Archives for posts with tag: multi tasking


Of course you pay attention to your dog.  You give her the best food you can afford.  You take her for walks.  You teach her the basic commands and you play games with her, sometimes games that she initiates, sometimes games that you begin.  You may even share your bed with her.

But what might you learn if you pay attention not only to your dog but like your dog?

Dogs know they can learn from observing others, particularly their elders.  They know that experience counts.

Dogs don’t multi-task.  They give their full attention to whatever they are doing.

Dogs live in the moment.  You will never find a dog worrying about what he forgot to do last week or fretting over what might happen the day after tomorrow.

Dogs take advantage of every opportunity.  When there’s a chance to play, take a long walk, be with like-minded creatures, have a nice meal, they do so with great enthusiasm.  When opportunity knocks, the dog never says, Wait a sec.  I’m texting.

Dogs are life-long learners.  By observing their world and the creatures in it, by listening carefully, by quietly paying attention with great intensity, by creative experimentation, they keep learning things that will make their lives richer, safer, more enjoyable.

And when there’s nothing to do and not much to see, while they are waiting for things to improve or for the game to be afoot, they know that a little nap can a wonderful way to pass the time, leaving them refreshed and ready for the adventures to come.




It’s quite interesting that in this picture of me, taken the day our family moved from an apartment to the house I grew up in, I am carrying a toilet seat.  On days when you are married to your toilet seat because you are prepping for a colonoscopy or feeling ill, or on days when you are too tired or sick to get out of bad, you can still engage with your dog, challenging her mind and body while yours gets challenged for other reasons.

Being a big believer in not wasting good opportunities, my dog, Sky, already knows the bathroom is a place to play.  Sometimes, after she brings me an appropriate toy, I close the door with her on the outside, hide the toy and then invite her in to “Find it!”  You will be surprised to know how many places there are to hide a toy while you are actually sitting on the aforementioned toilet seat – at the far side of the toilet, perched on the toilet paper holder, at the edge of the sink, or, in my bathroom, on the ledge to the stall shower which means it will be behind the open door.  Sometimes I hide the toy on my lap or under the end of the bath mat.  Figuring out where to hide the toy and encouraging your dog to use her nose beats not having anything to think about but, yikes, the colonoscopy.  So we are already ahead of the game.

Should you need to pass a kidney stone during prepping, as I once did, you will find yourself crying whilst sitting in a tub of hot water to ease the pain.  In that case, a game of catch the rubber ducky is called for.  Sky will also toss it back into the tub on command or find it behind the pulled shower curtain.  If she really, really wants to play (always), she will lean over and scoop the duck from the water, then toss it back when asked to.

If you take to your bed, weeping and feeling like the unluckiest person on earth, your dog will happily pull you at least part way out of the dumps by engaging you in play.  In this case, you can roll a ball under the bed on one side so that it comes out on the other and see how long it takes your dog to go to where the ball will emerge as soon as you lean toward the opposite side.  You can hide a toy under the edge of the blanket and have your dog search for it.  If you’ve never done this, it will have to be done in stages.  Dogs, like babies, tend to think something is gone if it disappears from sight, so you will need to give your dog a few peeks at the hidden item for her to “get it.”

Playing games with your dog while you prep for a colonoscopy may be the epitome of multi-tasking.  Using your imagination plus your understanding of your dog’s skill, likes and dislikes, you can pass the time when things are hideous.  After a brain-challenging game or two or three, your dog will be happy to lie down in bed with you, pressing against you to help you release endorphins and oxytocin.    If she could only  be with me during the procedure rather than waiting with my DH (darling hubby) in the waiting room, things would be close to perfect, but I’ll take what I can get, fully understanding that playing with my dog no matter what is as good for me as it is for her.  And amen to that.




Giving your attention to one thing usually means withdrawing it, for the moment, from other things.  You might need to stop what you are doing.  You might have to observe the thing that needs your attention.  It could even mean listening very, very carefully.  For dogs, it often means all three things at once – dogs are not very good multi-taskers – but the payoff of careful attention can be stunning.

Take this morning, for example.  I was in the tub.  Sky was waiting for me to toss her little, yellow duck so that she could catch it and toss it back into the water, a favorite game.  But there was no duck on the edge of the tub.  Still, she wanted to play and I wanted to play with her.

Sky has had mixed success leaving me to find a toy.  Sometimes she will search the house and find exactly what I ask for.  Other times, she seems confused, not understanding what I want her to do, especially when what I am asking for is not yet part of her vocabulary.  Duh.  So when I asked her to get the ball that isn’t even really a ball and told her it was on top of her crate, at first she just stared at me.  Here were the hard parts.  The ball wasn’t a ball you can bounce.  It was a braided thing that was once inside the head of a plush animal in lieu of stuffing.  Sky knows the word “crate,” but not “on top of.”  Had the ball thing been “in” the crate, this would have been a step easier.

In order to help her, or because I couldn’t think of anything else to do, I braided my fingers and told her the “ball” looked like that.  Oh, boy.  Dumb.

She stopped, looked and listened.  Then she left the bathroom and came back with the braided not ball thingee.  Paying attention, it’s a skill worth having.  So is thinking, but that’s a whole other blog.

Good girl, Sky.  Let the game begin.