While Beau & Lola Bug are my buddies, I still have room in my heart for more friends. What about you? ūüôā

Thank God It’s Friday!

Ok, decidedly not my crew, but too darn cute not to share. Thx David Kanigan of “Lead. Learn. Live, ” a great blog. Tell me ya haven’t felt like a Friday morning? It’s raining here–Lola and Beau actually got up, did their business and went straight back to bed. ;-).

Live & Learn

Elephant 1Monday AM:

All rested.  Here we go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Research Says: My Personality Profile Is Aligned With A Great Dane (Ouch)

A fun quiz and interesting article from fellow blogger David Kanigan. ¬†His blog “Lead.Learn.Live” is fabulous–I take away something wonderful from it virtually every day! ¬†And as readers of my blog know, I’m a ‘split personality’ who loves a Chocolate Lab and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with equal ferocity.

 

Research Says: My Personality Profile Is Aligned With A Great Dane (Ouch).

The Beaumeister, Man of Mystery

As you may recall, I recently revealed that Beau had quite suddenly stopped going up the stairs. The downward trajectory was NOT a problem, but heading up was another matter. We attempted to coerce him with all matter of tempting treats, but he was not biting (pardon the pun).

We talked to his obedience teacher at class last week, and she gave us several tips for breaking the cycle of fear and getting him moving again. Specifically, she recommended placing him partway up the stairs and letting him walk the rest of the way, adding a step or two to his ascent each time, and treating him at the top. She also stressed that we should not make a big deal out of the whole issue, but rather just administer a simple acknowledgement it when he made it to the top, “Ok, good boy,” and move on. This guidance, couple with very similar advice from a wise Lab mentor, left me feeling well-equipped to tackle the problem.

Port side of the RMS Titanic; taken from http://www.titanicuniverse.com/

First thing Tuesday, we began positioning him on the steps, and while he made it up each time, he did it on his belly, trembling fiercely and hugging the stairs like they were the deck of the Titanic. I was beginning to think we really had a problem, and then voila–I’m upstairs in the bedroom folding clothes and who appears at my side but the Beau man, who just moments ago had been two flights below. Needless to say, I was delighted that he had conquered his fear and was once more traversing the steps on his own, as my back was beginning to protest the additional 60 lbs. that I was hauling up the stairs each day.

But here’s the kicker–HE WON’T WALK UP WHEN WE’RE WATCHING! Gives new meaning to the phrase “performance anxiety.” ūüėČ

It’s the damnedest thing! If I head up the stairs, he stands at the bottom with his front feet on the first step, gazing up at me with an expression that can only be called forlorn. Let me disappear around the corner, though, and within minutes I hear the ‘thump, thump, thump’ of four little chocolate paws heading my way. At first I thought it was just a fluke, but he consistently waits until we’re out of sight (Lola can’t even witness the act!) before beginning his ascent. Not surprisingly, curiosity quickly got the best of me, so the other night I hid and peaked around the corner to see what he was up to. What I witnessed was truly comical. He does two ‘false starts’ at the bottom, as if revving his engine or building his courage, and then he gets this look of utter determination on his face and with the third surge launches himself into what it best described as a ‘forced march’ up two flights of stairs. It is too much. If only I could get it on camera…..

Relaxing in the office

I have no idea what’s going on in that head of his, but whatever the scenario, we’re all glad to have him back. ūüôā

Conquering our fears….

‚ÄúCourage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.‚ÄĚ

–Mary Ann Radmacher

Screwing his courage to the sticking post for descent.

Well, it’s been an interesting last few days here at Chez Feinberg. ¬†The Beaumeister has suddenly developed a fear of stairs. ūüė¶ ¬† We’re not sure why, as he’s been navigating them masterfully for months now, to the point where he’s gotten a little reckless, especially on the “downhill.” ¬†Oftentimes (especially in the morning when breakfast awaits below), he doesn’t even bother with the last three or four steps and just catches air as he makes his way down the final flight.

We’re pretty sure he took a tumble, though neither of us witnessed it. ¬†He’s fallen in the past going both up and down, but he’s always dusted himself off and ‘jumped right back on the horse’ so to speak. ¬†But this time is different. ¬† He’ll still go *down* the stairs, but he will no longer go up. ¬†Those two back legs are *not* leaving the ground for love nor money (or chicken, string cheese, or kibble for that matter), he’s made that perfectly clear. ¬†He’s shown a *remarkable* ability to stretch his body (as a former Pilates instructor I can tell you that his extensions are a sight to behold), but he absolutely refuses to lift a back paw off the ‘terra firma’ of the foyer.

Now I’m proud to say that I follow a pretty rigorous fitness regimen, including strength training (the importance of which will become relevant momentarily), but I would like to go on record to say that hauling a 7 month-old, 60 lb. bundle of Chocolate Lab love up two flights of stairs is *not* an exercise I’ll be recommending for my boot camp class. ¬†(Beau, conversely, thinks this new development is fabulous–he gets this dreamy look in his eye as if harkening back to his younger days when Mom routinely toted his little brown bum up and down the stairs.)

Lola Bug, meanwhile, is both puzzled and relieved by this sudden turn of events. ¬†She speeds up and down the stairs by Beau, glancing over her shoulder as if to say, “Come on, Beau, this isn’t hard! ¬†Chase me!” Then she gets to the office or the bedroom, realizes that he *isn’t* following and gets a wee twinkle in her eye as if to say, “Well, now, just a minute! ¬†This is rather lovely–I can stretch out in this patch of sunlight and relax, since that brown bomber is not going to pounce on me the minute I shut my eyes.”

I know, I know, I can just imagine what you’re thinking–“Lori, what are you doing?! ¬†Don’t carry him, for heaven’s sake, he’ll never do it on his own again!” ¬†And you’re right, I know you are, but seeing him gazing up from the bottom of the stairs, his front feet on the third or fourth step while his back toes grip the foyer floor, breaks my heart. ¬†The whole family is upstairs and he wants to be up there, too. ¬†I promise you, we’re still working on re-establishing his climbing ability every day, but until he gets his confidence back, I’ll help him out. ¬†He’s a very smart boy and determined too, and tomorrow’s another day.

Nothing beats an afternoon nap

“I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.” ¬†

–Yogi Berra

As I kindergartner, I LOVED naptime. ¬†I’d polish off my miniature carton of chocolate milk, chat up a few of my classmates, then settle down for a little R&R on my brightly colored nap mat. ¬†Life was good.

Many years later, afternoon naps remain a guilty pleasure that I indulge now and then.  For Beau and Miss Thing, conversely, EVERY day is nap day!

When Beau was a tiny lad, his favorite napping spot was under my office chair, in positions that in NO WAY suggested comfort. Yet there he’d be, happily ensconced and snoring like a field hand.

Bug,¬†ever the lady, is a bit¬†more picky about her resting place. ¬†She generally prefers the office couch–leather is cooler and those cushions are oh so fluffy…. As Beau has gotten older (and bigger) he’s followed her lead and is

now content to join her.

The two of them are such company for me as I work, a gentle reminder that no matter how hectic the day may be, a few minutes of relaxation of can be enormously restorative. ¬†My dearly departed grandmother spoke often of ‘the pause that refreshes.’ ¬†Lola & Beau know just what she was talking about….