Get on with it

There’s a certain amount of song and dance involved before announcing an interesting thing and the interesting thing happening. It drives Cooper just bonkers. This is how it typically goes:

1. Owner says the “walk” word – woohoo!
2. Owner then thinks he will go to the toilet for simply ages
3. Owner looks for a hat
4. Owner looks out the window to see what the weather is like and then selects an appropriate coat
5. Owner ponders which shoes to wear
6. Owner finally puts the shoes on
7. They have laces, whatever the point in those are, so this takes an excruciatingly long amount of time
8. Owner changes the hat for another one
Get on with it9. Owner rummages through pockets to check for poo bags and dog treats (this latter part is an acceptable delay, but only just)
10. Owner takes keys from the hook, puts them in one pocket, then puts them into the other while muttering to himself
11. Owner decides that maybe he will just have a quick glass of water. This is out of an extremely inefficient glass rather than a bowl so takes a ridiculously unnecessary amount of time
12. Next is the lead, which is clipped onto his collar. This always takes a few goes and is nothing to do with the fact that he won’t sit still
13. Owner calls up the stairs a string of boring walk-less words to the other owner
14. They go out for a walk

This is how it should go:

1. Owner says the “walk” word
2. They go out for a walk

When Cooper wants to do something, he just gets on and does it. He doesn’t understand what all this procrastination is at all. Decide and do. No wonder humans need to live 90 years, they take nine times as long to do anything.

What can you learn from your dog?

Whether it’s preparing to go out, or sitting at a desk spinning a pen around in your fingers as you ponder beginning that big report, there is an argument to be made for just getting on with it. Procrastination and wasting time before you do the thing you need to do is just pointless filler time. Take a leaf out of your dog’s book: decide and then immediately do. Get on with it.

Own your mistakes and apologise

Every dog owner, I’m sure, has come home to a scene out of a disaster movie. That is if the disaster movie was about destroyed couch cushions, up-ended bins, ransacked cupboards and broken shards of vases.You open the front door. Dog is suspiciously absent. You walk into the front room to find yourself rooted to the spot in slack jawed amazement, transfixed at what’s been done to your property. You look around at the destruction and notice more and more things that your dog has decided are his to play with.Oh, and here he comes.

Cooper walks quietly down the stairs. He stays out of reach in case this turns ugly and he needs to run away to hide under a bed. There’s words… lots of words thrown in his direction. Wild gesticulation too (this is never good) and the words are getting louder and more annoyed. What can one do? He was left alone for a hundred years. Is he supposed to just go into standby mode until someone returns to keep him company? He had decided to express his distaste to the management of his home. Of course, what seemed like a good idea then, suddenly doesn’t seem the best right now. But what’s done is done.

Own your mistakes and apologiseHe slowly moves closer to the hallway, just beyond reach. He knows she likes it when he sits (she’s always banging on about how he should) and he wants to make her happy again, so he gently sits. He waves his tail sadly. This is his sorry tail wag. The words hurled in his direction become a little less loud and the hand waving eases off. She begins to move some of his creative destruction around. Time for the final part of his apology which takes the form of a pleading and intense stare. He channels all of his charisma into looking as pitiful and – honestly – as pretty darn cute as he can. Can she resist this combo? He turns up the tempo of his tail wagging, just a little. The words have stopped and she stares at him. She sighs. Oh, this is a good sign, he knows it’s okay now, and he approaches her to apologise properly. She strokes his head and whispers words and he knows he is forgiven. Phew.

He has learnt his lesson and will definitely never do this again.


What can you learn from your dog?

Dogs have apologies down to an art form and are happy enough to own up to a mistake and take what’s coming if it will make us happy again. It can be hard for us humans to own up to messing something up and apologising. Yes, we did leave the kitchen in an absolute tip. No, we didn’t get that essay in on time. Your dog would own his mistake. Apologise. Don’t make excuses: this was on you. Do you know, you might just get a bunch of respect for it, and if you’re lucky have your hair ruffled in forgiveness.

Learn from your nemesis

As well as having a best friend, Cooper has a nemesis. Here’s how it went down.

There he was, minding his own business on his usual walk, rounding the corner to the front of the local shop. That’s when Cooper saw a dog tied to the railings outside, waiting for his owner. Obviously, being the friendly fella that he is, Cooper bounded over to say hello and sniff some butt. This dog, though, was a big dog. Maybe Cooper didn’t twig because this dog was sitting down hiding his true height, or maybe he just wanted to say hello so badly and share butt sniffing he forgot his own cautious approach rules. The other dog didn’t like being approached by an over-exuberant dog and took it pretty badly having his personal space infringed. He nipped our hero on his side. A surprised shriek and Cooper was running back to hide behind his owner’s (metaphorical) skirts.

