Stop Your Dog from Jumping Up

In order to get your dog to stop this behavior you have to stop rewarding it. What do pet owners usually do when the dog jumps up? Usually they look at the dog and say something like “OK, Rover, OK, down, down, OK, good dog, go away now, enough, OK…” and may even pet the dog during the episode. All this attention is PURE REWARD to the dog, and only encourages the jumping up behavior. What needs to be done is the withdrawal of all attention. When the dog jumps up, quickly turn away from the dog, fold your arms, make no eye contact and say nothing. Once the dog has settled down THEN give it loads of attention and serious petting. The dog will need to learn this with every family member and everyone should act the same way to be consistent.

Once the dog learns that jumping up gets it NOTHING, the behavior should lessen or stop. Often the combined use of the sit command to refocus the dog’s attention is a great way to speed the whole process. As the dog is calming down, give the sit command and reward the dog for the good sit. This is especially good when you are on walks and the dog encounters a human it wants to greet. Just before it gets excited, give the sit command, then reward the dog with food, petting, toys, etc. Get the human to come down to the dog’s level and greet the dog that way. A dog that is busy sitting can’t jump up if it’s on a leash.

Four Keys to Training Your Dog.

Reinforcement

Dogs engage in a behavior because it is a reinforcing behavior.  For example: The dog jumps in the pool so as to feel cool, the dog scratches on the food bowl so as to get fed.  Also, the dog stares at you and barks so as to get you to feed him from the table, or the dog jumps up on you so as to get your attention.  These examples are about a dog doing something to get a desired consequence.  At one point in their history, the action paid off with a desirable consequence to them, and so they do it again.

In dog training, we take advantage of this fact of life and teach the dog that a particular action on their part will result in a positive consequence.  In other words, we reinforce that particular behavior.  So, in training, we will be strengthening the behaviors we want by rewarding them with food, praise, toys etc.

Consistency

When training your dog, you are essentially teaching him a new language- the language that will serve as a communication bridge between you and him.  What this means is that you must always be clear and consistent.  The rules being taught must always apply so as to not confuse him.  Think of dog training as a black and white concept, as opposed to a gray one.  Gray areas are obstacles to the bridge we are building because they don’t give the dog sufficient feedback.

Timing

The amount of time it takes a dog to associate the consequence of an action with the action itself is approximately 1.5 seconds.  In other words, you have a 1.5 second window of opportunity to teach a dog something.  For example: the dog sits beautifully, right after he is told to do so- the reward should come at or very close to 1.5 seconds so as to show the dog you are happy with his actions.  The longer you take to react after this, the more unlikely it will be that the dog associates the action he preformed, with the consequence you provide.

Attitude

When training your dog, there is really no room for anger.  Anger tends to frighten a dog, which will only set you back in your training and get in the way of your bond with him.  When the dog behaves in an undesirable fashion and we feel anger, then it is best to leave the training for a later time when we feel more even-tempered.  It is important to have fun with your dog during training.  Indeed, it requires discipline and attention on both of your parts, but it should be a happy, entertaining activity that you both enjoy.  That will only increase the likelihood of your dog’s full attention during training and help strengthen your relationship

Problem Barking

The sound of a dog’s bark is a common and not all together unexpected sound in neighborhoods, apartment complexes and anywhere people live among each other.  Barking is a means of communication, but when it reaches an excess in both pitch and frequency, the potential for conflict between neighbors grows. 

Barking is a symptom of something deeper and in order to find a solution, the reason behind the barking needs to be determined.

Lack of Exercise

If a dog is not exercised sufficiently on a daily basis, the extra energy may be released through barking.  For example, the dog learns that he gets a quick walk in the morning, and then is left inside, full of pent up energy with nothing to do and no one to do it with. The act of continuous barking releases the energy, eventually he gets tired and is able to sleep or remain in a calm state for a few hours.

