Monkey See, Monkey Do

Niko was almost 2 years old when I rescued Rocky. I remember watching Rocky learn from Niko – things like where he should go to relieve himself (outside), how to shake and high five, how to speak, and so on. Niko also taught him some less favorable habits like scratching at the back door when ready to come in (though Rocky tended to – and still does occasionally – head butt the back door) and demanding treats. After seeing how Rocky learned from his “big brother,” I always thought that if I was going to have another dog, I would want to get one while Rocky was still able to “teach” him (or her) the lay of the land.

Rocky was almost 12 when Jacques came into our lives. I figured that our old dog could still teach our new dog some tricks. Jacques’ potty re-training went very well (and happened VERY quickly). He simply followed Rocky around in the back yard and peed on everything Rocky looked at. Okay, one lesson learned! We were having trouble getting our “independent” Westie to follow commands such as sit and shake, so I used Rocky as an example. I would have Rocky run through the exercises getting a treat each time in hopes of sparking some interest in Jacques. HA! Yeah… no. Jacques either wasn’t catching on, didn’t care, or felt that these “parlor tricks” were beneath him (I’m guessing the latter) because there was no response from him. I gave up on Rocky (or me or my husband) teaching him anything. Then over a short period of time I noticed something…

Rocky has a habit of lounging on the overstuffed chair or ottoman in the office when I am working. (Actually he’ll do it whether I’m in the office or not. It’s like it’s his personal mini-sofa and lounge area.) One day, I turned around and saw Jacques lounging on the chair. He had stretched his little rolly polly body as far as he could, taking up as much chair as possible. While I thought it was funny, I didn’t think too much of it.

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Rocky also has a habit of lounging on the ottoman (which is positioned right next to a window) and resting his chin on the window sill while looking out the window or catching a snooze. This is a standard spot for him. While working one day, I heard something behind me. I turned around fully expecting to see Rocky getting comfortable at his window post, but instead, I saw Jacques at the window trying to stretch his little neck so that he could rest his chin on the window sill while lounging on the ottoman. The sight of it was so cute, funny, and ridiculous all at once, all I could do was laugh!

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I began to see a pattern…

Rocky often sleeps on the cool tile of the bathroom. I walked in one day to find Rocky on the cool tile and Jacques on the warm, fuzzy bathmat.

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Rocky sits by the back door as his way of telling you he needs to go out. I now often find Jacques sitting there waiting to go out. (It’s much harder to see Jacques sitting by the door since the view is blocked by a large recliner.) Often, I’ll find them BOTH sitting or lying there waiting to go out.

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Rocky will scratch at the back door when he’s ready to come in. If I don’t let him in right away, he’ll bark and lay down to wait. One day I heard a strange sound coming from the back door and… you guessed it!… Jacques was sitting there waiting to come in. (I didn’t actually see him scratch the back door, but that’s what it sounded like!) And we now find him sitting at the back door whenever he’s ready to come inside.

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So I guess given enough time, Jacques did begin to learn things from Rocky. Maybe not the things I had intended or wanted him to, but he was learning nonetheless. Jacques FINALLY learned how to shake! I don’t know if it was from watching Rocky or from the constant “shake!” commands that my husband and I gave him, but he’s doing it now. We’re trying to get Rocky to teach him to speak on command. That’s another uphill battle – because unless there’s a bird, leaf, cloud, or gust of wind passing by, he won’t bark. But we’ve learned that for these dogs it’s “monkey see, monkey do” so we’re going to keep trying!

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Doggie Rasslin’

Every WWE superstar has a signature move. The Rock has “the People’s Elbow” and… okay, that’s the only wrestler and/or move I know, but you get my point. Wrestlers have a move they breakout at a pivotal point in a match. Well, Rocky and Jacques have their moves too.

When the boys started Doggie Rasslin’, they spent some time feeling each other out, seeing what the other was capable of. Jacques very quickly learned that if he ran and stood underneath Rocky, a)1) Rocky couldn’t reach him, b)2) Rocky couldn’t move, and c)3) Rocky would very likely fall down. And so the “Duck and Cover” was born.

It's a Doggie Rasslin' Bed Match!

