What training my dogs taught me about life, love, and happiness

Dogs Jumping Out of Windows and Other Strange Tales

Dante is nine months now. He has trouble with impulse control, which is common at his age and each day we struggle to master simple tasks. There are two Golden Retrievers down the road who guard their front gate ferociously. Every morning, Dante and I start out on our walk. Some days, we don’t make it past the neighbor dogs. Dante jumps straight up in the air, howls, pulls, twirls…and we go back home. Other days, he squints and rushes past the barking dogs and when we are free of them, he looks at me with what I can only describe as triumph. I did it! 

Our breeder came to visit yesterday and Dante adores her. He was so excited he spent the hour running in circles with a big grin on his face. Dante’s mother and another ridgeback were in the van so he could smell that his original family was near. When the breeder left, Dante was desolate. He whined, kept looking out the window for her and paced the house, sniffing everywhere she’d walked and everything she’d touched.

We live in a ranch-style home and the kitchen windows were open–with screens–and without warning, Dante flew through one of the windows, crashing through the screen. I was on the phone, dropped it, grabbed a bag of treats and threw it out the window hoping to catch his attention and then I jumped out of the window after him. We stared at one another. He was shocked to learn that I can jump out of windows, too. I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and then realized the house doors were locked. I scooped up all eighty-five pounds of him and pushed him back through the window. Nairobi and Sheila were horrified to see Dante come flying back through the window. This is not how ridgebacks are supposed to behave. I dragged a chair to the window and climbed back into the house. Dante went into his kennel without complaint and oddly, my caller was still on the other end of the line so I resumed the conversation.

New house rule: No more open windows.

Insight: Dante is going to be a good agility dog.

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When Old and Young Dogs Collide

dante and nairobi  One thing I love about Ridgeback males is their sense of fun. They have energy, mischievousness and a good sense of humor. They are also proud and stubborn, which can make for disaster when you have two in the same household.

And when one is a nearly ninth-month-old teen and the other nearly fourteen, the result is definite incompatibility for the most part. Nairobi still wants to be the boss. He huffs and puffs and climbs on top of Dante to show him who’s boss. Dante plays pup, but then he can’t stop himself from challenging Nairobi.

We have moments of calm as you can see in this picture, but separation is becoming more of the norm. Nairobi is still boss when Dante isn’t in the room. Protecting the older dogs is a must when there are young ones around.

As for Dante, he gets special training time, extra exercise–and timeouts when he gets a little too crazy.

And when Dante and Nairobi are in the same room, they can’t stop mouthing one another and playing. I just have to stop it before it gets rough.

But today, peace reigns.


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Welcome to the Family

What a nice surprise for the new year: A new pup! Meet Dante! He comes from the last litter in Nairobi’s bloodline, so I couldn’t resist bringing him home. More Dante to come.


Nairobi and Dante hanging out

Nairobi and Dante hanging out


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