  • Before leaving your dog for any period of time in which he will bark, take him on a walk, play a game of fetch or any activity that will burn off all excess energy.  A tired dog has stands a much better chance of being a quiet dog.  The key in knowing that your dog has received enough exercise is to be able to physically see your dog is tired.
  • Sometimes physical exercise is not enough to keep a dog quiet.  Many dogs, sporting and herding breeds, were bred for a specific purpose and need a “job” to keep them busy.  Mental exercise is just as important and can be found in the form of items which are safe to chew on in your absence. For example, a Kong Toy may be “stuffed” with the dog’s food, hard dog biscuits and then topped off with peanut butter, low sodium is best.

             Your veterinarian is a good source for safe chewing alternatives.

Boredom

  • Enroll in an obedience or agility class.
  • Play on a regular basis.
  • Plan daily activities-Include the dog on runs to the bank, go to the park, rotate his toys every week so they stay “new”.
  • Make time for your dog every day.

Barking for Attention

Barking becomes a way to receive attention and negative attention is better than none. 

  • Do not give your dog attention if he is being pushy-barking, whining or pawing at you; wait until he is calm so that he understands calm behavior gets attention.
  • When he is calm, give a command such as “sit”, and give him a couple of pets and move away.
  • If the dog does not calm down within a few seconds or the barking becomes more intense, give a one word command, such as Hush! in a firm tone and command a “sit”.
  • If the barking has become habit or the dog does not take you seriously, the use of a startle tactic may be necessary to stop the behavior.  The most commonly used and effective means of this type of correction would be a small spray bottle of water, a sealed metal can full of pennies or a loud whistle.  The object used must be small enough to avoid being seen by the dog for the startle element to be effective.
  • When the dog begins to bark, give your one word command and then follow immediately with a stream of water, a loud shake of the can or a loud blow of the whistle.  This should capture the dog’s attention and stop the barking.  When the barking stops, call the dog, command a sit, praise lightly and walk away.
  • Continue practicing until the dog stops barking for attention and respects your one word command without the use of a startle tactic.

Being Territorial or Protective

If a dog has been encouraged to react to strangers, animals and noises outside, he is being taught to respond to those sounds regardless if anyone is home.  The barking becomes problematic when there isn’t anyone around to tell him to stop and in many cases, the dog is more “on guard” when left alone.  A dog’s perception of a “trespasser” can be anyone who is not supposed to be there.

  • When you are home, allow the dog to bark several times, then tell him “Quiet” and call him over to you and ask him to sit and then reward.  If the barking continues, remove the dog from the room and stay with him until he is quiet.  Repeat this procedure until the dog learns not to bark past the initial “free barks”.
  • Do not allow him to decide who gets to come in the house, rush the front door or jump on anyone entering or be pushy for attention.
  • Have a door strategy when guests or repair people arrive, place the dog in a sit stay or put him in an area away from the door and keep him on a leash if the dog’s obedience is still a work in progress.
  • The dog is greeted last and is not acknowledged at all until he is calm and under control.
  • When he is calm, have the guest give the dog a treat, so the dog will eventually learn that people in his house are a good experience.
  • Repeat this procedure until the dog is well behaved and confident around guests and anyone in your home.
  • Do not encourage barking at outside noises, for example, saying “who is that?” or “get’em!”
  • If your dog’s body posture is stiff, tail and ears are erect and he will not settle down or relax his body, and ignores any attempt of control, consult a professional.  This is an example of a dog with more serious issues.

Fearful Barking

A dog that barks at thunderstorms, firecrackers, loud noises or construction equipment is a fear barker.  A fearful dog will have his tail tucked under; ears back, and may be crouched low to the ground, freeze in one spot or have frantic movements, like he is trying to escape.

  • Move the dog away from outside stimulus-in inner room or basement, draw the blinds, and block doors and windows from view.
  • Leave a radio or television on to help drown out any frightening noises.
  • Do not soothe or comfort your dog when he is frightened by petting or saying, “it’s ok, sh”, the tone of voice being used sounds like praise and you are inadvertently teaching him to act fearful.
  • Seek professional help to help desensitize your dog and build confidence.

