I came across this post of why sleeping with your dog is awesome a few days ago, and while I agree with these very warm and loving ideas, here are a few more that come to mind.
They might not know it, but puppies are definitely advocates for a meditative and mindful lifestyle! I’m being reminded of this more and more as we raise Noke. I never would’ve thought of it at first, but she’s slowly having an effect on me! Don’t believe me? Read on to see how puppies are such strong advocates of a mindful lifestyle:
1. They help you to be more understanding. To raise a good puppy, you need to be able to get in its head and understand why it does the things it does. It isn’t ripping up your shoes because it wants to be evil. You have to step off your pedestal and kneel down to their level of understanding. They’re just a baby and they need all the love and understanding you can give.
2. Their main emotion is love. Wouldn’t it be nice if humans were like this? Dogs and puppies love love love. We are their entire life. That positive energy is contagious. It opens up your mind and your life. Let it in!
3. They get you up and at ’em. Instead of pressing snooze five times and then racing to get ready for work, you are up early with the puppy. I’ve enjoyed many a golden sunset since having Noke and I enjoy that peace walking around a quiet neighborhood. Although I already was a proponent of morning walks, I wouldn’t always make it. But now, I am out with the sunrise every morning, enjoying the quiet side of life.
4. They discourage technology. I’m not sure of any puppy who encourages you to use your cell phone. Their cute faces and insatiable desire for attention discourages your constant use of electronics. When you were spending an hour on the computer, you are now playing ball with your pup or teaching her how to lie down. And especially during walks, I find it important to keep your phone in your pocket (even if you’re tracking the walk), and to be alert. This just allows you to disconnect and breathe.
5. They encourage you to be with nature. This connects to #4. Even if you live in an urban environment, that walk can really help with a mindful lifestyle. Instead of plugged into a million things at once, you are simply walking in your environment and taking it all in. It’s a wonderful way to reflect and just be with your surroundings. It’s a beautiful feeling.
6. They lead you to reflect upon yourself. Do you curse yourself the moment after you’ve lost your temper with your puppy? And those sad puppy eyes don’t help either. Their eyes, drawn with a curiosity and wonder, can really help open up your reflection. Maybe you realize you didn’t have that steller patience you thought you did. Or perhaps you don’t have that strict hold on your temper. It could even lead to reflections about what you really want in life. These puppies are powerful, I’m telling you! And they don’t even try.
Do you believe me now?! Getting a puppy is a great introduction to a mindful and meditative lifestyle if you haven’t already begun that path. Although Noke is a handful, she makes me appreciative each day. Get a puppy to stay hungry and fit!
BONUS KITTY PIC
Every day, we learn more and more about how to raise a puppy. We’ve had Noke (noh-kay) for a little over a week now, but it’s felt like longer. She has good and bad moments, as all young things do. What I find the most useful are things that will occupy her. Say I’m cooking, working from home, or doing a home workout, it is very very helpful if she’s focusing on something else…that’s not chewing our shoes. The cats love to stir her up, which is pretty stupid on them, in my opinion, so she’s on alert a lot of the time. One of the people at the Humane Society suggested this trick and I’m thrilled by it!
It’s very simple. It’s the old Kong trick with a twist. Let’s go step-by-step, it’s so easy.
1. Fill up the Kong toy. We use a large Kong toy and we fill it up with high-quality little duck kibble bites. Fill it up close to the top.
2. Fill the top with peanut butter. And don’t get that hydrogenated oil crap, use decent peanut butter for your dog’s health! We used Justin’s PB which is popular here in Boulder. We put the whole packet in, to give her plenty to dive into, completely covering and blocking the kibble.
3. Freeze. Not because you’re under arrest, but because this is the magic to this trick! So yeah, without freezing it, you can keep your pup occupied, but imagine the peanut butter frozen! This prevents the pup from just scooping out the peanut butter–they really have to work at it or let it soften! I’m excited to do this as a regular thing, especially while we are gone at work. We freeze it overnight usually.
See? Simple as 1-2-3. Try it out with your puppy or dog and let us know how it goes! Sometimes it’s nice to have some time to yourself if your dog is driving you bonkers. And as always…stay hungry and fit!
BONUS PUPPY PIC
What a week it has been! If you didn’t know, we got a puppy last Friday. I feel like we’ve already had her for months. Our little Noke (noh-kay), a 3 month German Shepherd/Akita girl. We have officially survived the first week of having a puppy (where’s the wine)! I am personally exhausted by 9pm every night. It’s a lot of work. When Chris isn’t at home, I feel like a single mother with her (kind of joking…kind of). She’s a lot of work! But at the end of the day, it’s worth it.
A few behaviors have developed with her, more nipping, more decisive walking, and better potty habits. She has been super friendly and playful with other dogs and other people which makes me feel happy. She pretty much understands the command, “Go potty.” We are slowly starting to introduce her to the cats and vice versa, and it’s going okay. It’s been a wild journey so far, and here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Be patient. Be patient, be patient, be patient. Do not lose your temper. She’s only a baby, after all. This is the biggest lesson for me and the toughest. Puppies will nip and they will nip hard because that’s what they do with their litter mates. It hurts us and we think that’s what they’re trying to do but they’re not. They just want to play. Or when they refuse to budge on walks. Take a deep breath. Remember, she’s just a baby and it’s your job to nurture her into how she should be behaving.
