I’m not the ONLY bad dog

You know, sometimes you would think I am the only one who gets in trouble in this house.  But not ALWAYS.

Yesterday my human was off – she has a new schedule at work – not by her own accord – so she is now home every Monday.  She said it’s something called university cutbacks.  I have no idea what that means.  Anyway, we dogs LOVE the new schedule.  More time to play fetch.  And more walks.  And more treats.  Because we sit and stare at her so she eventually gets up from her work and gives us something to stop us from bugging her.  And that lasts all of 5 minutes and we are back at our staring routine.

Yesterday she flipped some coins and went to vote.  She expected some fancy voting booth like they have in the US.  Instead, she put an X on a piece of paper next to the name of the person she disliked the least, and then put it in a big cardboard box.  I’m not kidding.  It was kind of like voting for your favorite class leader in grade school.  Same level of technology. 

Then she went grocery shopping. And when she came home we, of course, went CRAZY – like we hadn’t seen her in days.  Even though it was more like an hour.  Anyway, while she was in the kitchen putting away the groceries, she made the mistake of leaving the garage door open.  The garage is where THE DOG FOOD is stored.  That’s why I stand and stare at the garage door.  The day before, she had bought a big bag of our gourmet food – and instead of putting it up in the bin where it is stored, she had left it on the floor. So while she was in the kitchen and Paxton and I were inspecting everything that came out of every grocery bag, she heard a strange noise.  Like plastic being crumbled.  She realized Frodo was not in sight – so she rushed to the garage.  There was Frodo, frantically wrestling with a 40lb bag of dog food – trying with all his might to rip open the heavy bag – which has like foil inside.  My human shouted “Hey – STOP that!”  He stopped for one second and then tried in vain to open it before she got close enough to stop him.  He didn’t win the battle.  He then just shrugged his shoulders and went to see if anything from the grocery bags was left on the counter.

So you see.  I’m not the ONLY bad dog in this house!  Next it’s Paxton’s turn.

©  Linda Wozniak

Sheep -2. PON -0.

OK.  I give up.  What did you REALLY want me to DO with those sheep?  I think this is what’s called “2 strikes.”  Yup.  Sheep- 2.  PON -0.  
We drove a little over an hour.  And we got there early – so I could have another poop before I went in the pen. My human wanted to be SURE I was completely ready for those sheep.   I delivered as expected and off we went to see the sheep.
I went in the pen with the three sheep.  It was a gorgeous day – so we couldn’t blame anything on rain this time.  My human hobbled in the pen with me – broken toe and all.
And did I even LOOK at the sheep?  Nope.  I stuck to my human like glue initially, and then just stood like I was stuffed in the middle of the ring.  I watched a border collie move some sheep outside and then I watched my human try to move the sheep. She didn’t do such a great job either.  But I just stood there.  And all the coaxing, begging and praying could NOT make me go near those sheep.  The judge lady didn’t even give us our full 5 minutes. She said I wasn’t interested.  So my human hobbled out with me.  I was quite happy to leave.
So the saying goes – three strikes and you’re out.  But my human is thinking that two strikes in my case is probably enough.  I’ll stick to obedience and rally.  Speaking of which – Team Bark is reuniting for another competition.  In November, Frodo and I will again be joining our buddies Goro and Chimo for another Team competition.  I had better start practicing.  At least I don’t need sheep to do it.  Actually, MAYBE if we GOT some sheep, I could learn to move them.  Nah.  I’ll stick with rabbits.  And cats.  And porcupines.  And leaves.
©  Linda Wozniak

I confess. I was bad.

Oh boy I am in TROUBLE this time.  BIG trouble.  My human has, what she is fairly certain is, a broken toe.  And it’s kinda my fault.  Well. It IS my fault…

She was sound asleep and at 3AM Friday she heard me growling at Paxton.  I do that if he gets close to my sleeping space.  And I had jumped up and I was staring at him.  Poor Paxton doesn’t even LOOK at me.  And I’m not even SURE why I do it.  It doesn’t happen a lot – but when it does, my human is QUICK to stop me.  So she woke up and JUMPED out of bed and moved quickly to grab me and in the process, JAMMED her foot into the leg of the bed.  She hit it square on and she KNEW she did something to her middle toe.  She heard a crack. I was quickly banished from the bedroom.