Cooper had meant so well. He was being friendly and was properly wagging away to show his good nature. This was a completely unfair and unprovoked assault! Cooper had found his nemesis.

Learn from your nemesisHaving a best friend means finding someone who builds you up, has the same sense of fun and makes you happy in yourself.. Finding your nemesis reminds you that not everyone is worthy of your time: they hurt you, don’t have the same values and are unpleasant to be around. It’s a lesson to be learnt, for sure, and Cooper has sworn to follow the official cautious approaching-a-strange-dog process to the letter from now on.

Now, each time Cooper turns that corner round by the shop, he rushes to the spot where he was outrageously attacked and where a little piece of his innocence was taken. He wants to meet that dog again. Very badly. He has a lot to say.

What can you learn from your dog?

Sherlock Holmes had Moriarty, Harry Potter had Voldemort and like it or not, these relationship shaped them. It would be pretty hard to get through life getting on with absolutely everyone and there will always be those who take issue with our fundamental selves. What can you do about that? Sometimes it’s someone we are related to who seems to always rain on our parade, or maybe it’s a colleague who continually undermines our efforts.

Whoever it is, rise to the challenge. Don’t change yourself: become an even better version of yourself.

Love your best friend

Man is a dog’s best friend. Now, who came up with that? Cooper thinks that his owners no doubt want him as their best friend – he’s pretty awesome – but they don’t always totally get him.

Cooper thinks that his best friend is Joey. Joey is a local cockerpoo who every now and again ends up on the same schedule as him with the dog walker.

Joey is amazing.

Joey is insane.

Love your best friendFrom the split second they first met they knew this was something different. Joey gets him. Running around and chasing is so important and it’s non stop with Joey. Oh and wrestling, wow. They tumble over and over through the freshly mown grass. Joey’s cream curly coat getting stained with spring green. Cooper doesn’t mind a play of course, but he is a hound and his sniffing is an important part of the walk. But with Joey around there’s no opportunity to investigate bushes. The energy of this crazy dog is contagious and Cooper is energised into a long barking tirade as he merrily sprints the length of the field to attempt to catch up.

After a walk where Cooper has seen Joey he is more tired than usual. It was nice to put his usual sniffing business on hold and just roll around having fun instead. Falling into a happy slumber, he dreams about the bouncy adventures they have together.

There is nothing more satisfying and perfect than having a catch up with a best friend. It can be days, weeks or months, but when they’re united again it feels like it’s been no time at all.

He hopes he will see him again soon.

What can you learn from your dog?

Do you have someone who you can hang out with and it’s just easy to be with them? You know when you’ve found them because being with them is effortless. You don’t have to be something you’re not or to have hoovered the lounge, be looking your best or pretend to be on top of life. They become a part of you and mustn’t be taken for granted. They like you for you. And you know what, you like them for them too.

Lick the bowl clean

For Cooper, there are so many best parts of the day but surely the best, BEST part of the day is food time. For some reason though this happens a staggeringly seldom amount of times throughout his waking hours. It feels like millennia between each time Cooper’s bowl is set on the ground full of brown mush. Oh, but what brown mush! And it’s all his. Maybe his owners lick the spoon when they’re serving the mush from can to dish, but he’s never spotted them doing this and he would bark in outrage if ever he did. The special Cooper food is stored in a small mystery room at the back of the house with the ever-closed door. He suspects that it is full of food, floor to ceiling. Now, if he could just work out door handles…

Lick the bowl cleanDinnertime is probably the best food time as there’s been a whole day of anticipation and hours of calories burning to replenish – finally. “What’s for dinner tonight”, he wonders sarcastically, as he is greeted with a bowl full of, oh, brown mush. Again. Now even though it’s brown mush (again) he is pretty happy. As brown mush goes, it’s not shabby. There’s definitely some meat in there somewhere. Probably. He scoffs it all down in seconds as if there were a lion approaching to steal it from him.

Cooper will never understand why he’s given such an extremely small portion of food. He could absolutely eat ten times the quantity and, frankly, this sort of treatment is tantamount to dog abuse. But his indignation aside, he takes good care to lick the bowl clean. Partly as a very pointed message to his owners that there simply wasn’t enough and that he must resort to getting every last scrap, but also because he sees no sense in wasting anything.

What can you learn from your dog?

Take a moment to value your food. I am sure we have all been guilty of buying lovely fresh things and then forgetting them in the fridge to spoil. Your dog would be appalled. We can learn that there is value in respecting our food and appreciating what we have and not wasting it.

But let’s not take a life lesson from dogs on how they eat. We will all end up being round balls, unable to move.