Separation Anxiety

The anxious dog will begin barking when you leave or briefly afterwards, the dog displays a deep attachment to you by following you from room to room, greets you in a frenzied fashion and seems anxious when your are about to leave.  A dog suffering from separation anxiety will always bark, regardless of how long you are gone.  The problem can become worse if there has been a change in the dog’s life, a move, a new roommate or pet, being left alone for a longer period, the loss of a family member or if the dog pet has recently been adopted from an animal shelter.

  • Provide the dog with structure and consistency in his daily routine.  This will allow the dog to become familiar with what to expect and give him less things to worry about.
  • Teach him simple obedience commands, for example, sit and down stay to build his confidence and allow him to receive rewards when he is “away” from you.
  • Do not make a big deal out of leaving or coming home.  When it is time to leave, walk out of the door in a matter of fact manner and ignore the dog for a few minutes when arriving home.  This will allow the dog time to calm down and then receive attention when he has settled.
  • When you are not leaving, practice the triggers that cause the dog to become anxious and anticipate leaving, for example, putting on a coat or shoes or picking up a purse, briefcase or keys.  Pick up the keys and hold them until the dog is calm, do not say anything to the dog, when he is calm, put the keys down and move on to a common activity, reading a book or watching television.  Repeat this exercise daily until the dog can remain calm and watch the procedure.
  • Many cases of separation anxiety are severe will take the help of a professional trainer or veterinarian to resolve.

Positive Alternative

  • Dog daycare-an excellent resource for teaching the dog that he can have a great time in your absence and you will return to pick him up.  The dog will return home exercised and will be able to remain calm for a longer period of time.

Remember:

  • Regardless of the reason your dog barks, all dogs need regular exercise.
  • Don’t punish after the fact-if you don’t catch the dog in the act of barking, the effectiveness of any correction is lost.
  • Enlist the help of a friend or neighbor to assess the length of time the dog barks, when and if the reason can be found.

Teddy and the Cats

I don’t really remember my first owners now, however, I do remember the day they took me for a car ride and left me in this strange place.  The room was filled with new people and these creatures that hissed and swatted at me whenever I approached. My leash got passed from person to person, and I had no choice but to trail after them as they walked through the corridors of the hissing creatures.  

Thankfully, after a few hours of dodging claws and teeth, I got to go home with a nice lady.  She had a gentle basset hound that I got to play with. Now, being a shih tzu mix puppy, a dog that was my height made me feel good.

I looked up at the lady,  When are my owners coming back?

The lady ignored my question, “You are such a cutie, we will find you a good home.  I promise.”

New home?  What is she talking about? I have a home.  

“Come lay on the bed next to Buddy.” The lady patted the extra doggie bed at the foot of her bed.  She then patted the basset hounds’ head, “Take care of our guest, tonight.”

I collapsed on the bed next to Buddy, too exhausted from confusion to figure anything else out.

It will look better in the morning.  Maybe this is all a bad dream.

The next morning, I woke up to Buddy howling.  I glanced around with a start, before remembering my new surroundings, and realizing I had to find Buddy and his mom.

I scampered down the hall, following the sound of Buddy’s howl.  I found the back door just in time to follow Buddy into the yard.  

I relaxed a little and enjoyed marking my territory in Buddy’s backyard.

As Buddy’s mom let us back into the house, she continued to talk on the phone.

I followed her.  Maybe she is talking to my owners, and they are coming to pick me up.

She talked for a long time, and was definitely talking about me, from her side of the conversation.

“Yes, he is about 4 months old.  His wavy black hair gives him such personality.”

Yep, that’s me.  

“Yes, he played with my basset hound, and slept through the night.”

I peed all over Buddy’s backyard too.

“No, he seemed kind of scared of the cats yesterday, but it was a completely new environment for him.”

She paused momentarily before continuing, “Yes, he will be with me at the rescue event tonight.  Great, we will see you then.”

I wagged my tail, as Buddy’s mom made eye contact with me.   I hope she has good news!

“You are coming with me to the cat rescue today.  Then, we will go to the adoption event tonight, and a nice woman is going to come meet you.  She sounds very interested in adopting you.”

My tail slowly stopped wagging.  My owners aren’t coming back?  

I laid on the tile floor.  My good mood was gone. I didn’t want to go back to the ‘cat rescue’.  