I was pretty sheepish – yes ME sheepish- when she opened the bedroom door at our usual time to get up.  My human hobbled around, but she wouldn’t even LOOK at me.  We didn’t get to go for very long walks – I’m thinking her toe was pretty sore.  She has broken enough toes to know it is probably broken.  Did I mention she IS a bit of a klutz?

Anyway, I have been on my BEST behavior.  I have put my best “I’m sorry” look on.  At breakfast I sat staring at her with my adorable head tilt.  It worked, because before breakfast was over, she was already petting me.  By the time she got home from work, she seemed to forget about my indiscretion.

Today it looks like we WILL try the sheep thing.  It’s my chance to redeem myself.  The pressure is on.  Paws crossed the rain holds off, and my inner herding instinct comes out.   

©  Linda Wozniak

Go Akiak

I want to be Akiak.  Well maybe not BE Akiak.  But be LIKE Akiak.  Who is Akiak?  He is a husky who lives in Norway.  With his human Henrik Viske.  It seems Henrik got the urge to travel around his country, so he quit his job and he and Akiak packed their bags and headed off for the wilderness.  Google them.  And take a LOOK at their BEAUTIFUL photos.  They are unbelievable!  I want to go on a trip like Akiak.  OK – maybe not the camping part.  I DO enjoy sleeping on my human’s bed.  So that would be a bit of a challenge.

And getting my human to quit work might ALSO be a challenge.  And then you also have a challenge of taking all THREE of us dogs on the adventure.  Personally, I think my human should JUST take me – but she has this “fairness” philosophy, so I doubt she would take such a big trip with just one of us.  I mean I HAVE managed to do some day trips on my own – but a big extended trip.  Yeah – that’s not going to happen.

I do like the idea of the rugged outdoorsy look too– I mean you can’t carry a grooming table with you on an adventure like that.  But we know THAT’s not going to happen either. 

The other issue is the small fact that I do like to run off at times.  Wouldn’t THAT be horrid?  My human alone in the wilderness while I go search for mountain goats or something?  Another deterrent…

Well, I guess for now I will have to live vicariously through Akiak’s photos.  Mind you, we seem to be able to create our own adventures right in our own back yard…

Go Akiak!

©  Linda Wozniak

Sheep. Round 2.

Not again.

I just heard my human talking on the phone.  We are definitely trying again.  The sheep thing.  On Saturday.  But THIS time – just I am going. Frodo gets to stay home with Paxton.

So we’ll drive for over an hour and I’ll have my chance again with the wooly wonders.    My human has attempted to get me to watch sheep videos – but I’m not all that interested.  Secretly, I’m hoping it will rain – because I know she won’t take me if it’s pouring. 

One thing I know for sure, if it was a herd of cats, you would see me move.  Yesterday morning as we were walking up the driveway – in the dark – Frodo and I got the scent of something.  My human was wearing her headlamp and she could see a pair of eyes looking at us from a big pile of boulders that is close to the road.  She couldn’t make out what it was – but she was quite sure it was a cat.  The neighbor’s cat likes to sit there – so it most likely was him.  If Frodo and I had been off leash, well let’s just say our herding instincts would have been very evident.  I realize that’s probably not REALLY herding – more like chasing with the intent to “make friends” – but herding sounds better.

My human also spotted a set of eyes about a week ago as we were walking up the road in the early morning darkness.  I DO think that hair in our eyes CAN be a bit of a detriment – as we didn’t see those glowing eyes – which my human later realized (when the eyes moved into a streetlight) was a FOX.  Again Frodo and I got the scent – but we REALLY need some night-time goggles.  Hey- I wonder if I can find those on the net….

So I’ll be watching the weather fore-guess the next few days.  Can ewe believe she is trying this again?  Baaaaaaaaad idea…..

© Linda Wozniak

Don’t annoy me.

