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Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekly Wag:
Fulfilling Your Dog's Bucket List

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Tanner Thrives
 on Outdoor Activities

Thank you all for your patience while I have been away from my duties here. With a son getting married and the Barkworld Expo trip immediately following, I've been incredibly pressed for time. Now that I'm home, I'm about to give up my daughter to the road. She's been doing a bit of her own bonding this week with her pups, and that's what inspired this post: 

While watching Tanner today I realized that he definitely has his own Bucket List. His girl had just returned from a hike with him. When she walked away from our property to visit with a friend, she left him behind, sitting at the corner of our lot with an incredibly imploring look. You would have thought his BFF just left him for good.

I offered him a few of his favorite forms of affection and he responded happily, but with one eye steadily watching his girl drift out of sight. He began to crane his neck in hopes of catching a glimpse of her. Oh my. In just a few days she'll be leaving us for a long trip. Tanner will need a good bit of distraction to get past that. I'm thinking more walks, more dog park outings and more social engagement with other dogs and people. I've definitely got my work cut out for me, but all of this time spent with him will be bonding time. I need to savor it.

We started last night, before she even left. We took an outing to Grandma's house to visit her and Jacque, this time without Oliver along. Tanner perked up and immediately found joy in the new toys, new smells and new fun at Grandma's house. It was such fun to watch the difference in how he plays when he doesn't have his sidekick, Oliver, that I had a flashback of his puppy days.

Before Oliver joined our family, Tanner had been the focus of my training attention. Xena was already a 10 year old with good manners to spare. Now it was time to help Tanner absorb her behavioral experience. With 2 rescues doing well, our next one, Oliver, arrived when Tanner was about 18 months old. Thankfully, he was doing quite well, having completed his CGC training classes and begun agility. Although I was able to take on Oliver without shorting Tanner's training time, I never really realized until today that I may have shorted him in the bonding time that every kid needs with mom before another kid comes along. I believe this same strategy should apply to our dogs if we want them to fully bond to us.
Weekly Wag Button
Today I've vowed to assure Tanner does not ever feel he was shorted. I have been blessed with such wonderful rescues in recent years. I need to make sure they know how special they are to me. I'll just bet that feeling, the ultimate bonding between a dog and his or her owner, is the epitome of their Bucket List. 

What do you think? What would your dog's number one item be on his bucket list if he could put it into words? I would love to hear your thoughts. Can you give me more ideas for my special time with each dog? Let 'em rip; the comment link is open:

Join us each week for the Weekly Wag bonding series, held during the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop. The hop is hosted by Life with DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume. You are welcome to link up here, or check any of their sites for their rules of participation. Happy hopping! 


Sage said...

Being able to play ball near a water source is definitely at the top of Sage's bucket list!

Tanner will love all the attention you can give him. And it sounds like you are well on your way to a happy dog.

Kolchak Puggle said...

What a wonderful thought. We try to make time to spend with each dog one on one, as well as together.

Felx loves to go places. He'd like to see everywhere and meet everyone.

Koly on the other hand is in his happy place when we're in the kitchen together. Even if I'm cooking "human" food, pieces of meat and vegges tend to fall his way and he loves it.

Misty said...

Even though Molimo doesn't live with us, Steel loves it when she's gone. If she travels or just doesn't come to work, Steel's whole body language changes. She relishes in being an only dog!

evie said...

