You might think I’m crazy, but I talk to my dog all the time, and I swear that he understands me most of the time. When we first welcomed Bandit into our home, it was a little chaotic. I had never had a dog that was so full of energy and frenetic. I wasn’t sure if we should keep him because I didn’t know if I was the best person for him. My friend Lynn is a dog trainer and she assured me it would be o.k. and she encouraged me to talk to him. Bandit was four months old when he arrived, so he had a lot of things to learn about the world, so I started to give him safety advice. Here is a short list of what I tell him.
Be careful what you eat
Bandit is like any other animal who loves to eat. I taught him two commands to make sure if medication or something else that he shouldn’t eat was on the ground, he wouldn’t eat it. The first command is when I say, “leave it.” To teach him this I hold my hand open with a treat and say leave it. When he tries to eat it, close your palm. Eventually, he will stop trying to eat it. At that point, say, “Get it!”. The other command is for the times when he picks something up. I say, “Drop it!”
Don’t run full speed down the stairs unless you know what’s at the bottom.
We have had some early morning sightings of coyotes and foxes in our neighborhood, and I am not ready to have that meeting. I have taught him to wait for me, and he looks around before he goes down.
There are certain things you should not chase
Bandit is an all-in dog. He wants to run full speed and chase things. The other day, he was running to me with the frisbee when he disturbed a strange creature in the grass. Something that looked like a bird, flew up from the grass, fluttered around for a second, and then dove back into the grass. I looked at Bandit and said, “What in the world was that?” I felt like a character in the Friday the Thirteenth movie with Freddie Krueger because you know you shouldn’t go look, but you can’t help yourself. I still could not tell you what it was.
Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong
We have a million holes in our backyard, and I’m pretty sure there are a few things I don’t want to meet down there. He will run over to peek, and I tell him again, “Don’t stick your nose there!” Curiosity is not always a good thing.
Enjoy a good nap
Most of the time, Bandit is a whirlwind of activity, but when I write he curls up near the cats and rests for his next explosion of energy.