Janie was a player; the first part

Posted: June 14, 2012 in Dogs, Memories
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Janie was, as a gambler in Vegas, always a player.  But in her case, there were no losers, only winners…and a great deal of  laughter.  Oh, yes…and Janie was a dog.

Janie was a pit bull seemingly specifically designed to win friends and influence people.  She was a lover, not a fighter; a dog filled with the joy and busy-ness of living every waking moment. (Thank goodness she also slept a lot or we would have all collapsed!)   Once we came to understand her quirks and either work with/on them or live with them, life was more  than good.

Janie loved to play.  She liked typical dog things, such as a stuffed animal…which unfortunately lasted about one day.  Not because she attacked it; she just masticated it to pieces. She carried it around all day and by the end, due both to chewing and saliva, that toy was toast.  (Hmmm, she would have loved toast, too.)

She loved to pull and she loved to play a human dog version of tug-of-war with this KONG tug.

Here’s how it went.  I go to the shelf where the toys are.  Janie is right there, watching intently.  “Sit.”   Get the tug.  Now it’s all (fun) business.  I put the tug where she can get it, she latches on, we start pulling.  She braces and yanks.  I yank back.  Brace and yank; yank back.  And then, she can’t help it…she starts growling.  I think there’s a growling button somewhere in her mouth that’s pushed every time she pulls on the tug.  But if I didn’t know we were playing, I’d be very wary, hearing that sound.  I pick her up, her weight hanging on the other end, off the ground and swing her around and around.  She hangs on and growls.  I know which of us is getting more exercise out of that!!  I put her back down and yank her towards me, stepping backwards.  Every time her feet touch the ground, she braces and jerks with her powerful head and mouth. (By the way, pit bulls do NOT have locking jaws as so many people think and say.  Their jaws are just dog jaws like those of  all other dogs.) Every so often, the tug comes out of her mouth and then, immediately, “Sit,” and the tug goes behind my back.  I do not want that body launching through the air at the tug with me on the other side!!  🙂  It’s also the perfect situation for working on obedience and waiting.  She sits, dark eyes focused on where the toy will emerge. I bring the tug around, say, “OK” , and  the game’s afoot.  This goes on until my arms get tired; Janie never tires and her eyes always regretfully follow the tug back to its place.  S\But she never tries to get it on her own.

KONG makes some of the best dog products out there.  They’re durable and dogs, at least our dogs, seem to love them.  The classic KONG product is the…well, yes…the KONG.

OK, the KONG is a toy, but it’s also the sanity saver of millions of dog owners.  Stuff it with something your dog loves and you can leave the dog in the crate while you’re gone or keep her occupied while you’re doing something else.  I went online to see what could be put in a KONG and found, after some trial and error, the perfect Janie combination–bread smeared with peanut butter, stuffed in as compactly as possible and then frozen.  Freezing is that little extra that makes whatever’s inside last much longer.  If she’s around when I stuff it, I have her rapt attention.  Sometimes I let her lick the peanut better off my fingers when I’m done.

When we got ready to leave, Janie would trot into her crate, get the KONG and then who cared if we were there or not??  When we got back, we’d let her out, then take the KONG and either refreeze it or refill and then freeze it.  But canny Janie soon decided she’d rather keep the KONG and get out of the crate as well.  When we’d open the door, she get up, locate the KONG and then slip past us quickly and unobtrusively, heading as far from us as possible.  It was too funny!  Half the time she would have to root around in her blankets to find it, darting glances as us periodically to see if we were closing in on it first.  But the best time was when she got her head under the (white) blanket, found the KONG and headed out, completely covered with the blanket.  We stood helpless with laughter as a little pit bull ghost wafted its way past us and headed for the far corners of the living room, unable to see, but with KONG triumphantly in mouth.

Resting ghost!

When Megan had her Japanese lesson, afterJanie’s joyous greeting of the Japanese teacher (and trust me, NOT in the proper restrained Japanese tradition), we’d give Janie the KONG and off she’d trot to a rug far away from anyone who might decide that her treat time was over.  Since the contents were frozen, even with her very determined efforts, and periodically relocating to a better or more distant spot, the distraction would last well over an hour, giving us all a bit of breathing space.  Oh, KONG, best of all toys!

  1. Thanks for introducing Janie. We have a dog who was originally fostered – Jet. he’s probably labrador/staffordshire bull terrier, he ‘masticates’ toy to destruction too. I think dog festers do a great job. Well done!

    • I bought Janie a squishy stuffed animal toy and although she loved carrying it around and didn’t rip it savagely (or otherwise) to pieces, the poor thing (toy, that is), had about had it after the first day. Just too much chewing love!! 🙂