You may wonder what a day in the life of living with Rugby looks like. My schedule is always in flux, so we never really have two days that are the same at my house. However, because Rugby doesn’t cope well with much change, I have worked to get a pretty solid routine that works for us.
Rugby’s not an early riser. He’s pretty content to sleep as late as I do, and it’s only rarely that he ever grouses to get me up to go outside or have an early breakfast. It’s wonderful, I won’t lie! However, a few times each week, he hears a neighbor dog barking at the crack of dawn, and feels obligated to join in! Ugh. Once he’s up, he goes out and then enjoys his breakfast while I’m enjoying my coffee.
Michael usually leaves for work first, and oh boy. *sigh*…. It’s rough. That first transition of the day is met with lots of barking and anxiety. Sometimes Rugby is barking like crazy from the moment Michael gets up–just anticipating that he will be leaving soon. He follows Michael around the house, barking like crazy until Michael is out the door. It’s a rough start to the day, and unfortunately, very few things will really stop the behavior. I’ve got the standard things that work, and we absolutely use those, but there’s never a way to get around this transition without my focus on Rugby 100% of the time.
Typically, after that, he starts watching for a pattern that he can see from me. If I don’t get work clothes on, he knows I’m staying home, and he tends to just relax. If he sees me getting dressed for work, he’s watching me to see when he’s going to have to go into his crate, so he’s a bit on edge, but not obnoxiously so. When he knows it’s time to “Crate up,” he runs to his crate and is happy and excited to get in it. Because I come and go throughout the day, Rugby is less stressed when I leave, because he knows I’ll likely be back in just a few hours, whereas Michael is gone all day long.
When I’m home, throughout the day, Rugby naps, and every hour or two, he asks me to take a break from whatever I’m doing. He especially does this when I’m at my desk working. He’s very good about reminding me that I need to take a break and play or snuggle for a bit. And he’s very good about knowing if he wants to go outside, play puzzles, snuggle with me, or work on tricks. I love it that my little speckled dog asks me to engage in something with him when he feels bored. I also love it that he’s smart enough to know when I need to take a break for some fun!!
Michael usually gets home before I do in the evening, and that’s generally when Rugby gets his exercise and play. His Daddy is his “Pig Toss” buddy, and that’s one of Rugby’s favorite games. After supper and play, they generally settle in to watch whatever game Michael chooses, and they wait for me to come home from training dogs.
When I get home at night, Rugby is happiest, because his pack is together. He always brings me a piggie, and herds me to my office, grunting his piggie against my calves and the back of my knees. Then, he’s ready for a little game we made up. He pokes his piggie at my ankles, grunting and grunting it, behind me. I turn around quickly and roar and he runs away and hides. I move to a new place and wait. He comes looking for me….sneaking quietly…..and then I spring the trap! I jump out and roar at him, and he gleefully runs away again. And this little game goes on for a few times and he’s ready to settle down and snuggle while I catch up with business email and blogging.
Bedtime snuggles are always sweet, and Rugby loves belly rubs and having the side of his face stroked. Once we’ve snuggled for a bit and I’m ready for lights out, he hops off of the big bed, and snuggles into his own little bed for the night. He really loves to prop his head on a toy or two, so his bed has piggies and his very favorite stuffed toys for comfort overnight.