Tag Archives: Toast

Top 10 Things I Learned from the Dog Trainer on Sunday


  1. We must initiate giving attention to Toast, not respond to his nudges and barks and requests for attention. This establishes who is the boss.
  2. To extinguish his jumping, we are to stand perfectly still, and look at the ceiling. Toast is learning very quickly that jumping yields absolutely nothing from us. VERY cool to see Kepler implementing this and having it work beautifully.
  3. Kong makes excellent dog toys and they can be stuffed with a variety of foods.
  4. We do not use his name during correction, only during positive interactions. I confess I did yelp out his name today when I saw him beginning to wee-wee on the floor. But he got way more positive communication from us using his name today than negative.
  5. It is best not to find accidents, which means I have to have my eyes on the dog when he is moving around, and not allow him to go into other rooms unattended.
  6. Trips outside for potty are not to be mixed with trips outside for play. He needs to understand that potty trips are quick out, quick in.
  7. When he mouths/nips/bites, we say “ouch” loudly and substitute a toy immediately. This helps him learn what it’s ok to bite.
  8. Having a highly trained dog is eminently doable.
  9. Mike is a really good trainer.

All hands on deck

This post is about our deck. Hence the clever title. Well, our deck and the garden next to it.

A few years ago, we planned blackberries and raspberries. Long story short, they didn’t do well. Today I decided to take the remaining bushes out. 

Whose idea was it to install thorns on every surface of the plant? Not only the stems, but every single leaf is covered with thorns. 

So, while “barefoot gardening” might be a good book title, it’s not a good practice. Ouch.

We have a nice backyard that I barely ever show up in. Now that Toast is here, me and my backyard are like *this.* 

Things are shaping up back there! So, a toast to Toast. 

Slim pickins tonight. Figuring out my days now that the kids are in school and I have a puppy to care for. Reminds me of the days I was afraid to go anywhere because my baby might need to breastfeed. Now it’s about whether the puppy is going to pee on my floor if I miss taking him out in time. I’m sure this will pass, but it’s a little limiting at the moment.

An experienced dog woman would probably be experiencing this differently. I suppose. But in the meantime, I’ll watch with tenderness as Kepler gets off the bus each day and trades me his backpack for the dog’s leash. “I wuv Toast, mom.”

Introducing Toast Taylor


Greg’s been saying for about the past five years, “Kepler needs a dog.” I’ve been saying for about the past five years, “I can’t imagine adding a dog into this household.” Sometimes it was more like, “ARE YOU SERIOUS.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t agree with him; I just didn’t see how I could add another living creature into the mix, especially since when this conversation started five years ago, all five kids were living at home, and I had no positive experience with owning a dog. So, I think it’s safe to say that five years ago, what I was saying made a whole lot of sense for our family.

I didn’t see it as possible for me to adopt a dog from the pound or rescue a dog. We did look into a rescue at first, but the dog Greg found online turned out not to be a good fit for us. I didn’t really understand why until I read that a dog should match the energy level of the family or be lower energy than the family energy level. The rescue dog was very high energy and would require a GREAT deal of training; something I simply could not do. But I came to believe eventually that it would be good for Kepler to have a pet companion. Through a series of many baby steps, I heard about Toast’s breeders from another family who had one of their dogs.

I wanted to name him Mr. Rochester, after the dog who took care of Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle in Time, and call him Rocky for short, but Toast seemed to be the name that stuck for Kepler, so after about 24 hours of having him home, I decided we’d go with Toast.

For the first time in my life, I understood how important it was going to be for me to be the alpha dog here and establish my authority over him from the beginning. We have a family member who is a virtual dog whisperer who is helping me so much with training Toast in these early days. I have so much to learn but i AM learning. And Toast is quite a dog.

He’s a Labradoodle and has a temperament suited to being trained as a therapy dog or a service dog. We’ll decide about this in the next few months. I don’t know all the ins and outs of the training for the different types of pet, but have my hands full right now with all things puppy.

BLAH BLAH BLAH. I discovered today my patience DOES have limits. I discovered today that Kepler is adjusting to having a new being that also gets my attention by ramping up his questions, comments, requests for help, and other attention-getting actions. I discovered today that I remember why I used to be irritable when I got too much sensory stimulation. And I discovered today that I have resources now that make it much more possible to find my way out of a downward spiral, and that spirals are still going to occur from time to time.

I was going to go to an alanon meeting tonight. It was so good last week, but more than anything tonight I just needed a little break; some quiet time. It’s been awhile since I felt this challenged, so I’m getting lots of practice seeing the challenges as opportunities. Though sometimes I feel like growling, I try to give myself and those around me grace, and trust that I can say yes to what is.