2. Learn the potty word fast. You don’t want to be standing outside with your fingers slowly turning to frostbite. Find a potty word (pee, papers, potty, etc.) and use it when he or she is on grass. When they do their business, give them lots of treats and say good potty. Trust me on this one!
3. Understand their mind. This connects back to #1–try to understand what they’re thinking. Although you may not be scared of the dark, your little pup could be terrified! Add strong wind and cars and she will be freaking out. Don’t yell at her if she’s jolting all over the place. Calmly take her where you know she is comfortable. After all, she is just a baby.
4. Use treats…lots of them. At this point in their life, you don’t need to be worrying about your little one getting fat. Especially not when you’re giving them plenty of play and exercise. I always have at least 5-10 treats in my pocket when we go for walks. Whenever she goes potty, she gets lots of praise and lots of treats. If she’s behaving nicely like chewing her bone or calmly relaxing, she gets treats. Sitting…treats. You get the picture.
5. Encourage more than you discourage. At their infantile stage (under 16 weeks), they aren’t going to understand “No” or strong discouragement. Instead, use lots of encouragement, like the previous point. Give tons of praise when she or he does things correctly. Don’t get upset if they mess up, simply redirect them to something else. If you raise your puppy in a positive environment, it will be a happy positive dog.
6. Take them out often. My rule is every two hours, when we can. Puppies can’t completely control their bladder muscles so when it’s coming, it’s coming. What goes in must come out. If she goes in your home, don’t scream at her. It’s your fault for not taking her out sooner. Take them out often as a precaution to fight against potty accidents.
7. Don’t yell. This again connects to point one and it’s tough. But don’t yell. It doesn’t help the situation. You yelling translates to barking for your little one. This will escalate the situation into the puppy becoming more excited or simply scared of you. You don’t want that. Stay calm. Redirect.
8. See #1. BE PATIENT. If you take one thing away from this post, make it this one. Just be patient, remain calm, take a break and just breathe. It’s really tough taking care of a baby dog, they need constant attention and TLC. And you’re their sole provider for that. Try to put all that love in your heart for each and every interaction.
So if you’re preparing for a new puppy, you can do it! It takes lots of work, but if you can put the effort in, it will be worth it. My heart melts multiple times a day over our little Spirit Princess. I know that she will turn into a wonderful dog if we keep consistent positive training. BUT YAY WE SURVIVED!! Get a puppy to stay hungry and fit!
A 3-month old female Akita, Shepherd mix with lots of energy and love. “Noke” (no-kay), her short name, comes from the movie titled “Princess Mononoke,” a Miyazaki favorite of ours. The name means “Spirit Princess” which we think is pretty fitting so far. We’ve been planning on getting a puppy for a while now, and set an easy date for Valentine’s Day because it’s roughly a month or so since we’ve been back from New Zealand. We know it’s going to be a lot of work, but it will be worth it. We’ve arranged our schedules to make it possible (also helps that Chris works 2 minutes away from home). We got her from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (which is an amazing place that we love to support and got our kittens from there). We almost weren’t able to get her, but with some secretive work from Chris the day before, he managed to put her on hold and surprised me with the fact. Awesomesauce.
Noke is very curious and wants to know everything about anything. She likes to know what’s happening at all times whether it be in the kitchen or on a walk (which make them a little longer than usual). We got her yesterday and she’s already fit in at home. Right now, she’s passed out on the carpet after a walk and lots of play. She likes to stay close to us, which is nice on walks because she never really pulls. For the first few months of her life she had parvo (basically the flu for dogs–vomiting and pooping) and mites (making the poor girl itch!). This means she was in quarantine and very sickly for a while. Both fore-paws are shaved as IVs were necessary to provide fluids. She is now healthy and is just a little itchy from the dead mites. Since she was in quarantine for a while, so many things are new to her. She likes to stop in her tracks and stare at new things. If things are scary, she just walks a little closer to me, but doesn’t cry or cower.
She has a very sweet nature except for the occasional nip which you find in all puppies. She loves to play, chew, and run around as fast as she can. And so far she’s a big fan of sleeping (yay)! We are crate-training her and she slept through the entire night (almost 8 hours). I was ecstatic. We are so excited to see her personality and body develop. She has small paws, but a big head so we aren’t sure how big this girl is going to get. Basically from the neck down she looks like a German Shepherd and her head and face looks Akita–pretty darn cute. She’s a great listener and already knows the command “Sit” so that’s a nice plus! We’ve researched lots and have a few tricks up our sleeves to turn her into a well-mannered dog. She even got a bath (she smelled awful) and handled it great! No tantrums!
Our kitties haven’t met her yet. We are keeping them in separate rooms for now until Noke gets her last medication for the mites. They aren’t too upset about it, they get the bedroom with the sheepskin in it, so they are having hardcore nap time. I predict Nymeria will get along with the pup and Sajah will be terrified and avoid it all costs, which is why we will always have escape routes and high places for our babies. I’m excited to bring the household all together.
So that’s Noke, she’s here and ready to live! We are beyond excited, thrilled, and ready to take on this little monster. Can you say best Valentine’s Day ever? And as always…stay hungry and fit!