Tag Archives: boxers

Wag More, Bark Less Project

Wag More, Bark Less

I love this bumper sticker. Maybe it is simply that I love dogs. Or it might be that my own dogs are notorious for living by the wag more, bark less motto. Only recently have I committed to fully living this motto myself.

I would not really call myself a barker. However, I do have a reputation of being intense and have been fondly referred to as a pitbull that licks. So even if I am not a regular barker, I don’t believe I wag nearly enough. Sure, I have moments of joy. But to meet and greet by wagging my tail is not my usual. I tend to skip the “Hi, how are you” part of interactions. Also, when upset or deeply concerned about something tend to dive in and cut to the chase. These aren’t always bad qualities. But after spending the past six or seven months helping my boxer puppy, Bailey, learn how to play with all breeds not just boxers, I know I could use some tips.

Boxers playing with other boxers are very physical. They go right at each other and there is no need to keep four paws on the ground. I am sure this style of boxing must have something to do with the name. This rough and tough style of play at the dog park and with other breeds sometimes doesn’t make for the best first impressions (or second or third).  Bailey had to learn to keep his paws on the ground and make sure other dogs were up for the contact before going all out. He has done well. I love to see him with his boxer buddies playing rough but I am glad he has learned to wag first and bark less with new playmates.

In my effort to adapt to a more wag more, bark less lifestyle, I have committed to a few new projects. I have taken on yoga, working to gradually open my shoulders and heart more. I have known for a long time that my body took on a protective stance that served me well early in life. But it isn’t needed anymore. The problem is that character body armor is not easy to take off. Yoga seems to be one path. I like that I am working with someone who knows my bigger picture and story and is tailoring the yoga to fit what I need. I am also committed to more regularly getting feedback from folks that work with me regarding my style. I am committed to finding ways to wag more without withdrawing my passion or watering down my message. Finally, I am working more with my hands, meaning simply making more physical contact. I have always found this easy and rewarding with small children and pets. I am not a touchy type of person with friends and family. I am working on that.

I’ve put the bumper sticker on my car. I smile whenever I see it. I doubt I will ever be known as a softy, probably more like my boxer, Bailey, though I think I can learn to play better with all types. In human terms, I think wag more, bark less translates to be more open-hearted and less paranoid. I am willing to work on that!

Boxer Bailey with four paws on the ground!

Bailey’s Back

Bailey is back in our lives and this time for good.  Life with a puppy is exciting.  I find I have very little time to write unless I get up at 5AM when he is still sleeping.  Once Bailey is awake it is constant supervision!

I have read all the training manuals and checked out various websites to try and figure out what is the best way to ensure a positive adjustment for Bailey, for Sooke and for us.  Of course the data is endless and quite honestly not all that consistent.  Then add to the mix the number of people who once they meet Bailey provide tips or insights they have learned about boxers, or about helping older dogs get use to a puppy or about diet.

Let’s take diet.  There’s all protein, all whole grains, all raw – not to mention countless varieties and prices for something Bailey basically wolf’s down in seconds without any real interest in whether it is chicken, buffalo or pork.  Yes I want a healthy, gasless boxer and I have gathered from my reading that is a challenge.  But all the choices make it quite difficult to come to any clear decision.

Then there’s training.  Caesar says I need to be the top dog and that it’s exercise, discipline and then affection – that’s the right order.  The Boxer rescue folks are not too fond of Caesar and they suggest only positive reinforcement and never say Bailey’s name when angry.  That sounds great until I see him chewing on my leather boots and can not help but yell, “Bailey, No!!”.  So much for never yelling his name.

Then there’s is the little issue of Sooke.  The top dog in the house.  She’s nine an not so fond of the idea of sharing her world with the likes of Bailey.  She is trying.  She snaps at him and makes it clear she will decide when and if she is going to play.  They are best when outside with extra room.  However, temperatures in the single digits are making the time outside short.

So life with Bailey is exciting, exhausting and wonderful.  I have to believe that if we do a ‘good enough’ job of picking the right food, training and allowing the dogs to become pack – all will be okay. In the mean time the blogs will be shorter and likely focused on my canine world.  I hope the adjustment won’t take too long.