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Your Dog Mirrors Your Habits

Updated on March 28, 2013

Casey Learns From Observation

It has been two years since we adopted Casey. She has adapted quite well to our family habits. Initially I did not know for sure how things would work out, even after dog training. I wondered who Casey would nominate as her Alpha leader. Casey chose me as her Alpha leader.

It probably made sense to her dog instincts. After all, I am the person who wakes up early to feed and walk her, rain or shine. To me it is fascinating that animals just know through observation and by the routine we set-up. She is on my morning schedule and gets up at 5:30am. I no longer need an alarm clock because she is right at my bedside to moan, :Hey time to get up". I have no idea if she does that to help me or if it is because she knows it is time for her to eat. On Sunday mornings, I will give her the command to, "Go Spot". The command tells her to go back to her bed.

I think it took her a full 8 months before she started listening to my husband. He is the 2nd in command when I am not around. Casey always defers to me even when we go on a stroll. She does that by looking at me even though he is walking her. I know it sounds silly, but I guess in the dog kingdom, they always have to know what the leader is doing first.

My husband likes to run in the morning. Casey learned that a run a can be fun. Remember she was adopted and never got any exercise from the previous owner. In the beginning when he would leash her to run, she would turn her head and look at me as if to say,"Can i go; where am I going?' Now she just wags her tail when he grabs the leash and says, "Casey run."

Dogs are better observers than people. They read every gesture and nuance. They also hear in your tone whether you are happy, sad or angry. They can smell danger. Humans are not that smart.

Casey's Grub

We feed her Eukanuba. In fact, it is the only food we give her. When it comes to treats, I stick to dog treats. We do not give her any table scraps. I do not want to encourage her to beg. I buy her only dog treats. My feeling is these companies have done all the research and know what dogs can eat. I strayed once from her dog diet by giving her a real beef bone. In return she had liquid poop for 3 straight days. That experience alone, stopped me from ever giving her anything but dog treats.

Casey chews on a dog hide bone
Casey chews on a dog hide bone | Source

Crating and Her Nose-Nudge Moan

Casey is a great dog. She only gets crated when service repair men are in the home, when guests are not fond of dogs or when we are gone for about 5 hours. It is the only way to ensure, I don't want to come home to any possible poop accidents.

Casey taught me her nose-nudge moan. She will sit next to me, nudge me and if I ignored her, she will walk and sit in front of me, then stare at me until I look at her. Then Casey will moan to draw my attention. I had to learn her dog gestures. I had to learn by observing her and listening to her. Casey figured out on her own that this was the best way to tell me," Hey, I need to go potty." Occasionally, she will use the nose-nudge moan to ask me take her outside to play ball.As soon as she hits the grass and sniffs around, I say,"Go Potty." Casey will go on command.

Casey loves fetch
Casey loves fetch

Casey's Favorite Game of Fetch

Casey never saw a tennis ball until we adopted her. It took her a month to get the hang of it. But once she realized how much fun she was having, she now will ask for it. She knows after our morning walk includes a ball toss. She barks with excitement if you say the word,"ball."

I have taught her to fetch and drop the ball at my feet. I will ask her to lay down and guess where i might toss the ball. I will wave the ball and run in a circle and she will bark. She loves frisbee. What i don't like is she chews the plastic up.

Casey Loves Snow

She runs around like crazy in circles, just romps and races. Depending on how cold it is and how much snow is on the ground, we will still play a game of fetch. It turns into a game of hide and go seek when the tennis ball lands in the snow. She is really good at finding it.

Casey loves snow!
Casey loves snow! | Source

Casey Falls Asleep by 9:30 PM

Casey never needed training for bedtime. We were lucky that her body clock would require her to lay down by 9pm. Just observing her habits. Her habits made it easy for me to see that her last outside pee duty would be 8pm, that would mean no more water after 7pm. I crated her each night for 2 months until she got use to the idea of our bedtime schedule. later she would just walk into her crate to sleep. We have two beds for her. She has one bed in the family room and the second bed in our bedroom and we have her crate with a pillow in it.

Casey takes a cat-nap
Casey takes a cat-nap

Casey and Espresso Can Co-Exist

Espresso, my cat was living in our home before the dog. She will sleep in the dog bed, when Casey is not looking. Espresso wants nothing to do with Casey. She tolerates Casey. They can co-exist in the same space, but are not cuddly like I was hoping for. You can't force a friendship.

They are about 3 feet apart. When Casey first came, Espresso would only lay about 8 feet apart in the same room.
They are about 3 feet apart. When Casey first came, Espresso would only lay about 8 feet apart in the same room. | Source

Casey Teaches Espresso

Animals can' t tell us what they want, but they sure know how to display sounds and use body language when they want something. My cat and dog will sit by their bowl until you look for them. That is a hint they want food. Espresso gets thirsty and will jump up to my bathroom counter and wait for me to turn the faucet on. When a stranger comes to our door, Casey barks like crazy to alert us. As soon as I leash the dog to go out, the cat knows maybe she can go out and hang on the lawn. My cat never cared about going out until we got a dog. Espresso saw Casey go out learned it is more exciting outside. Espresso learned that if Casey got a treat, she would get a treat too!

Crating as Needed

The crate is her space. I always used it as positive reinforcement. I read that crate's are their safe haven and that if anything negative is associated to the crate, the dog will not go in. I use the crate when i have guests over and when service-repair men come. Casey always walks right in. I then follow-up with a treat as positive reinforcement.

