Hi Friends, Ruby here.
Most people agree that a Labrador starts to become a little more settled after about two years. I am nearing my fourth birthday and I must say that I don’t subscribe to meaningless stereotypes. I mean, much to M&D’s relief, there has been a certain dampening of wild and derelict physical behaviour, but I have interspersed it with more subtle and enigmatic practices that really keep them on their toes. Let’s say Ruby has commenced a phase of unpredictable, psychological guerrilla warfare to keep M&D in a perpetual state of frustration and dismay, and its all designed to retain me as ‘front and centre’ in our family!
As usual, I need to regale you with a few anecdotes to illustrate my progress in this regard. I still employ the tactic of randomly throwing myself off the lounge and diving under furniture to get attention. This always results in M or D (or both) joining me under tables and beds with soothing words, cuddles and more importantly, tasty snacks. They must feel that if I am willing to eat something. I can’t be too sick. (I’m a Labrador for God’s sake – I’d have to be dead before I refused food!)
Another favourite pastime has been to run away as soon as the door or gate is left open. Who remembers the great escape of a few months ago when I ran D ragged all over the farm, neighbours and beach for 3 whole hours? The consequences were not pretty. Now, I realise that I can have some freedom without being yelled at or smacked – in fact I can be rewarded. It works like this. If you sneak out of the gate at home, you don’t just take off but rather just stay out of reach and move around at your own pace, making sure to stay on our property. The other day I did this and ended up down the front where I am rarely allowed to go. The weed-infested pond was fun and I even found a dead bird which was a real bonus. You know after a while that M&D are so relieved for you to be caught that you will get a treat for doing so. Same applies at the beach – just run off a little way, look over your shoulder with a glint of the devil in your eye and lo and behold, out come the snacks.
The last example of these new ‘science of the mind’ tactics has so far prevented M&D from sending me to kennels overnight. I now show my displeasure at even being left alone for a day by manic barking and wailing on their return. I think they believe that I do this the whole time they’re away. In actual fact, I’m so drugged up on the tranquillisers they sneak into me that I sleep the whole time they are away. I have been known to sleep so deeply that I pee myself without even knowing. That’s retribution enough.
A fantastic benefit of my capricious behaviour has been the purchase of a ‘Pup Naps calming dog bed’. It really does work a treat and I love it. Its so warm, comfy and soothing and much to M&D’s delight, I use it all the time. (except at night when a human’s bed is much more to my liking.)
So, I feel my armoury of tricks is growing, if not in frequency, certainly in variety. (As the great magicians say, “Keep the audience guessing”) Throw in the odd physical ruse to garner some sympathy and I have them exactly where I want them. Example – last week I had a particularly hectic play sessions successively with Ollie, Mercx and then Mia and May. I pulled up lame with a very sore front leg and after hobbling along for a while I convinced M to go ahead and bring the car back for me. Lots of fussing when we got home.
I love my life down here and I know that my antics and subterfuge make M&D happy too. They feel valued and loved.
P.S. I don’t think that I have had much success on my enforced diet.