Cats are the hissing creatures that hated me yesterday.

I want to go home.

“Come get in the car,” Buddy’s mom called to me.  “See you tonight, Buddy,” she continued.

Bye, Buddy.  I want to live in one place again, all this moving around is confusing.

I rode in the car, stretching my neck to see out the window.  I am not sure why I wanted to see where we were going, after all, the streets looked identical to me.

When we got to the cat rescue, I made sure to stay extra close to Buddy’s mom’s heels.  I was greeted with the same hissing and spitting faces from the cats this morning. I dodged a few swatting claws, before I was stopped in front of a cage with a cat hunched in the back.

Maybe, I can make friends. This cat looks as scared as I feel.

Before I had even taken a full step towards the cat, pointy claws and teeth lunged for me.

Yikes!  I jumped backwards, before shaking myself off.

Forget it.  I just have to avoid the claws until tonight.  Then, maybe the new woman will adopt me.

The day seemed longer than any day I had every experienced.  My paws hurt from all the walking.

That evening, I was driven to a pet store, where there were crowds of people and dogs passing me.

At least, the dogs were friendly.

I ducked behind Buddy’s mom’s legs as curious hands reached out to pet me.  

When is the woman you told me about coming?  If she was my ticket out of here, I couldn’t wait to meet her.  

I had just curled up for a nap under the one table, when Buddy’s mom started talking to a woman.

The woman had a nice smile and welcoming eyes.  She kept glancing down at me, as she talked.

That’s her, this is the one I am supposed to meet, I just know it.

I got up and tiptoed over to the woman’s shoes.  I sniffed the strange scent, and then jumped as the woman bend over to pet me.

“Can I pick him up?” I heard her ask.

“Yes, of course.  He is very friendly, just a little scared from all the changes.”

The woman squatted down and talked to me, “Come here, little guy, it’s all right.”

She held her hand out for me to sniff.  I hesitated momentarily, but soon felt safe by the calm presence of this new woman and walked over to sniff her hand.

She smiled and cooed, “Look at your long curly hair.   You are so cute.”

I felt my tail wag just a little in response to the sweet tone.

I was then scooped into her arms.  I started to struggle, but her gentle hold and soft stroking made me relax.

I heard her ask several questions to Buddy’s mom.

I stretched my head up and sniffed her chin and cheek.  She giggled and cuddled me to her.

I found myself licking her cheek and my tail wagging.  Yes, I want to go home with you.

To my delight, I heard the woman ask about adopting me.

After a few more minutes of conversation, I left the store with the new woman.  I should have been scared, but I wasn’t. She had me tucked securely under her arm and spoke softly to me.  I already trusted my new mom.

As we got in her car, she told me, “I am going to name you Teddy Bear.  After all your soft coat feels like a teddy bear’s. You are going to come home and live with me, ok?”

I stared into her eyes and wagged my tail.

Alright!  I have a mom now, just like Buddy.

Then my new mom continued, “You will love your new home, Teddy.  It is a two story house, with lots of cats for you to play with.”

Cats!  Oh, no.  I don’t want to be hissed and swatted at again.  I’ll take my chances with Buddy’s mom. Take me back.

I tried to squirm away, but even while driving she managed to keep me confined to her lap.

I sighed and rested my head on her leg, suddenly not wanting to get to ‘my new home’ at all.

It wasn’t too long before my new mom, parked the car and carried me into the house.

I gazed around and saw several cats coming out to greet us.

I cringed as I was set down in the middle of the floor, hearing my mom say, “This is Teddy.  Everyone be nice to him.”

As I sat on Mom’s feet waiting for the hissing and spitting to start.  I couldn’t take the tension, so I shut my eyes. Maybe, if I don’t look around, this will all go away.  Suddenly, I felt a furry body rub against mine. As I peeked out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a light grey tabby cat rubbing against me.

I stood up and sniffed at her.  There was no hissing and no signs of claws.  In fact, soon I had all five cats rubbing against me purring.

I glanced up at Mom who was watching protectively, I wagged my tail.  I returned to sniffing each cat as they rubbed against me.

These cats like me!  This is great!

