Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

I'm trying to teach my dog how to tell time.

The fact that I'm getting up a little earlier every day is proof that I'm failing in that task.

We're talking about Khloe, the blonde lab mix. At just more than 2 years old, she's still a puppy. A 45-pound puppy.

I make that distinction to point out that Tiger Too learned how to tell time long ago. The 90-pound shepherd mix is almost 10 now. He still gets way too excited and barks way too loud, but he knows better than to try to get me out of bed before I say it's time to get out of bed.

I've mentioned before that the dogs are the big beneficiaries of this coronavirus stay at home thing. They now get a nice long walk every morning, seven days a week.

Which is fine. If you've seen me lately (which of course no one has), you know that I can use all the exercise I can get. I actually enjoy it — once we get going.

It's the getting going part I'm not real fond of.

I thought the one advantage I'd get out of this work-from-home deal is I wouldn't have to get up quite so early to get to work. Wrong.

I like to be at the computer by around 7, 7:30 latest — I really am a morning person. So my dogs got used to the early morning walk routine.

Khloe in particular liked that schedule. She could get her early neighborhood patrol done, let all the cats in a five-block radius know she was ready and willing to chase them and still get back to the house in time to greet the first backyard bird invaders.

She got in the habit early of getting me up. It became a sort of game for her — could she remember to harass me before the alarm went off at 5 or 5:30? She usually won if I tried to steal and extra 15 minutes and set it at 5:45.

Some of you might remember that Daylight Saving Time began this year on March 8, the Sunday before the world screeched to a halt. That worked out well for me in regards to Khloe — she thought it was only 5 a.m. when the clocks said 6. And it was still dark.

Two months later, things have changed. The sun isn't actually up at 5:30 yet (sunrise was 5:48 on Tuesday), but it's getting light outside around 5:15. And according to Khloe, that's the sign it's time to walk. 

I did mention she still acts like a puppy, didn't I? So her idea of waking someone up isn't a gentle lick of the hand, or even a cold nose to the face.

Instead, she likes to pounce on my head. We're talking a full-on leap, both front paws together attack. It's a little tough to pretend you're still asleep after that.

I've tried explaining that it's still too early, and she's occasionally actually given me 5 minutes of grace. But only occasionally.

And before you suggest it, yes I have tried putting her out of the bedroom and closing the door. If anything, the whining and door scratching are worse than the head pouncing.

I'll admit that I'm a lousy dog trainer — I have neither the time nor the patience. I need another idea.

I know. I'll get her a dog smart watch. That's a thing, isn't it?

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

Load comments