The Morning Ritual

As I’ve said many times before, dogs and humans are both creatures of habit, never more so than first thing in the morning.  The problem is that for humans, it takes at least an hour and a few cups of coffee before we can legally be held responsible for our actions and our dogs know it.

The morning starts much the same for dog lovers the world over. Usually, in one of three ways…

  1. Our subconscious tells us our bladder needs emptying and our dogs decide to help by jumping on it; both in unison, and then one after the other.
  2. Our subconscious feels something’s wrong and opens our eyes to reveal our dogs staring at us, doing their best Jedi mind trick imitation.
  3. Our subconscious feels something’s wrong and opens our eyes to reveal the bedroom totally empty, causing us to jump out of bed to see what mischief the dogs are up to.

Now that we’re conscious enough to somewhat control our movements, our dogs may or may not let us pass unimpeded to the bathroom to do our business. Normally at least one of them will come along to make sure we don’t dally too much.  Once we’ve finished our business and not a moment later, the dogs will all turn into border collies and herd us towards the back door so they can tend to their own bladders. This will be, by far, the quickest pee break of the day. As soon as their bladders are empty, their stomachs remind them that they’re empty too.

Once back inside, the dogs herd us into the kitchen where we blindly grope for the morning rations of kibble.  Now at this point we’re still operating on a half-awake brain and our dogs know it. Closing our eyes and listening to the morning rustle and chomp of kibble we fantasize of the bed we just left. The sound of silence snaps us back to the present to find the dogs doing their best to convince us that we never put kibble in their bowls in the first place. They figure that since we haven’t had a cup of coffee yet, we can be convinced of anything.

After the kibble crunching, we tend to get stubborn sometimes and refuse to do anything else until we’ve had at least a cup of coffee and some toast. However, our dogs are ready for this tactic and often counter with one or more of the following…

  • A play bow, either as a group or one after another, each using their best happy face to entice us out of the kitchen and into the back yard.
  • Gathering as a group at the back door looking as if they drank too much water and are going to explode in a shower of urine if they don’t get to go out. But of course they won’t go out unless we accompany them.
  • They start playing inside as a group and become so loud and obnoxious that we have no choice but to let them out for our own sanity. Again they will just stand at the door and stare at us unless we go out with them.
  • Working as a group, one dog will bring our shoes, one will bring the leashes, and the others will bring the rest of the accruement necessary for a morning walk.

Of course at some point in the morning we will fit in enough coffee and fresh air to actually be considered legally conscious and aware of our actions and ready to fully enjoy the company of our dogs. That’s when another morning ritual takes place— our dogs take a nap.

We’d love to hear what kind of morning rituals you and your dogs practice. So sit back, have a sip of coffee, and share with us.



6 thoughts on “The Morning Ritual

  1. Do you secretly have my house and family under surveillence? You know the routine to a T!

    • Not really. It’s just that all dogs like to compare stories when they get together. Amazing what can be conveyed by sniffing another dogs butt! :0

  2. In general, you nailed it! We have two large breed dogs (a senior Lab mix and an adolescent German Shepherd). They sleep on their own beds in our bedroom.

    They know what the alarm clock means! It goes off and is closely followed by tags jingling, whole-body wiggling, claws tapping. If I’m too slow the Shepherd comes over and pokes me with his nose. Now that I trust both of them to not destroy the house at night, the door stays open and they lead me to the sliding door in the living room. The older girl heads straight there, the ‘puppy’ wanders back and forth, coaxing me on. Out they go and we all ‘do our business’.

    I let them back inside and they follow me to the bedroom hallway. They either go back to bed or lie out in the hallway while I shower, brush teeth etc. The majority of the time they are quiet and well-behaved. Occasionally the younger one is too wound up and starts to pester his sister.

    Once I’m all clean and made-up for the day: kibble and coffee time! The older girl stands back and does a kibble dance, the young one is in a ‘Down’ right in front of me (without a signal from me), so he can watch the food-bowl-filling-action. He also provides howl/whining commentary. (We’re working on good manners for this part. It’s an improvement from before, when he would insist on standing behind me or literally under my feet and knock me over!)

    I made sure I’m giving the right dog the correct bowl (the Shepherd eats a lot more than the senior girl!) Doggies eat kibble. Mommy makes coffee and People Food. Usually a few rounds of Laser Pointer or fetch are snuck in here while coffee is brewing. Then Daddy wakes up and gets some time in with them: playing, petting, going for walks.

    They are my furry alarm clocks! I never have to worry about oversleeping again, that’s for sure.

  3. I WISH my dogs were as well-behaved as the ones in your household & the others’ who’ve replied. Mine (embarrassingly) sleep ON my bed (three little terrier mixes) every night. As SOON as I move even a little bit as I awaken each morning, they ALL “know” that I’m officially awake, and there’s absolutely NO way I could ever go back to sleep. Now, I usually wake up during the night to use the bathroom, and they “allow” me to get back into bed & return to sleep, but once it’s after a “certain time” & daylight is peeking through the windows, I will NOT be allowed to go back to sleep. They step on me, lick my face, bump against my body—I MUST get up!
    After this part of the morning, I check my emails. As SOON as I turn off the computer (and it makes the “turning off tune”), they know that we’re going for our daily “long walk”, and there’s NO way I can do anything but put on my “going for a dog walk clothes” (which they can differentiate from my other, “regular” clothes, SOMEhow), and then go to the front door to put their leashes on them ( while one of them spins in a circle EVERY morning while I attempt to “catch” him & connect his leash to his collar!), and then we ALL four tumble out the front door much like “The Four Stooges”, all trying to go through the door at the same time…sigh…it’s our daily ritual, and I LOVE them.

  4. My dogs are the opposite of your dogs-the alarm means the human gets up and the human only.The human stumbles out of bed and makes coffee,drinks a cup and puts on the dogwalking clothes.Meanwhile the dogs continue to snooze on the bed,arising only to the sound of the jacket zipper(winter) or the leashes being picked up.

    • You learn something new every day. I would have bet that a majority of the dogs out there would be the early risers. However, the majority of comments I’ve received both online and off suggest that the opposite is true. 🙂

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