So my human found another one of those “dog articles” on the net.  This one was about things that humans do – that annoy us dogs.  Now some of them I agree with and some – well ALL dogs are individuals – and articles like this REALLY cannot be generalized to the entire canine race.  But here they are:

1.   Staring.  If humans stare at us dogs, we dogs may consider it a challenge.  On the other hand, we dogs are allowed to stare at you humans. That’s what I think.  Especially if we want your attention, want the food you are eating, want a treat, want to go out, or just because we love the way you look.  More often our staring involves food.  I excel at this skill.  And I am adorable when I do so.  If I do say so myself…

2.   Hugs.  Many of us dislike this as we see hugging as a sign of dominance.  We WILL tolerate it – although some of us like it more than others.  
     Frodo- not so much.  Me?  I’m neutral.  Paxton – hug away.

3.    Yelling.  They say that a low voice when you are being serious with us will command our attention  – and a high pitched voice usually signals something good for us.  You do not need to yell.  It scares some dogs.  My human doesn’t yell, but her volume does get increasing LOUDER as she repeats a command.  Like when I’m licking Paxton’s face.  It’s begins with a simple normal level “Viktor leave Paxton.”  When I do not stop, she repeats her command, a bit louder “VIKtor – PLEASE leave Paxton.”  When I still do not stop, it becomes “VIKTOR LEAVE PAXTON ALONE!  NOW.”  The louder volume does NOT scare me, and really, it’s not until she makes a move to grab the dreaded squirt gun that I stop.  Maybe. I know there’s not even any water in it…

4.   Teasing.  It really doesn’t happen in our house – although I silently tease the OTHER two dogs when I go out first.  They get my vibe. But I can’t say my human teases us.  Unless eating her dinner without sharing it with us is considered teasing…

5.   Too much alone time.  Dogs who are left alone too long can get destructive.  Now I admit, we don’t like when my human goes to work and leaves us alone, but she DOES have to go – dog biscuits don’t grow on trees.  She DOES take us for long daily walks and if it isn’t raining, we are also guaranteed some time playing fetch outside.  Until we are ready to collapse.  We actually are never REALLY alone – we boys DO have each other.  And I lick Paxton all day – with no human to bug me about it.

6.   Crowded dog parks.  We don’t do dog parks – so I know nothing about this one.  

7.   Interrupted sleep.  Don’t ruin our sleep.  We don’t like it.  Like the other night when my human tried to move me OFF HER bed when she came to sleep.  I played dead.  I know how to go completely limp – it’s a well practiced skill.  And then she laughs at me.  So then she really can’t move me.  Works every time. So just LET me sleep.

8.    Strange dogs.  We don’t see many where we live in the boonies – but we see plenty at dog shows.  We’ve been around dogs at shows forever – so it’s no big deal.  Especially for a social butterfly like me. It’s really all about the introduction.  

9.   Changes to routine.  They say that novelty is good for your brain – but we ARE creatures of habit.  And we know the daily drill.  So keep it simple. And keep it the same.

10.  A tight leash.  Now this one is kind of odd – since we DOGS cause the tight leash.  I guess you HUMANS are supposed to teach us how to walk with a loose leash.   So really,  a tight leash IS your fault.  There. That explains it. And we don’t like it.

11. Going for a walk – but not allowing us to smell things. OK.  I know my human has to go to work – so a 15 minute long sniff where the fox walked 2 hours ago probably IS a bit much to ask at 5 in the morning.  But we want MORE sniffing time.  MORE.  And Paxton wants more peeing time.  He only pees on every OTHER branch, stick, tree, blade of grass on a mile long walk.  He’s a peeing machine.

12. Dressing us up.  Now THIS one I agree with.  The dreaded Dollar Store holiday attire.  OK, not EVERYONE minds.  Like Frodo.  He is FINE with it.  But Pax and I are NOT fans.  WAIT until you see the Halloween photos.  Just wait.

So this is the SHORT list of things you humans do that annoy us dogs.  And honestly, I can only think of a FEW THINGS we dogs do that annoy you. Like  maybe the staring thing.  And the sniffing thing.  And the licking of Paxton’s face.  And the sudden deafness we demonstrate when being asked to do something.  And the counter surfing. And the stealing your bed.  And the chasing foxes.  And rabbits. And leaves.  And the squirming while grooming. And the incessant barking.  But come ON.  We are DOGS.  That’s what we do! And seriously – where would life be without us?  Pretty darn boring. 

