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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Balancing Multiple Dogs (oh yes, and life too!)

Yeap, I'm now the mother of three young dogs!!!!

I have to admit, I'm VERY excited about each of them. This is going to sound so cliche, but each pup is unique, incredibly special and most importantly, they ALL touch my heart. I'm also lucky to have time for each of them because I don't have (nor plan to) have kids.

Three dogs in training works great for my life-style. I'm ALWAYS on the go and LOVE to multi-task - just ask anyone who knows me : )

However, I work very hard to give each dog individual attention and bonding time. A connection with each of them is so important to me. In this case, I follow my very own easy & sensible advice (that I give to my clients) and focus on the small, quality moments.

I want to share some of those personal moments (beyond training time) that are a part of our daily life. These small moments are special to me and I hope you'll enjoy them as well.

I may have mentioned this before, but experience with my old girl, Pinky, has taught me the power of a smile. Dalmatians are one of the few dogs who are capable of a smiling and over the years, Pinky & I have developed a bond where I smile at her and she smiles (a full-tooth grin) back at me. It is soooo amazing to get such a positive reaction to such a simple gesture of warmth & love. I am blessed to have been taught such an amazing lesson! Now, I smile at ALL of my dogs (individually) when I make eye contact with them. The pairing is a powerful message and I have no doubt they KNOW how very much I care about them and it offers them a clear window straight to my heart.

Next, I touch my dogs in a loving manner EVERY TIME I pass by them. I learned the power of touch from personal experience. For example, when my husband is passing by me in the kitchen and puts his hand on my back, it's a great mini-bonding moment and I feel a connection. I think my dogs feel the same way. As I'm passing by them (even if they're laying on the floor or a chair), I'll briefly touch their head in passing, give them a hug or stop, hold their head in my hands and plop a kiss on their forehead. I want my dogs to know that even if I'm busy, they're important to me.

One of our 'family' rituals is to start and end the day snuggling with our dogs. Again, we don't have kids so we have the time, energy and love to share.

The morning routine is the best! Dan leaves for work very early and so he feeds the dogs and then lets them all pile into bed with me until daylight. Just imagine 5-6 dogs snuggling together on one queen sized bed and I'm in the middle! It's very cozy and soooo hard to get up from. Once I wake up, the dogs each come up for their personal attention time where I massage their head, rub their bellies, play with them and cover them with TONS of kisses. They're all so happy, just love the time together and while waiting their turn, they play with each other. What a fun family moment and I just love starting my day this way!

At the end of the day when Dan and I are sitting in the livingroom, the dogs are there hanging with us. Some are with Dan on the couch and some are with me on my overstuffed chair & ottoman. Throughout the evening, the dogs will play with each other, snuggle with us/ amongst themselves or just hang and chew on their toys and bones. We're all there together and the love and happiness is easily felt throughout the room. It's relaxed, fun, cozy and interactive. In the winter, we have the fireplace lit and the Dalmatians are sure to be found inches from warmth!

During the day, it seems that even if I'm home, the dogs chose to spend the majority of the day sleeping! That works out great because they love to hang with me in the office or if the weather is nice, I leave the back door open and they come and go as they please since our yard is fully fenced.

One of the things I pride myself on is looking at each individual dog to see where they excel. For example, Spot is a GREAT traveler and I will often bring him with me when I travel (since Pinky is now too old for that). Zulu is full of energy so I've gotten him into herding (Rylee will soon follow) and Rouge is great company for when I go to the Agility arena to setup (I then work her afterward).

Lucky for me, I love to multi-task, have my hands in several pots at one time and my dogs allow me that luxury. I'll admit, my lifestyle isn't for everyone (okay, the majority of people would run away screaming), but it is so exhilarating for me! As my husband said to me this morning, "You always love a project." He's on to me...

I'd have to say that most of you are just as busy, but in different ways. Some of you are raising children (you are my hero!), some have amazing careers and some are living your dreams. Whatever it is, you too are busy! Remember, rather than scheduling time on a calendar, take just 1 minute at a time to create a quality moment for you and your beloved pet. You'll be amazed at how easy and how successful you'll find it is.


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