The Story of Effie: Scheduling for Continued Progress

October 30, 2013 | By Mellie Test

With three dogs and a toddler in the household, my mind is frequently attending to schedules. Multiple mental processes were usually engaged even before we added Effie (three dogs isn't much more work than two, excepting the shelter stress recovery situation), and with the present importance of dog separation and rotation, my brain is on overdrive.

[caption id="attachment_725" align="alignright" width="150"] Midday walk sans Effie[/caption]

I'm concluding the phenomenon is most likely fueled by adrenaline, as I'm actually waking up ready to walk the dogs at 5:30am, whereas I'd normally be groaning myself into a shuffling morning stupor.

Here's our current schedule (which seems to be working):

  • "Wake" up.
  • Walk the dogs downstairs and into the back yard, keeping Effie on a loose leash and shooing the other two away from her.
  • After everyone's done their business, take Effie back upstairs, closing her in the main bedroom with a minimally liver-treat-ed Kong.
  • Walk Ronan and Stucky for 30-40 minutes.
  • Return, let them into the back yard, and allow Effie out to roam about the house solo (although she mostly follows me, always-present-leash dragging underfoot).
  • Prepare my son's lunch and gather his clothes for the day, while Effie continues to roam.
  • Bring the two veterans back inside while I lead Effie out, tossing the ball for her and allowing her to explore.
  • Let the vets back outside (although the last two days, I've allowed Stucky to stay inside with Effie around, keeping a close watch the entire time)
  • Dress my son for preschool, load our things in the car, let Ronan back inside and close Effie in the upstairs bedroom with a more substantial liver-treat-ed Kong.
  • Drop my son off at preschool, continue to work, and play on the Internet all day. (Ha. Although my job includes a lot of research and content gathering, it's much more intense than surfing!)
  • Return home around mid-day to walk the vets.
  • Let the vets into the back yard, and bring Effie downstairs and outside to relieve herself and sniff.
  • Allow Effie back inside for a few minutes to roam, then switch who's inside/outside so that Effie and I can play.
  • [caption id="attachment_726" align="alignright" width="150"] Effie dashes after a ball[/caption]

    After a short play session with Effie, I turn on my laptop outside in a chair, working for an hour or so while Effie either sniffs, occasionally chases a ball, or simply sleeps in the sun.

  • When it's time to return to the office, I lead Effie upstairs past the vets, walk back downstairs and out the door, and drive back to Plymouth Meeting.
  • After work, the vets go out while Effie roams inside.
  • I feed the vets outside while Effie eats inside, in the kitchen, near me. For some reason, she prefers to eat when I'm standing beside her (although I don't try to touch her food at this point).
  • The dogs switch places, and Effie gets to play.
  • Throughout the evening I rotate whom I'm spending time with and which dogs are on their own. The only time Effie is on her own is when she's in the bedroom upstairs. She really seems to enjoy the company of myself and my son, and isn't really interested in spending time roaming alone.
  • When it's time for bed, my son and I spread the blankets and pillows on the floor of his room (his latest "camping" preference) and we sleep with Effie while the vets get to roam the house.

    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="150"] Kisses from Effie[/caption]

This is how we've currently adapted. It's most likely going to evolve as the dogs and their behavior do. It's not as difficult as it may sound; our new daily routine suits us and finally seems to flow!



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