And despite the fact that you do plenty to annoy us, we still think we’ll keep you.  You are just so much fun to train….

©  Linda Wozniak

International Plain Language Day

October 13.  Today is International Plain Language Day. I wasn’t sure what this was – so I had to look it up.  It is what is says.  Plain and simple.  It’ s a day to promote the use of plain written language that a reader can easily understand. Apparently Canadian and US laws require the use of plain language in federal communications. I’m not joking about this.  Really.  Ever try to read an income tax manual?  Clearly that government department didn’t get the memo on Plain Language. 

Some other examples of not-so-plain language outside the government-  the teeny tiny ads at the bottom of car ads.  Actually, a LOT of ads have teeny tiny print that even if you COULD read it, you wouldn’t know what they are saying.

Legal documents are FAR from plain.

Food labels.  They are getting better.  But you need a dictionary to read the ingredients on some dog food bags.  Hint – those are probably NOT the foods you should be eating.

And humans often do NOT use Plain Language in SPEAKING when it comes to us dogs.  For example, my human will say “I won’t be long” when she goes out somewhere.  But that’s not EXACTLY plain, because “not long” can be anywhere from a half hour to 7 hours.  Just use plain language.  Say “I will be gone for 5 hours.”  I mean it’s not like we are going to change our plans for the day and do something based on the amount of time you’ll be gone.  Just be plain.  We can take it.

So I am going to be use plain language in my blog.  My valediction will not be to “acquire an agreeable twenty four hour period”, I’ll just say “have a nice day!”

© Linda Wozniak

Fall photo shoot

Well Saturday was quite the day. The obligatory fall photo shoot. As soon as my human started getting together special treats, we knew something was up.  That and the fact that Frodo and I were groomed in the morning and Paxton was also brushed. An obvious clue that something was up. And THEN we spotted it. The dreaded bag from the Dollar store. So this was not going to be an ordinary photo shoot. Yes – the dreaded Halloween attire.

Even the “regular” shots – sans costume, were NOT easy. Paxton was in a TOTAL non-photo mood. He would not look at my human. Picnore SUPREME.  And he would NOT put his ears up. As SOON as my human put the camera/phone away, he was FINE. Here are a few of the 4+million taken.

You’ll have to wait for the Halloween shots.  Unless I can destroy her phone before then.  Let’s just say that Frodo was QUITE happy with HIS attire.  And mine – well I suppose it IS apropros…

© Linda Wozniak


So it’s a long weekend in Canada.  It’s the Thanksgiving weekend – a time to give thanks for all the good things we have – but don’t always appreciate!  While Thanksgiving did not become an “official statutory holiday in Canada until 1957,” the history of Thanksgiving in Canada dates back to 1578 – when Martin Frobisher from England arrived WAY up North in Canada – even before the pilgrims arrived in America.  I wonder if he brought a dog with him?  Anyway Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in 1879 and at that time was celebrated in either October or November. In 1957, the second Monday in October became the official holiday – and it marked a time to give thanks for the harvest.  Canada’s Thanksgiving is before the US – partly because our harvest is earlier. 

So here in Canada, like the US, humans fill themselves with turkey or ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie.  That’s the short list.  And we canines sit waiting nearby – HOPING that there will be SOME leftovers that are safe for us. Like carrots.

In the US, this weekend is Columbus Day weekend – marking Columbus’ “discovery” of America.  Actually, now some states are calling it Indigenous People’s Day – recognizing that Columbus WASN’T the first guy in America.  Good point!

Other countries also celebrate a day of Thanksgiving at different times on the calendar– including Grenada, Liberia, Saint Lucia, the UK, Germany and Japan.  I’m sure there are others.

So Thanksgiving is day to reflect on what we have – the MANY things we SHOULD be thankful for.  I actually looked back to my blog from last year – and many of the things I was thankful for then, still apply.  Here are some of those, and some new things as well:

·       My food bowl.  Especially when it is full.

·       The treat jar. For obvious reasons.

·       Bananas. Carrots. Sweet potatoes.  But not lettuce.

·       My water bowl.  Drinking out of puddles is fine – but clean water IS better.

