Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Random Ray

Ray definitely has a routine. He's not as bad as the cats who are obsessive-compulsive but there are certain things that he likes to fit into his day. Sleeping on the couch and the two chairs, in order, are one of those things. Helping me put my shoes and socks on before we go for a walk is another. (I sit on his dog bed and grab my shoes, which I keep by the front door with socks jammed in them. Ray helps by biting my socks for me and then nibbling my toes and feet when the socks are on.) The he likes to take a morning walk, take an evening walk, go to daycare (if it's a really good day for Ray), play tug-of-war, dig up a (rawhide) bone, gnaw a bone, bury a bone, go out to say hi to Sasha (the romance has cooled a bit - it's sad for everyone but devastating for Sasha), play keep-away with something fun (a bone or a perrier bottle or the toilet bowl brush). It's a busy agenda but Ray manages it well. 
Ray loves keep-away. He grabs his object of choice and looks at me over his shoulder with a "bet you can't catch me" look. I walk after him slapping my feet on the floor so he can hear me coming. He walks away, through the living room around the coffee table, through the front hall, into the kitchen then back into the living room. It's a very small loop. 
Gregg, sitting in his chair, lifts his feet out of the way so that Ray doesn't trip over him. I keep talking to Ray, "I'm going to get you, I'm going to take your bone!" I head him off at the pass, making sure to make a lot of noise. Ray loves that part. He gets down on his front paws, rump in the air then takes off back the way he came, you can tell he thinks he's so smart. Sometimes he takes it outside and I chase him around the backyard. Then he starts to feel sorry for me, drops the object and pretends to lose interest. I grab it up and yell "I've got the bone!." I walk away at a brisk pace, taking his route around the coffee table, Ray at my heels, grinning and grabbing. It really is a fun game. 
Yesterday when I dropped Ray off at daycare, there was a woman with a small, white poof of a dog. The poor little guy was cowering at the front door. 
The owner looked at me and said "He hates coming here." 
I replied "Oh, that's too bad! My dog loves it here." 
"I could tell," said the poof's person, "I saw him dragging you across the parking lot." 
I thought that was a bit of an exaggeration, but then again....
I brought Ray home, left him inside, and headed out to the grocery. When I got back there was a ripped brown bag and a cloth napkin on the floor in the front hall. The brown bag had contained some corn chips left over from lunch at Chipotle. I didn't even have to get out the vacuum, there wasn't a speck left. And you gotta love a dog that uses a cloth napkin after eating his corn chips. What CLASS.
This morning when I took Ray for a walk, we took a random, long route. We were walking toward a woman with a large yellow dog. The front legs were white and there was some white on his chest. 
She looked at Ray and said "Another hound! I never see hounds around here. I've never seen him before did you just move in?" 
I explained about Ray and that I was in the next neighborhood over. I asked what kind of dog hers was. 
"We call him a West Virginia Lab," she said, "He was supposed to be a labrador retriever but obviously he has a lot of hound in him." 
"Does he bay?" I asked. 
She laughed and said that when they were looking to get a dog her husband was adamant that they not get a hound.
"He kept saying 'NO HOUNDS,'" she said. "So we brought home this 'lab' and the first time a fire engine went through the neighborhood, the kids and I were in the room with the dog and he started baying. My husband came running in and wanted to know if that was our dog but we all denied it. But we were all laughing so he wasn't fooled."
When we got back after our walk, I was in the mood for watermelon.  I sliced off a piece, my first piece of the summer, and ate it over the sink, Ray's head jammed between me and the counter. Can dogs eat watermelon? (Anyone out there know?). He seemed so interested. I got a piece of ice out of the freezer and gave it to Ray. He loves ice. He laid down and crunched it contentedly then jammed his head back between me and the counter. Another piece of ice. More contented crunching. I love the dog days of summer.
Ray's training is still in progress. He can sit now without me having to say it 10 times. Sometimes on the second or third time sometimes by the ninth time. His "stay" is also pretty good. He's walking on a leash great. It's not exactly a heel but the leash is slack and he is next to me. When he starts to pull, I shake the leash so that it jingles the tags on his collar and say "heel". (I don't like choking him at all - such a sensitive dog). He will slow down so that he is beside me again (it might take a couple shakes, but he gets it). 
I let him dictate when to stop and sniff things. I figure it's only fair. I can't tell when there is a really interesting scent around. Some days there are lots of interesting scents; some days not so much. Of course his good behavior is contingent on there being no one around. We are still working on his that when there are interesting distractions. He tends to be a bit out of control around people and dogs. 
And when we leave the house for a walk, Ray lets me out the door first and then follows me out. I tell him to sit while I lock the door and he lets me walk off the porch first. Such a civilized pooch. 


  1. Dogs can eat watermelon, but they will spit the seeds at you!

  2. I live in Columbia, SC and also followed Ray (Cagney) through the classified ads - we adopted our dog from SQ Rescue - where Ray was. I do hope you find a good home for him - he is such a wonderful animal. It would be great if his new parents would continue to blog, at least for a while, so we can follow his progress and see that he is doing ok. I believe he has won the hearts of many. I know he is very attached to you and Gregg -- I am so sorry you will not be keeping him and I am concerned about him going from home to home. We will hope for the best.

  3. Louise digs the watermelon rinds out of the trash all the time and eats whatever is left. Of course then she leaves the rinds all over the carpet, she just needs to learn to clean up after herself.

  4. Louise is such a good dog. (Louise is Ray's cousin in Colorado).