I followed Mom across the room to the couch.  As I jumped up to sit next to her, the light grey tabby, put her paw around me.  She then frisked across the room. I studied her movements. She came back up to me, and then as I went to sniff her, she frisked away again.

She wants to play!

I chased after her and soon the other cats joined in our game.  When Mom called bed time that night, I was relaxed and happy with my new home.

I drifted off to sleep in the bed surrounded by my new family, a doggie smile on my face.   I had a new Mom and five cat friends to play with.  I am so happy to be home.

The end.

Teach Your Dog to Roll Over

Get your dog to lay down in front of you. Once he is down, encourage him to go to a hip (whichever side your dog favors).  Now take a treat, show it to your dog. Keep the treat close to your dog’s nose and move the treat slowly over the dog’s shoulder towards his backbone. Your dog should turn his head to follow the treat. At first you may have to place your other hand on your dog’s back to prevent him from standing up.

The further back you move the treat, the more your dog should twist his neck to follow the treat.  If the neck twists far enough, the body will follow.  Once his legs are in the air, continue using the treat to lure him all the way over.  Remember to label the command with one word such as ‘over’ or ‘rollover’. Be consistent with the command you give every time you work with your dog on roll over. Until your dog knows what is expected by the command, only say it as the dog is doing the trick. Always give him the treat when he is all the way over.

With practice, your dog will no longer need you to lure him all the way over. You will be able to say your command and make a rolling signal with your index finger to cue your dog to roll over.

Summer Shedding

Summer heat means, your dogs and cats are shedding. While you might be annoyed at the extra hairball tumble weeds on your floor, remember that all that loose hair isn’t good for your pet. Dogs and cats require a minimum of weekly brushing year round, even if they are indoors. Long haired cats and dogs may require daily brushing.

The best products I’ve found to help me manage my dog and cats’ shedding are the Furminator products.

Furminator makes stainless steel blade brushes in many varieties to fit every coat length and type. The brushes are very effective at removing not only the top coat, but also the loose undercoat that can cause matting if left on your pet. The brush blades are well made and don’t scratch your pets skin or pull on their fur. I’ve found that brushing my dog and cats with the Furminator brush twice a week really controls my pets’ shedding.

Furminator also makes many waterless sprays that aid in the effectiveness of brushing.. I’m going to tell you my two favorites.

The first one is for cats. I’ve been using Furminator Hairball Prevention spray on my cats for years. It helps reduce shedding and prevents hairballs in cats without having to bathe them. The spray contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids and other natural ingredients that help keep my cats fur shiny and healthy looking.

The second spray is for dogs. I use Furminator detangling waterless spray. My Shih-Tzu has curly fur that gets easily tangled between grooming appointments. This spray is very effective in loosening the tangles, so I can brush through it without pulling his fur. Like the Hairball Prevention spray, the detangling spray is made with Omega 3 Fatty Acids and other natural ingredients to promote healthy fur.

Furminator products will help you keep the excess hair off your dogs and cats so they can enjoy the summer with you. Happy brushing!!

How to Stop Your Puppy from Chewing

1) Puppy-proof your home. Instead of constantly reprimanding a young puppy for getting into things, puppy-proof any areas of the house to which your puppy will be given access, in much the same way one would child-proof an area for a baby:
 

  • Temporarily take up any throw rugs.

  •   Place all plants, poisonous substances, household cleaners, trash receptacles, paper products (such as tissue and toilet paper), shoes, and any small chewable objects out of reach.

  •   Remove, cover or tape down all accessible electrical wires.

  •   Remove or secure heavy objects which could fall or be pulled down and cause injury to the puppy.

2) Limit the number of toys. While all dogs should have toys to play with, the problem with providing your dog with too many toys is that it makes it more difficult for the dog to differentiate what’s his from what’s yours. Do not provide a destructive puppy with more than a few toys at a time.  Rotating your dog’s toys will keep the toys new and exciting to your dog, so he would go looking for new toys.

If your dog is chewing on soft items such as sofa cushions or pillows, do not give your dog any plush toys.  Plush dog toys with squeakers, often increase your dog’s prey drive, making them want to destroy and get the squeaker out.  Once the dog has destroyed his toys he will go looking for something else to “kill”.

