Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Making of a Good Dog

Dogs.  It's hard to take anything too seriously when talking dogs.  This is why dog training has become one of my favorite new metaphors for life.  It is hard work, to train a dog.  There can be success, but you can seriously mess it up by becoming way too... well,  serious about it.

Life is like that.  There is a fine line between squandering it away and hyper-focusing on it to death.  I tend towards the hyper-focusing.  In fact, I think it's the more socially acceptable way to err.  I mean how many people throw tomatoes at someone for working too hard, right?  Truth is, hyper-focus is just as detrimental and destructive (and if we are talking sin, sinful) as squandering.   Public perception aside, they both lead to decay and eventual death.
OK.  Enough of the heavy.  Let's get back to dogs.  How do you get a good dog?

1.  Don't write him off as damaged goods.

2.  Give medical care when necessary.

3.  Make sure he has everything he needs for his living conditions.

4.  A warm, comfy bed is a must.

5.  Cleanliness is next to godliness.

6.  Don't be stingy with your furniture.

7.  Introduce him to friends.

8.  Avoid friends that look like dainty morsels.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

9.  Expose him to lots of good books.

10.  And don't forget good music.

10.  Exercise, exercise, exercise!

11.  Teach him hand signals.... it looks cool.

12.  PLAY is a key ingredient.

13.  Make sure he feels like part of the family.

14.  Love him.... and show it!

Eventually, if you do these things, you should end up with a good dog.  Of course there are no guarantees but, like most things, you get what you put into it.  
Oh, I forgot the most important tip:

15.  Relax, don't worry, be happy,  he's not complicated, he's a dog!


  1. I just love it, Kara! I have to add, of course, that a dog innately just wants to be loved, and he doesn't get to choose those who take him as their own. Toby-do was very blessed the day he was chosen by the Liechty family. Yes, you all seem to be loving Toby-do quite well (just look at the evidence here!), yet I cannot help but see how passionately and extravagantly he loves you back. Doesn't that make loving a dog so easy - even when they eat the pedal board of your piano (or your friend's lap dog)? ;-)

    Thanks for the smiles and laughs today!

    Lots of love, my sweet sister-in-love,


  2. P.S. I forgot to talk with you in the mountains about "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." In it, she eventually aquiesces to her daughters' requests for a puppy. Incredibly, she begins to wield her negative, heavy-handed methods of parenting on this poor dog (it's bad enough her children had to endure it!). Anyway, she eventually realizes (mostly because of her husband and children's sane and constant reminders) that he is, indeed, just a dog. Wow!

  3. And yes Kara, we are learning the making of a good dog as well. Not all dogs can be "Sadie". :) I love that no matter what they love us unconditionally, even when I only went out the door to get the mail...I love the greeting I get when I return. Toby is an amazing dog and loves you all so much! You are doing an amazing job with him...hopefully Chloe can catch up on the hand signals! :)

    Thanks for sharing him with us!
    Love, Colleen

  4. Kayla,

    Yes, loving a dog is easy. Toby-doo has certainly tested my patience numerous times like his over-exuberant attack-dog mode he goes into when someone comes to the door, or when he ate my friend's high-end, alligator skin slingback, or the day he pulled the foyer mirror off the wall. Oh, there have been many times he has tested me. :)
    How you handle a dog reveals a lot about you. I always love remembering what Ceasar Millan said about how you get the dog you need... not the dog you want. Maybe that's what happened with Tiger Mom.... I mean a dog can show you like no other, how incredibly ridiculous you are! ;>


    Well, I really believe Toby is a better dog for having Sadie in his life even in just short visits... so I think that is exponentially true for Chloe! She's a lucky dog to get to hang out with the best all day long! :)
    Poor Sadie though! Ha!
    Chloe is another great dog in the making. A good friend for Toby.... who, like Sadie, won't put up with or be intimidated by his occasional weirdness (I'm thinking about how the other night he jumped on her back because she was looking at his stick... too funny).

    Love you both!

  5. i love it, i love you and Toby-doo :) i can't stop smiling; simple truth in the 'funnest' of ways :]

    ((and may i mention - your hair is beautiful that length too. you should do shampoo commercials))

    and guess what? in just a few weeks i will get to hug you all!!

  6. Can't wait for those real life hugs.... virtual hugs are only so much fun. ;>

    It's hard to believe you will be here so soon! Yay!!!!

    As for the blog post about T-doo.... well it's fun just to be.. FUN! :)

    Love you!