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February 24, 2016

Lessons From My Second Dog

Life is good for an only-pup. The attention, the love and the treats all go to one dog and one dog only. It’s good to be king After three years with Eko, I felt like I knew everything about dogs. Feeding, training, behavior, you name it, I knew
Life is good for an only-pup. The attention, the love and the treats all go to one dog and one dog only.Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, adventure, dogs, adventure

It’s good to be king

After three years with Eko, I felt like I knew everything about dogs. Feeding, training, behavior, you name it, I knew it like the back of my hand. I felt quite secure in my canine knowledge.

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Until this little stinker came along!

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Penny, to put it mildly, turned my world upside down

When Penny first came home I treated her exactly how puppy-Eko liked to be treated. I gave her the same toys, the same accommodations and the same training methods.

I quickly realized the error of my ways. Where Eko spent most of his first day home in my lap, Penny spent most of her first day terrorizing my mom’s dog and asserting her claim as emperor of the universe.

Penny’s first lesson for me was also the most important lesson – there is no “one size fits all” method to a successful relationship with your dogs.

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When presented with the same exact stimuli, two dogs may react completely differently. In my case, I have one philosopher and one bowling ball

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And when you’re a bowling ball, the whole world looks like pins

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Penny forced me to reconsider everything I “knew” in order to discover the best way for us to build a strong relationship

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These days, I know twice as much as I did yet half as much as I thought I did

When my whole world was one dog, I knew the whole world. Penny’s gift was the realization the world is much greater than any one (or two) dog(s).

With each new dog in our lives, we must keep our eyes and minds open to the new lessons each pup has for us.

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My little hellhound has had plenty of lessons for me!

 Live. Learn. Grow. Repeat. Eko taught me the first three, Penny taught me the last one. Together, they form a simple but powerful map for my journey through life.

So what about you guys? What did your second pet teach you that you might have otherwise missed?

Comments for Lessons From My Second Dog

  1. I had a dog fight in my bed the first night we brought the second husky home… I trusted that “one size fits all-myth” too and it ended with trouble, fortunately unbloody. butt I never will know if martin the monk discovered the secret of the cave in the forest… that two gladiators shredded my book :o)

  2. “Hellhound” love it! I couldn’t agree with this more “there is no “one size fits all” method to a successful relationship with your dogs.”

    I have had just one dog as an adult, so I can’t compare, but I know that some things others do doesn’t work with Dakota.

    I have had more than one cat and the big mistake I made when I got Cody was like you, doing everything the same way I did with my first cat (who had passed two weeks before I adopted Cody, and whom I had had for all of his 18 years). Cody is more like Penny, fearless, determined…my first cat was afraid of everything. Where the word “No” INSTANTLY worked with my first cat, Cody just looks at me and pretty much feels he can do as he pleases. BTW Cody is an Aries like I believe that Penny is!

  3. Our first dog was a pound puppy. Poco was smart, quick learning and insanely wonderful. We too, thought we knew all about training dogs. After we lost her, and the tears started to dry out, we fell in love with ridgebacks and found Neeka three months later. How much different could training her be? We’re experts! Wrong. It took my husband awhile to realize you have to take a totally different approach to this breed. Patience, consistency, and patience. Oh, and treats. By the time Khoi came around, so did he, and training was a little less stressful. Even though recall can still be an issue, Khoi knows what’s expected of him. Don’t get me wrong; he is still my fiend and his prey instinct is a huge issue, but boy is he a love.

  4. Connie Taylor says:

    I’ve been around and have had dogs my whole life, and it’s so true what you said about same rules, etc for each dog just does not work. It would make life to boring that way. Our Bentley is the craziest, most “hell-bent-for-leather” dog I’ve ever had. Too smart for her own good at times, and life wouldn’t be the same without her harassing her brother on a daily basis. (he’s learned to ignore her 75% of the time).

  5. htgerman says:

    Definitely agree! My second and third dog came “by accident” .. I found them abandoned in the street and after a couple of weeks for the second and a couple of minutes for the third nobody else was ever going to be good enough to take care of them ..
    All three came as puppies and all three are entirely different characters., and yes, each came with a lesson I apparently needed to learn.
    Thanks for your blog! Love it and always look forward to those amazing pics!