what a lovely lucky tanner is. i feel so sorry for him that his bff is leaving. i dont travel anymore unless my 3 girls go along...when i just had evie, i would take her w/ me. now that i have 3 it is hard. not only would they be upset, but i could not stand being away from them. i remember when i was in the hospital for 4 days and had someone staying at the house. they knew this person, but she said they just missed me, they did not want to sleep in the bed w/ her or hang out w/ her. evie was an only child for almost 8 yrs when i got tressa. how she hated her...she was so jealous. my mother was so upset w/ me. she would not even look at her new grandchild. she said i have destroyed her only grandchild, evie, how could i do that...and evie did rebel...then i got harley, and evie really went bonkers. harley loves her older sister, loves to sleep beside her and evie cant stand it. harley takes evie's toys out of her mouth as well as treats. harley is fearless and evie is very submissive...even after 2 yrs w/ the other 2 girls, evie is still upset w/ me. she loves it when it is just us...when i leave the girls in the pen and just play w/ evie, she seems to look at them, like i have mom now, she is mine...take that...evie loves it when i just take her along for the ride in the car and leave the other girls at home...she loves being w/ just me...i try to play as much ball w/ her as i can..she loves to play any kind of ball...she will play til she is worn out...but i have to watch her she is now 12...i cant believe i have had her since she was 8 wks old...she is the good except when she talks back to me...i pray that she will be w/ me for many more yrs to come...i dont think i can bear to lose her...sometimes i just hug and kiss on her for long periods of time and cant bear to think of her not being w/ me...if anything happens to me, i have already made arrangements for all of my girls, evie goes to the nc schnauzer rescue and the 2 girls go back to the breeder (as stated in the contract)...all have a trust to take care of them, health insurance, etc. if something happens to any of them, they will be cremated and buried w/ i did w/ my first dog who is buried b/t her grandparents, who took her when she was abt 7 mos old when i had to go away to do my college internship. when i came home, the first thing said to me was that i could not have my dog back....unfortunately, rose died young, at 7, she had leukemia. i think my mother cried more when rose died than when my father passed mother and father used to argue over whom rose loved the most. when my dad died, rose went into a real depression, she tore up his favorite chair they used to sit in sat and sun pm to watch the ball games...she was spoiled rotten. my mother used to boil chicken for her and cook tenderloin for her, she would even eat at the table. she would not eat until they started eating though. when it was time for my dad to be home for work, rose was waiting at the door, if he was late, she would get upset and my mother would have to let her out, so she could walk up and down the parking lot to see if my father's car was there, if not, she would come back and sit at the door. the first person my father acknowledged when he got home was rose w/ hugs and kisses, he would ask her abt her day, etc. then they would go to his chair and sit while he read the paper...
..she was their first grandchild and the one who loved them the most...

Dawn said...

There are a lot of bonding activities that we do. It has been a little different for each dog. For example, Maya especially loves cuddle time. Sephi preferred to play. And Pierson likes training time the most. All my dogs enjoy walks and belly-rubs. And all my dogs love to play hide-and-seek with me.

jayedee said...

without a doubt, number one on 7 month old Cooper's (pit bull mix) bucket list would be actually being allowed to a)chase the geese, b)maul and kill the geese and c)eat the geese.

i'm pretty much beside myself with this issue and if anyone has any constructive ideas that don't involve re homing Cooper or the geese, i'm all ears!

Jessica @ YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner said...

Chester and Gretel's bucket list would be "one more hike". I don't think they care where they go :)

Trish B. said...

Your post brought me to tears. I so understand about your pet(s)' bucket list. I have nine of my own rescued dogs, one foster dog, three rescued kitties and one cockatoo. I try to let mine sit in the sun as long as they can tolerate it (my rescued Bulldogs), get my animals any toys, treats, etc that I think they would love, let them play in the yard longer. I lost three of my babies to cancer a couple of years ago and when we found out that they were terminal, they would get a cheeseburger as a treat every night after their dinner. They also got chocolate on the day we helped them to the Bridge. Thank you for your wonderful post! xoxo Trish

Kadee said...

Carrie - I loved this post. I have two dogs, a three year old and an 8 month old and I too, feel the need to make sure I continue bonding with my three year old .. no matter how much time the puppy seems to take. I feel like she feel a separation and I feel like I see it in her so I really try hard to make sure she's happy too. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels this way.

I've been wanting to try K9 Nose Works with my three year for some time (she LOVES to sniff) and I think this would certainly be on her bucket list. Makes me feel like I need to get to it sooner rather than later now :)

Thanks for the reminder, great post!

Kadee Gray

larrielle said...

Oh, if Bentley could live on forever that would truly make me happy! Bentley is the apple to my eye, my everything! I am a proud mother and like to make sure that the 2 years of his life so far are the best.

Bentley's number one item on his bucket list is nothing short of quality time with me. Bentley is very independent, but he's also mama's boy. He wants to be rubbed, played with, and left alone when he needs his space (BOL). Bentley is much like me I would say.

Also, to keep him socially active we are apart of a Meetup group ( name Charlotte Small Dog Society. I'm actually a co-organizer. Several times a month we connect with other members (75+ members in the group) via themed pawties, walks, social gatherings, barkday pawties, etc. Bentley enjoys them which makes me feel good as a mother.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

@larielle: We love our Meetup groups too; members of a Big Dog Group and a Little Dog Group!

@Kadee: Check out our scent work post from early January here: and also a trainer's post on the topic here:

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