Espresso Swats and Teases Casey

Espresso is pretty laid back for a female cat. As a kitten, nothing would scare her. I can vacuum my carpet and even take a hose to vacuum her fur and she just lays there. I have never had high strung cats. All the cats I have ever had, acted more like dogs. They were friendly, people oriented, and more like lap cats.She is now 4 years old and ia peoples person. She loves to see and meet anyone that comes to our home.

I am sure most do not talk to their pets. But i felt the need to warn my cat we were getting a dog. Now I do not sit and talk to my pets on a regular basis, but i do think pets understand. I can't prove it. I can only tell you from past experience when we had a hamster. I told Candy that the hamster was a part of the family and that she was not to kill or scare it. One morning the hamster was out of its cage and sitting next to her was some dry cat food Candy brought to hamster. It was an amazing thing!

It took Espresso about 6 months to get use to the dog. She now teases the dog by tricking Casey into coming close to her, then she swats Casey on the nose. Espresso is declawed. It is funny to watch because after Casey gets bopped on the nose, she runs in circles and thinks the cat wants to play. Espresso then runs off with a smirk. It is all good. It is an interesting relationship because the cat will sleep in the dog bed on occasion when Casey is not looking.

Espresso smirks
Espresso smirks

Casey Knows Family the Hierarchy

When my kids fight or talk back to us, Casey will bark at my kids. I know that sounds crazy.But, she instinctually knows that the the kids are not behaving and barks at them. If my husband teases me, Casey is right there to bark at him to protect me or she will sit right next to me.


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    • alphagirl profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      Narrow feet, my suggestion would be to go to a specialty shoe store in your area. You should be able to find something made in high quality leather and fit. They will be able to size and fit your foot and will know of specific manufacturers that can help you.

      My girls had narrow feet growing up. All their shoes had to be tied. They could never wear slip on types of clogs. They are teenagers now and they still can't wear clog type shoes. Their feet are slightly narrow so shoes fall off.

      Most not all shoes that will cost $150.00 to start will have a

      better fit. It is the pattern of the shoe and the the qaulity of manufacturing. There is more care an concern for fit.

      High end designers with those super high heels are an exception. Movie stars and rockstars need the glam shoe to go with their outfits.

      I would try a Nordstroms to see if they have a shoe to fit for style. You could shop at They have a great return policy.

      Good luck.... and thanks for stopping by.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      What an adorable read and couple of pets. It is true, our cat and dog learned much by watching us. Not always a good thing, as you mentioned here. I love your cat -- looks like she looks like she means business in the last photo!

    • invitationinuk profile image


      5 years ago from newyork

      Your life is not only the dog, but the dog's life only you.

      Loved your story.

    • austinhealy profile image

      Bernard J. Toulgoat 

      5 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

      I totally agree with you : dogs, not unlike children in a way, become the way we train them. They are very playful and will pick up on little things. If my dog fears that I might go somewhere without her, she will lay down on or nearby my shoes, sometimes for hours because she has observed that I never go out without shoes. If we go somewhere, she knowa without me telling her and will stand by the door in order to be the first one out. Dogs also have a great sense of humor. Mine makes me laugh so hard sometimes. In any case they are wonderful companions and I couldn't conceive living without a dog. Thanks for a good, interesting hub.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      5 years ago from USA

      This is a lovely story. I don't have a cat, but my dog does the same things as well to get my attention.

    • alphagirl profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Nell, I read a book on psychic animals. I think they pick us. I had every intent of adopting a totally different dog when i went to adopt. A shed free, snoodle mutt. That mutt did not come to be adopted. Casey showed up in the crate instead. I vacuum 3x a week now.

    • alphagirl profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks....I had a cat that lived to 24. Your current cat might get annoyed. Not to mention, cats will pee outside of a box if another uses it. Perhaps you can consider another type of pet. Cats are passive aggressive. She won't tell you to your face, I don't like the new cat. She will show you.

    • alphagirl profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks for voting up. They do become a part of family. I worry about my dog as much as my kids.

    • alphagirl profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      Car R, Thanks for stopping by, Much depends on their personalities. They can be like people. ou can't force friendship.

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 

      5 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      I have a Schnauzer that until recently had co-existed with my cats to please me. But sadly he fell back into bad habits and went after one of my cats. As smart as he is and knowing that my cats were a HUGE NO NO for him, it came as a surprise. And I had thought that my larger cats had taught him better by now!

    • Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

      Abhimanyu Singh Baghel 

      5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India)

      Hello alphagirl. I completely agree with madam Nell Rose. I too have a dog and it's wonderful to see him shake hands with us and when I go out to lock the main door at night, he accompanies me along the way everytime. Pets are so loving and charming, they always become a part of our family. Voted up. :)

    • nanderson500 profile image


      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Very entertaining! I have a dog but not a cat. He growls at cats when he sees them on walks, but maybe if one was living with us he would like it more. Voted up and interesting.

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      5 years ago from US

      Loved your story. It has been my plan for a long time to next bring up a kitten and puppy together but my house cat is almost 18 and is still ruling the roost.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi alpha, what a lovely story about your pets. And you are so right, they do learn from us. I always find it so amazing as you mentioned when they know another animal is to become part of the family. We always had cats and dogs and they always got on, and in fact played a lot too, wonderful, and your photos are gorgeous! lol! voted up and hub shared, nell


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