  6. Caroline says:

    I swear, we have the same dogs! Chase is now 12.5. Maggie is 6 months. Chase has always been a once in a lifetime dog. My absolute soul dog. We explored the world, learning to camp, learning to hike, sitting on beaches, side by side. Maggie is a force of nature………like a category 5 hurricane. The path of destruction is wide. She is not mean or ill mannered. Just SO MUCH KINETIC ENERGY. I actually had to consider whether she was my dog. She is. And she is teaching me what a pompous know it all I was. All my friends and family came to me for advice, and I could not understand why their dogs were not house trained to ring a bell when they needed to go out in 3 days. Easy. Chase did it. Sigh. Maggie requires the rug cleaner to be left out. At. All. Times. Turns out dogs are different. But she is also super affectionate, funny, and a huge talker, which makes us giggle. And most of all, Chase loves her.

  7. Kismet says:

    Penny and Kali are birds of a feather. Wait, hold that, I don’t want to be part of that group.

  8. Penny is quite the teacher…. That’s for sure! When Mom got me, she had to learn to go from the smartest dog in the world to the du……. to a slightly less smart dog…… Slower learning = more treats.

    Love and licks,

  9. Elyse says:

    I think it’s easy to forget what puppyhood is like. And convenient. I am on the tail end of puppyhood with Duncan who will turn 2 in late April. By the time he is a dignified old dog, I will forget the craziness, the destruction, the times I wanted to throttle him but managed not to. And then it will be time to do it again!

  10. meANXIETYme says:

    We learned that no pup is the same and they all require us to treat them as individuals. Both in the love AND learn department. Our first dog was a shadow and only wanted to be where we were. Our second dog (Le Moo) is way more independent and was happier to be where we WEREN’T (she’s a little less independent these days). Our third dog (Butthead) is a bit of a combination of the two when it comes to independence, but she’s more dependent on Le Moo than we ever expected.
    We also learned patience from all three dogs, just in different categories of their “love and learn” world. 🙂

  11. Jesse says:

    Way too cute as a tiny little puppy. How old is he in that photo. Can’t be more than 10 weeks!

  12. fran godwin says:

    I m not sure of mine but lityle miss penny is so cute u could not ask for more

  13. Emmadog says:

    Mom is on her fourth dog, third that she got as a puppy, and every one of us is very different. Even Bailie and I, being the same breed are so very different. Our core is the same, but behavior, total opposites. Katie is nothing like Bailie and me, and her first dog Trine was way different from the three of us. Just like mini human siblings are all different, so it is with canines. It keeps humans on their toes.

  14. harrispen says:

    Millie & Walter are dogs #6 & 7 for my husband and I. Each one brought new lessons. I have to say that it does seem to be a bit easier with these two so maybe we have learned a lot or maybe we chose these two with some knowledge of what would work best for us. That is one of the advantages of adopting a slightly older than an 8 week old puppy. Our current two were adopted at about 5 – 6 months of age.

  15. dogdaz says:

    Great post. As Sofie is dog #6, I can tell you that she is my hardest lesson yet. Sofie has taught me patience. She is so strong-willed and has so much anxiety, that life is a constant learning with her. Louise (#5), teaches me how to be calm in the face of fear, as she is my dog in need of space out in the world. Squash (#4), my twice a day insulin diabetic, taught me pure love and commitment. Nikki (#3), was so easy that she spoiled me. Easy to train and perfect with the baby. She taught me about old age in dogs, with all its good and bad. Each one teaches me something new.

  16. My third pet taught me he will never get to be out of his crate when I am gone. Gambler is going on 5 and still wrecks everything in site!

  17. Dogs are like kids-they are as different as night and day which is our good fortune as readers. While Eko is sweet and well-behaved, it’s always good to read posts that show Ms. Penny girl is…ahem…’entertaining.’ 😉

  18. Taught me that two was better than one 🙂

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