course, I couldn’t have that. So we invented a new system. I packed up the garbage, “I’m just taking out the garbage, honey.” Meanwhile, hubby let JD out into the back yard. I left through the front door with the garbage and then sneaked JD out of the yard for his walk. When we came back, I came back in through the front again and hubby let JD in from the yard. No, I don’t think that Jasmine didn’t know what we were doing.

But I do think she appreciated us not rubbing it in her face.

When she could start going out for short walks, hubby took her out first, then I quickly sneaked out with JD on the other side. Then, again, I returned through the front and JD from the yard.

I even went as far as making sure I didn’t put on my “walking” pants. Jasmine knew very well which pants were for walking and which were for inside the house. Putting on the walking pants meant we were going for a walk. Not taking her for a walk meant I could not put those on.

So I was freezing my bum out on a walk with JD wearing my house pants.

Interestingly, the garbage became a communication tool between us. When we were going somewhere where she couldn’t come along, such as to the doctor’s office, all I had to do was to pack up the garbage. When she saw that she’d go and settle down on her bed. “I’m just going out with the garbage, honey.”

Call me crazy, but her feelings were just as important to me as her physical well-being.

What accommodations do/did you make to keep your dog from getting your dog’s feelings from getting hurt?


Related articles:
Exercise And Injuries In A Multi Dog Household: Rodrigo's Limp 
Jasmine's Disc Injury: Spanking New Ramp
The Ups And Downs Of Dog Ramps


  1. Awww you were so awesome with Jasmine. Not all furchildren are that lucky. We do the same things. Buy vehicles for Titan, make sure he can run and play inside w/out falling on hardwood floors so we bought rugs, built a deck outside so he can go up and down the steps easier plus have a nice place to lay, and so much more. People who don't care about their furchildren's emotions or lives simple should not have them imo.

    1. Titan is pretty lucky too!

      Jasmine loved the deck for a lookout; for laying down she'd typically get under it or under the trailer, where she built her own Grand Canyon :-)

    2. Thank you and yes, Titan is quite a lucky boy!

      I love that "Grand Canyon"! haha The deck is awesome as a lookout. Titan can see out across the entire yard. Loves it!

  2. You gave Jasmine your all physically and emotionally...Gizmo doesn't like to be left out of anything and though some may say I spoil him, to me including him in activities, even if that means passing up some where he's not welcome, is natural...I have a better time when we can enjoy things together

    1. Thank you, Gizmo.

      I agree with you. We didn't go anywhere we couldn't take the dogs along. Simple.

      Once we went to visit hubby's friend at their campground, by Ottawa. At night, they wanted to take us to town for dinner. "Can't you just tie the dogs up and go?"

      Nope. So we had a nice dinner on their porch, it was just as nice and the dogs could have been part of it.

  3. No doubt that Jasmine was loved by her parents! We should all be so lucky to have such a devoted generous family to watch over us!

    Jana you are an inspiration and I love your blog!!

    I feel like I know Jasmine..see she lives in us forever! Thanks for sharing her with us..

    1. Thank you, Krista.

      She got all the love she could take, and then some :-)

  4. We've had two dogs for many years now, so trying to be fair to each of them can be a challenge sometimes. I try to make sure they get equal attention, treats, exercise, etc. Jasmine was a lucky girl, but she knew that.

    1. Thank you. Yes, she knew she had us wrapped around her little paw. She'd say it was fruits of her labor :-)

  5. What a lovely story! Jasmine was such a very lucky girl. We haven't had to start making adjustments yet, but I'm sure we will and I'll definitely remember this story and how thoughtful you were.

    1. Thank you, Kolly. There wasn't anything I wouldn't do for my little girl. She got me trained well. I was just walking around thinking about what I could do for her next :-)

  6. Hi Jana,

    I hear you, and I especially love the dog windows! I keep meaning to build a ramp up to one of our windows for Cokie.

    We don't have a dog, but people think we're nuts for having our incontinent cat wear pants for the last ... going on six years now - the result of a long ago fall from a palm tree. He stays in his room nekid when we're not home, but on go the pants so he can come out with us as soon as we get back, and we don't stay out too long anymore. He's also not good - horrible - with other people taking care of him, so we haven't gone on a vacation together for five years. He's our very special mancat and we'd do anything for him.


    1. Kristin, sorry about the palm tree mishap :-( He's one lucky cat, having you.

      The windows were an instant success! After installed, as the guys got into the trailer, they headed straight for them :-)

  7. Aw, Jasmine was one lucky pup. :)

    I think we're constantly making adjustments, both big and small, for Bella and Tavish. They're my top priority, so I totally understand where you're coming from.

    1. Bella and Tavish are very lucky too!

      Though Jasmine would say that luck had nothing to do with it, it was careful planning and hard work :-) One way or another, she was the center of the universe.

  8. Wow, that is interesting. It makes sense, because dogs sure pick up on certain details. Like you said, I'm sure she had it figured out (that you weren't really just taking out the garbage), but at least this was a way to communicate with her and she seemed to appreciate your respect for her feelings.

    1. Sometimes I thought I might be over-thinking things ... but with her, probably really not. She noticed everything. And often you wouldn't think she was paying attention, and yet she was.

      A great example was biped bed time. She'd get on the bed while furry biped was brushing his teeth and things and looked like she was nodding off. But change one sound in the sequence, or an order of sounds, and her head was up "what is he doing? that's not what's supposed to come next."

      And her feelings were always of utmost importance to me.

  9. I have a problem with people who don't think dogs have feelings. As a couple of my blogposts reveal. I enjoyed this tremendously...I have 6 Dachshunds and they all get special attention for their special needs, and I consider myself lucky to do it all. My family thinks I'm a little nuts, my husband is a little jealous, but at least they know I am steady...and I'm there for anyone I love or admire.

    1. We're all a little nuts, I think :-)

      It has been scientifically documented now that dogs do have feelings and emotions. Of course, to us, it was proving the obvious.