At number 10:
You can't beat a bed time cuddle...
Although we had never intended to let Caesar in the bedroom, let alone on the bed! I must say, I've slept much better since discovering how therapeutic it can be to cuddle a toasty warm and very soft dog. This has become more evident recently when I've spent an increased amount of time in bed due to feeling under the weather. Caesar has been my constant companion, hot water bottle and teddy bear! I don't think he minds...
At number 9:
Weigh up the means and the outcome...
It occurred to me the other day that Caesar goes on the furniture. He sometimes sleeps in our bed and, although he's not supposed to, I frequently find him sitting on the settee. Does this bother me? Not as much as I had anticipated. When we first got Caesar, we insisted that he would not be allowed on any furniture and then spent the next six to eight months fighting him off the furniture! What was he doing on the furniture? Lying down.... In the end, I thought to myself...why does it matter? And since then, it's been much easier to control. Caesar rarely wants to get on the furniture and, when he does, he will get down when told. My life is much easier for not having to chase him off the furniture.
Is that a smile now that you're on the sofa?
At number 8:
He can do it at home, but don't assume he'll do it elsewhere...
Caesar is very receptive to training and will sell his soul for a tasty morsel...in the house. However, take him outside of the house and things are a little different. This year I have lost far too many points at dog training by assuming that Caesar will be able to apply his learning in the house to other scenarios....it rarely happens. And, it NEVER happens at crucial moments like in the park when there's another dog...
Well behaved inside but outside it's a different story!
At number 7:
Never leave Christmas presents in the dining room...
...and definitely not ones of the chocolate variety. As a side note to this; plastic crates are not secure enough...
Just waiting to get the presents from under the tree!
At number 6:
Never play-fight with a dog who has just drank a lot of water...
Damien and my carpet learnt this earlier this month when, after jumping around in the front room for a while, Caesar had a huge wee all over my rug!
At number 5:
A decent walk is good for the soul...
Sometimes, when things get tough, you can't necessarily be bothered to put on your wellies and go walking somewhere. But, once you get out in the ankle deep sludge, fresh air and long grass, it's amazing how quickly anxieties fade away. Caesar and I have been on some lovely walks this year, sometimes with a friend or two, sometimes on our own. Whatever the weather, whatever the place, a good walk can clear the mind!
At number 4:
Baby gates are a waste of money (as dog defense mechanisms)...
At Number 3:
He will come back...
No matter how bad Caesar can be if he gets away...so far, he has always come back. While we were on holiday in the Lake District this year, he opened the caravan door and left... Damien found him sitting where my car had been (I'd gone to the garage). And, during a walk one day, I fell over and the lead slipped from my hand. He didn't leave me, just ran circle around me! ....There was no one else around though...
At number 2:
Never say never
This year, Caesar has broken into my high-security kitchen, defeating my 'award winning doorknob' which I believed to be Caesar proof. This, only weeks after I had posted about how pleased I was that the kitchen was now penetrable. On a positive note though, I was able to let him off the lead with a group of dogs - something I thought I'd never see!
At number 1:
With time, patience and hard work, anything is achievable!
It has been a year of huge successes. Here are just a few:
- First off lead dog walk with other dogs.
- Lots of new commands learnt
- Record time of undamaged belongings
- Able to live with another dog
- Crate trained (finally)!
- First holiday - and he didn't trash the caravan, terrorise other campers or run away!
And, of course, 2013 has seen the launch of Caesar's blog: Saving Caesar. Thanks for reading everyone and I hope to see you all in 2014 for more 'Antics of a Rescue Dog!'
If you'd like to post some things that you've learnt from your dog, I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment.