That Dog Story

If you’ve spent any considerable amount of time with a dog, you have a story. That story. The one you tell at cocktail parties and retell at every family gathering. That story is not the fuzzy warm memory of the first time you held your puppy. Nor is it any of the wonderful moments you share with your dog over the years. Oh no.

That dog story is the one which begins with rueful laugh and the words “Oh God…” It’s a story about the magic of dogs. Not the oft celebrated magic of their love and companionship, but the magic of their ability to cause a seemingly impossible amount of trouble.

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[VIDEOS] Summer Vacation

After a twelve hour car ride last week, the pups appreciated a warm welcome, plenty of romping, and a comfy spot to lay their heads. #rhodesianridgeback #projectrr #dog #dogsofinstagram #dogs #primepet #petsofinstagram #pets #instadaily #puppy #video #adventure

A video posted by Eko, Penny (and Will, I guess) (@ekoandpenny) on

It’s been a couple months since I’ve posted a full length video on YouTube, but I  kept the camera rolling on our vacation. If you follow us on Instagram you’ve seen the latest, but for all those who don’t  use the app, I wanted to share some of the short vignettes from our time away. Read more ›

When Dogs Are The Best Medicine

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Residency is no joke, but it certainly helps to have a sense of humor about it

Who are you?

It’s a simple question. It’s also an impossible one. When asked, we answer with a name. But a name is a sound, not an identity. We quickly follow up with a job title. But a job is what we do, not who we are. The distinction is important.

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On Instagram? Let Me know!

For some reason Disney hasn't responded to my emails about producing an all-dog version of the Lion King. That hasn't stopped me from working on the opening sequence. #rhodesianridgeback #dogsofinstagram #dog #dogs #lion #lionking #disney #projectrr #pets

A video posted by Eko, Penny (and Will, I guess) (@ekoandpenny) on

While I won’t be posting here five days a week over the summer, I do plan on making daily updates to our instagram page. I’ll put up our latest adventures along with a few remixed old ones. This week I’ve had fun putting a soundtrack to some past video clips. Read more ›

[VIDEO] Just A Dog

We have precious few moments on this earth. Why do so many of us choose to spend so many of those moments with “just a dog?”

I suspect we share many of the same answers, while each having our own reasons.

This is my story. What’s yours?

Just A Dog

Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, adventure, travel, marking our territory

For the past five years, five days a week, I’ve written about dogs. About the love, loss, joys and frustrations we experience with our pups.

To commandeer the famous Lou Holtz phrase, I believe that for those who know dogs, no explanation is necessary. And for those who don’t know dogs, no explanation will suffice.

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What Preposition Defines Your Pup?

We live in a world of nouns, defined by verbs. People, places and things defined by actions, occurrences and states of being.

But I think to know someone you need to know the answer to not just “Who?” and “What?” but also “How?” It’s a fun question I asked myself about Eko and Penny as I watched them play at the beach.
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 How does Eko play? He plays with

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Happiest when playing with me, or Penny or that crazy-smiling Weim in th background

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Left alone, Eko is easily bored. But give him someone to play with, and he couldn’t be happier

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How does Penny play? She plays despite.

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That is, she plays fearless 

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Despite being diminutive, she gamely crashes into Eko

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And despite whether Eko wants to play with her, she’s mixing it up with him!

Despite her size, despite the weather, despite just about anything, Penny plays on.

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To know Eko is to know the world with him

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To know Penny is to know her despite the world

Penny drives us forward, while Eko keeps us together. Forward and together, a pretty good motto to live by!

What about you guys? If you had to pick a preposition most suited to your pet, what would it be?

[VIDEO] How To Leave Your Dog Home Alone

Parting is such sweet sorrow… or in the case of leaving puppy Penny, it was mostly just sorrow. For her, for me and for my bank account.

Here’s how we got over one of our most difficult training hurdles:

How Do You Measure The Age of a Dog?

When Penny first came on the scene, it was quite clear who the younger sibling was.Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, chicago, adventure

No doubt that this stinker was the family puppy

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But a couple birthdays later, it’s immediately clear at a glance how old each dog is

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And thankfully, Penny’s days of decor destruction are behind her so we can’t judge based on that either

But there are some habits and traits of this younger sibling which seem permanent.

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Such as Penny’s role of Instigator-in-Chief

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A job which she’s never taken a day off from

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But despite being hard-charging herself, Penny will always follow Eko’s lead

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This (not so) subtle discrepancy between tags is one of my favorite markers of personality. Take a wild guess at which tag belongs to which pup
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And of course my favorite cue – wherever Eko lays his head, so too will his little sister. Often, quite literally

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So yes, while they both may look all grown-up, there’s never a doubt about which sibling is which age

But I wonder how many of the differences between Eko and Penny are based on age and how many are based on personality. If you have more than one pup at home, what are some of the subtle ways you notice their age differences?

How To Leave Your Dog Home Alone

“Hi, while you’re not home I’d like you to leave an animal whose favorite activity is ‘chewing on stuff’ loose in your house.”

It sounds like an insane proposition, but it’s one many of us accept each and every day. Thankfully, these days I have two well-adjusted (always using that term loosely with Penny) pups who don’t cause any trouble while I’m gone.
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This was certainly not always the case. Goodbyes used to be quite anxiety provoking for Penny

While attempting to train Penny to stay home alone, outside of her crate, we had a few…setbacks.

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There was the time she turned my loafers into “Penny’s loafers”

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And the mysterious case of the Swiss cheese blanket

Much of my initial training centered around making sure Penny was tired before I left. But despite being well-exercised, and despite getting a small training treat before I left, Penny inevitably caused trouble.

I realized the issue was none of my training changed the basic problem that my departure was a negative, anxiety-inducing experience for Penny. So I changed my training with the goal of making my departure have a positive association.

How’d I do that? By harnessing Penny’s ravenous love of food. Prior to leaving I put a high-value treat in front of Penny, but keeping Penny in a “stay” command. I put on my shoes and went through my normal going-out routine, all with the treat inches from Penny’s face.

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Penny would tell you it was cruel and unusual punishment

It wasn’t until I opened the front door and stepped outside that I gave Penny the “take it” command. Over time, Penny associated my sticking around with a negative feeling (the interminable wait for a treat) and my departure with the rapture and relief of finally chomping down on her sweet reward.

The new training method worked so well that these days Penny gets exasperated when I don’t leave quickly enough!

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“OMG, Will! Go! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”

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And Eko? Eko calmly plays along and earns easy treats

There’s no getting around the fact we have to leave our dogs alone sometimes, but there’s certainly a way to change our pups’ perceptions of that departure. In fact my method may have worked a little too well…

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Because sometimes I think Eko and Penny are happier to see me go than they are to see me come home empty handed!

But it’s a small price to pay to keep all of our sanity (and furniture) in one piece. This lesson was a costly one for me, but it’s one I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life. We can’t always change circumstances but we can certainly change perceptions.

 

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