3) Safely confine your puppy. Use a suitably sized crate or wire-reinforced puppy gate whenever you’re unable to safely supervise him. When introduced properly and used correctly, crate training is a safe, preventive, effective and humane housetraining tool, which provides the puppy with a secure, protective den, while offering his owner peace of mind. Please note: Introduce your dog to his new crate using positive association and never use his crate as a punishment.


4) Offer him lots of outdoor exercise. Dogs that are destructive indoors need one to two hours of active outdoor exercise daily, provided they are fully immunized. Teaching your dog to retrieve a ball, toy, or Frisbee will help cure his chronic chewing problem.

Dog Rearing: The Essentials

Attention, Exercise, and Mental Stimulation

Dogs need social interaction, physical exercise, and mental stimulation – just like children do – in order to grow up to be healthy and well adjusted.  When these needs are not met, many behaviour problems can develop. 

Attention:

How much daily social time does a dog need? A good rule of thumb is that a dog should spend at least half his waking hours each day interacting with other dogs and people.  Like humans, most dogs enjoy a mix of old friends and new encounters – so make sure your pup meets at least one new dog or person each day.   While dogs do need to learn to spend time alone, too much isolation will make them antisocial, anxious or depressed.  Allowing your dog regular access to his familiar doggie buddies as well as the chance to meet new dogs will increase the chances of him being socially content and well adjusted. 

Physical Exercise & Mental Stimulation:

Your dog’s brain and body BOTH need lots of exercise. Swimming, playing tug & fetch, and playing with other dogs are good brain AND body work-outs.  Walks on leash are not always physically exerting, but they do provide a lot of mental stimulation: all the outdoor smells, sights and sounds are very interesting!  Working on obedience skills requires lots of doggy concentration, and your dog will love the mental challenge of figuring out new things.   Make sure you exercise your dog’s brain AND body each day.

Pet sitting Guidelines

Find out the pet’s normal schedule and routine from the owner.  Follow it as closely as possible.  Pets are creatures of habit and their routine will comfort them while owner is away.

Find out about pet’s normal eating habits- do they scarf their food or do they graze on it all day?  This will be important for you to know if the pet is stressed while their owner is gone.  Not eating is a common symptom of separation anxiety in pets and needs to be monitored closely and taken to the vets when necessary.

Find out if the pet’s favorite spots in the house- cats might hide under the bed or in a closet while owner is away, dog might lay on a couch or bed that is forbidden when owners are home.

Make sure the owner leaves you phone numbers where they can be reached, an itinerary of their travel plans, and pet’s veterinarian number. Ask for written instructions for pets feeding and medication instructions so you have a reference sheet. Take notes as the pet owner explains their pets’ daily routines.

Remember even though the pets are in their own home, they will still be stressed to some degree while their owner is away.  Use common sense when it comes to caring for the pets and don’t expect them to behave for you the same way they do for their owner. 

Find out the owner’s weekly schedule- do they work from home or do they go to the office 5 days a week? A pet that is used to a person in the home all the time is going to be a lot more stressed, staying in the house alone.

Know if the pets have had pet sitters in the past or if this is the first time.  A pet that’s never been left before is more likely to stressed than a pet that is left on a regular basis.

Find out expectations from owner as to communications.  Some clients will want a call or text every day from the pet sitter, while others only expect a call if there is an emergency.

Sonny and the Big Move

I will never forget the day, Mom told me we were leaving my Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  This was the only home I had lived in since Mom adopted me at six months old.   

Mom was excited as she said, “On February 15th we are moving into our very own place, Sonny.” 

That’s only two weeks away.  Shih-tzus don’t like change.  Initially I was energized by Mom’s excitement, as I love to go anywhere with my mom.  But, it didn’t take long for me to decide I didn’t want to go.  As I watched all of my belongings being boxed up, and Mom shop for all sorts of supplies, I changed my mind.

  When will I hear about anything other than the move?  I don’t like all this commotion.  I like it here with Grandma, Grandpa and the Westies.  The past two years here have been great.  Why do we have to move?  I don’t want to have to stay anywhere by myself!

