January 12, 2011

Lesson Plans for a Substitute Dog Owner

Problem Student: Dizzy King

Sustained Silent Sleeping:
Dizzy will often engage in prolonged bouts of slumber. You will come to be grateful for these, so enjoy the snoring.

Period 1: Waking up
Dizzy will often wake up around 5:00 AM; she will be ready to eat and start her day. Ignore this. If she is in a room by herself, just yell at her to lie down. She will. If she is with you, just put her in the computer room by herself and close the door.

Period 2: Waking up for real
When you are ready for her, let her out of the computer room. She will still be ready to eat, so it’s a good idea to feed her. She gets TWO SCOOPS OF FOOD in the morning.

Food Tips:
1. Despite the temptation, it is VERY unwise to give Dizzy “human food.”
2. Dizzy is very wily about innocently wandering into the kitchen if there is food left out on the counters. Although she knows this is bad form, she has eaten a cube of butter and four frozen chicken breasts on two separate occasions!
3. While you’re preparing people food in the kitchen, if you point to the door and say, “Dizzy, go on”, she will sit outside the kitchen door.

After eating breakfast, Dizzy needs to go outside. Once this business is taken care of, let her back in, whereupon she will often get a toy and start whipping it around, or she may want to wrestle with you. Then again, she may pass out for a while.

Period 3: The walk
At some point in the morning (7 to 9), Dizzy will expect some action. She usually goes to the park at this time, but a brisk walk works just as well. Take her out, let her sniff, and be sure to BRING POOP BAGS!

Walking tips:
Cats are Dizzy’s mortal enemy. She will almost invariably lunge at them. If you see one on the sidewalk, cross the street to avoid Dizzy completely wigging out. The key is to keep moving. She also sometimes freaks out about other dogs, postal service workers, and idealistic squirrels.

Period 4: After the walk
She usually passes out for awhile. She often sleeps for most of the first part of the day, with breaks for potty trips outside, barking at the postal person, and treats. (see period 5.)

Period 5: Snacktime
Around noonish, she often gets a dog cookie or two.

Period 6: Afternoon sleeping/Attempts to get you to play, go for a walk, or feeding her more if you’re a sucka.

Period 7: Dinner
A scoop of food around five or six PM.

Period 8: Evening walk

Period 9: Snoozin’ ‘n’ Snuggles
Yes, that is a grotesque title.

DUTIES: Dizzy’s duties are to bark at the postal person and anyone who comes to the door, and to stay OFF of the red couch and the dining table and the kitchen counters.

BATHROOM PASSES: Dizzy typically goes in the morning, a coupla times during the day, and right before bedtime. Encouragements of “Go potty!” sometimes help; I know they do with me.

NEUROTIC BEHAVIOR: Dizzy gets apoplectic at the sound of fireworks, explosions, and thermonuclear detonations. She needs reassurances during such episodes; the basement is a good refuge. (I wouldn’t bother mentioning this, but Oregonians have a pathological need to detonate their fireworks upon purchase, as opposed to waiting till July the 4th or Arbor Day to set them off.)

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