Let sleeping dogs lie

Good morning and I mean that, the heat has broken and it is a beautiful cool morning. As I sit at my patio door with the breeze coming in I am once again surrounded by sleeping dogs. My two poodles are in their typical book end position and my little Jessie is below me on one of the many dog beds that are scattered around my bedroom. She is laying beside the treat container anxiously awaiting her morning treat. Tilley is snoring and Luke will be dreaming any moment, he is a big dreamer and is always after something in his dreams.

It amazes me how dogs can be sound asleep and the next moment up and ready to go, they don't seem to need the wake up time that we need to start their day. Luke is our biggest sleepy head, it is quite normal to see him stretch down the stairs and into the kitchen hours after the girls have been up and started their day. He loves his sleep in the morning, all snuggled up on our bed unwilling to start his day until he is good and ready. But should there be mention of something good going on, he is up in a flash and ready instantly.

Waking up your canine should always be done verbally, never physically. When dogs are sleeping there is no telling what is going on in that brain of theirs. Our dogs often look like they are not asleep even when they are. They have a third eyelid which we do not have, it slides over the eye but under the normal eyelid when they are sleeping. The third eyelid can usually only be seen as a dog starts to drift off to neverland; even before they close their eyes. It is important to know when your dog or any dog are sleeping; that they are not safe to approach. I often tell clients with children that approaching a sleeping dog is a no no.

Your dog can be the best, safest, friendliest dog in the world but if you interupt an action filled dream it may be a whole different story. You may be reaching down to pet your dog just as they are opening wide to grab a squirrel in their dream and chomp. Chances are if this happened you'd be stunned by your dogs sudden change of behavior when in actuality they are still the same great dog they always were. It is extremely important to always give your dog a heads up, especially where children are concerned. A quick "hey Fido, you up? to give them a chance to put on their brakes, stop chasing the monster cat that they are in full pursuit of and come back into our world.

I have been called out on several occasions when a dog has bitten either a child or adult guardian to fix the aggression problem. Once I am filled in on all the details it is quite clear that the problem lies fully on the guardian who reached down to pet their dog while their dog was in full dream mode. It happens, and it means nothing except that you need to wake your dog before touching them. I know that I risk an impact if I shake my son awake instead of calling to him first, it takes him several minutes to become awake and coherent after he has been sleeping.

So the saying "let sleeping dogs lie" is a good one.

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