·       The guilt gifts we receive when my human is away on a holiday or for 

·       The lovely collars our human buys for us.  It doesn’t matter that you can’t 
        see them with all of our hair – they are still very nice!

·       Car rides – except when we are going to the vet.

·       Doorbells – which alert us to a new victim for our bad-mannered jumping.

·       Barettes. And elastics (or rubber bands).  To keep our hair out of our eyes!
·       Our house!  Because it beats living outdoors! Especially in the rain.

·       Our human’s bed.  Which we TECHNICALLY are not allowed on – but 
        where we sneak many nights…
·       Belly rubs and ear scratches.

·       Retrieving toys.  To bring back again and again and again and….

·       Rabbits.  And squirrels.  And cats.  To chase.

·       The ability to bark.  To warn of an intruder (like those foxes), to request 
        treat – or simply to welcome the dawn of a new day!

·       Sunny days.  To play outside.

·       Snowy days.  To play outside.

·       Snow plow operators.  We are thankful for you.  But hope we never see    
        you this winter.

·       Windy days.  To smell good things. And to play outside.

·       Weather forecast people.  Because you show us that “being right” is not a
        necessity in life.

·       Raincoats.  Although we PRETEND we don’t like them, they DO keep us
·       Family and friends!  Who are always THERE for you – through thick and   
        thin – and even porcupine quills!

·       Frodo and Paxton.  Who tolerate my licking, barking and biting – especially
        when we run outside.  Or downstairs.  Or at night.  Or in the morning. Or…

·       Dog people!  Who share stories, support one another, provide great advice
        and understand what it is like to be in this weird cult where you are owned
        by a dog!
·       All of those people who have supported me with my very first book!

·       The colorful leaves in the fall.  Which go flying every which way when I am
        retrieving my toys.

·       The morning – when the alarm goes off and we happily welcome a new

·       The stars when we go out at night for our last pee before bed.

·       That moment when we hear our human’s car coming home…

·       My human…

·       And finally… those who take the time to read my crazy BLOG! I’m not sure
        how long I’ll keep this going – but I am thankful I was able to do it for a

Happy Thanksgiving – no matter WHERE you live! HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

© Linda Wozniak

Fire prevention

October 9. Fire Prevention Day.  It’s a good day to check your smoke alarm batteries.  And we did another thing yesterday to prevent a fire.  Well WE didn’t but my human did.  You see, she’s been having problems with the clothes dryer for quite some time.  Sometimes it works, and then sometimes the filter light goes on and the machine turns off.  She cleaned EVERY filter she could find on the machine, and after a call to a dryer maintenance man, and some rather precarious inspection on a ladder, she determined that the problem was in the duct going from the dryer, into the ceiling and out a vent in the roof.  So she called in help – when the vacuum cleaner hose she attached to a kayak paddle wouldn’t reach the vent on the roof.  From her perch on the ladder.  I must say, my human TRIES to be resourceful – but she is not always successful. Anyway, clogged dryer ducts ARE a fire hazard – so it needed to be fixed. Never mind the hazards of carrying a vacuum cleaner up a ladder…

So yesterday, my human’s mother came to entertain us while the duct man came and my human went to work.  OK.  She wasn’t REALLY here to entertain us – more like sequester us so we wouldn’t bother the duct man.  And we were good the WHOLE time he was here. And then he left.  And as SOON as he was gone, Frodo knocked down the gate that was sequestering us.  The deck door was open so he raced out there barking and barking.  For no reason, of course. And THEN, he PEED on the leg of the barbecue.  FRODO.  The good dog.  PEED on the leg of the barbecue.  My human’s mother scolded him, but he wasn’t too stressed about it.  THEN, every time my human’s mother sat down to read, he would lead the three of us in a BARKING frenzy racing across the deck.

When my human got home, she asked her mother how we had behaved all day.  Her mother said, “And WHO do you think was the trouble-maker today?”  As usual, my human guessed ME.  She was surprised to hear it was NOT me. Redemption.  Finally.

So it was an eventful day.  My behavior wasn’t “on fire” and our dryer duct is clean and safe. Fire Prevention all around.

©  Linda Wozniak