On the morning of February 15th, I watched as Mom loaded up the car with all of my toys and some other supplies. 

Wait what are you doing with my stuff?  No, don’t take that, I wasn’t done chewing it.

Mom then called, “Sonny, let’s go.”

The apartment complex wasn’t too far away, and soon Mom was leading me into the office.  I had to sit quietly with Mom for what felt like forever.  All we need is the key.  Let’s go.  I pulled on the end of my leash trying to explore.

 “Just hold on a second, Sonny. We will go in just a minute,” Mom soothed and pulled me up into her lap.

Finally, we left the office and got back in the car.   It was a short ride and Mom pulled the car into a garage.  I waited eagerly to be lifted from the car.  I was off leash, so I quickly took in all the strange smells that were here.  It doesn’t smell like Grandma and Grandpa’s garage.

“Come on Sonny,” Mom called, “Let’s go see our new place.”

I followed Mom through the door and up the stairs.

Wow.  Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

Mom wandered through the first floor and then disappeared up more stairs.

Wait where did you go, Mom?  I don’t want to stay here alone!

Mom did a quick walk through of the upstairs and then said, “Let’s go unload the car.”

Out in the garage, I watched as Mom unloaded box after box from the car stacking them by the garage door.  Suddenly, I saw the bag that contained my toys and bones.  Mom also had my bed in her hands.

Wait.  Where are you going?

I ran up the stairs after her.

Mom got up to the living room and quickly dumped the bag’s contents on the living room floor.

All right. I’ll take those.

 I ran to the toys and shook one in glee.  I then had to sniff and sort through the stack making sure none had been lost.

Phew, they are all here.

 I picked up my stuffed tree trunk toy and wandered around the room.

Mom had carried the rest of the boxes from the garage while I was busy, and now called, “Sonny, come on, let’s go for a car ride.”

What was the hurry to get back in the car again?  

I rode with Mom back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house where we got my grandparents help as we made another trip back to the apartment.  Both cars were loaded up this time, and Mom and my grandparents worked quickly to unload the cars back at the apartment.

After following them up and down the stairs several times, I decided to just wait for them.

Those stairs are wearing me out.

I explored all the boxes and bags that were brought into the house.  

When the last of the boxes were unloaded from the car, and Mom and my grandparents were in the kitchen unloading boxes, I decided to just shut my eyes for a quick nap.

I guess, I slept longer than I thought, because when I woke up the living room and kitchen were completely set up.

Boxes were no longer stacked everywhere. My toys and bones were in a basket next to the entertainment center.

I stretched, yawned and carried a bone over to the window. Wow, this view is great. Oh, there is a dog my size, let’s go make friends.

 I turned around to find Mom, but everyone was heading upstairs.

I trotted after them, but by the time we went outside, the dog was gone.

I dosed on Mom’s futon bed, and watched Mom, Grandma, and Grandpa unpack.

It was almost dinner time, when I startled awake as everyone else heading back downstairs.  I jumped off the futon and had to admit, this room now looked like Mom’s room at her parents house.

As I caught up with everyone downstairs, I overheard Mom say, “Thanks for all your help today.  I will call you tomorrow.”

Grandma and Grandpa were heading for the door.   Wait, where are you going?

“See you later, Sonny,” Grandma said scratching my head.

“Have a good night,” Grandpa said.

I was scooped into Mom’s arms and we watched her Grandpa back the car out of the driveway.

Left on our own, Mom fixed us dinner and took me for a walk that evening.   I got to explore and mark my new territory.

Back at the apartment, Mom turned on the TV. Since I immediately fell asleep on the couch next to Mom, I was startled when Mom said, “Ok, it is time for bed, let’s go.”

Great.  I am exhausted.  Let’s not move again anytime soon ok?

Mom climbed into bed.  She patted my head good night and said,  “I love you, Sonny.”  She laid down to go to sleep.

I love you too.  I curled up at the foot of the bed.

This place is great after all.  Nothing has changed between me and Mom.  I have all my toys, bones, and a brand new window to entertain me. 

The End