It’s a Doggie Rasslin’ Bed Match!

While this maneuver was effective, it only bought Jacques a few seconds of escape time. Rocky (even in his old age) was able to get up fairly quickly and resume the match. But Jacques used that escape time well and adopted the “duck and cover” as his signature move.

One day during the course of a rasslin’ match – I’m not sure if it was by accident or if Rocky really knew what he was doing – Rocky somehow flipped Jacques on his back. Jacques laid there with his feet sticking straight up in the air and flailed, squirmed, and groaned but couldn’t immediately right himself. He looked like a turtle that had been flipped upside down! “The Turtle” was an extremely efficient way to immobilize Jacques and became Rocky’s signature move.

Doggie Rasslin' action shot.

Doggie Rasslin’ action shot.

If there had been a ruff, er, ref present during that match, Rocky would’ve won paws down. After seeing its effectiveness and the great annoyance it brought Jacques, my husband and I decided that when rasslin’ with Jacques we would make “the turtle” our signature move as well. So any time any of us rassles with Jacques, there’s at least one moment where Jacques is turtled – his feet and tail flailing, teeth gnashing, and grumbling. Lots of grumbling.

This video captured  the first time Jacques was turtled (at least that I know of). He apparently didn’t appreciate it because he ran under the bed after it happened. Enjoy!

Throwback Thursday

I thought I’d do something a little different today. I wanted to share some random Jacques stories (that I may or many not have already shared with friends and family). The stories are endless. Really. I hope you enjoy them!


I am a big fan of elevated feeders. In addition to the “health benefits” they can provide – especially for big dogs – I feel that they’re easier to clean around. After a few months of Jacques eating out of a plastic purple food and water dish, decided I wanted to get him an elevated feeder. (What??! He’s secure enough in his non-existent manhood!) After lots of searching and even more measuring, I finally found a set that I thought would work. (Tangent: Buying one of these things for a small dog is MUCH harder than buying one for a large dog! When I ordered one for Niko and Rocky, I just ordered the largest one they had – simple. For Jacques, I had to measure him and go back and forth with a yard stick trying to figure out the appropriate height of the dishes. Sheesh!) Anyway… the elevated dishes finally arrived. I immediately washed them and set them up for Jacques.

A few hours later I was in my home office when I heard the strangest growling. It was low and fierce. It was Jacques and it sounded serious. I jumped up to check things out. When I came out of the office I saw Jacques staring down his new elevated feeder. He would charge it then back away with his head lowered and laser focus locked, growling the whole time. I busted out laughing (seriously, tears were flowing) which broke his laser focus on the feeder and sent him running to me. After some reassurance, coaxing, and a proper introduction (Jacques, meet Feeder. Feeder, this is Jacques.), Jacques was cool with letting this stranger stay in his kitchen.

Jacques, meet Feeder. Feeder, meet Jacques. Jacques making nice with the feeder.


I came in last night after watering our fabulous new flowerbeds and as I walked through the house I noticed my right flip flop kept sticking to the floor. I thought “crap, did I not get everything wiped off my shoes??” I looked and didn’t see anything so I kept walking… but my shoe kept sticking. After the starting, stopping, and looking routine several times it finally dawned on me. My shoe wasn’t “sticking” because of anything UNDER it. It was because Jacques was following me and kept stepping ON the back of my shoe. Silly dog!!

This isn't my flip flop, but it's a ridiculously cute picture of Jacques with one.

This isn’t my flip flop, but it’s a ridiculously cute picture of Jacques with one.

Riding in Cars with Jacques

I’ll be the first to admit that my husband and I were ill prepared to transport a small dog. We were used to carting around 2 large dogs who couldn’t move out of the back seat unless they really, really, really tried. Which they never did… Rocky was too “healthy” – and yes, by “healthy” I mean “fat” – and Niko… I just don’t think he liked my driving. I think he preferred the safety of the cushioned back seats. But I digress. Because we had large dogs, we never looked into doggie seat belts or any other methods of doggie car restraints though I had been curious about how those things worked. (Would this be considered foreshadowing?)

When we picked Jacques up, we put him in the back seat like we did with our other dogs. Within minutes we had a little white dog doing a darn good pinball impression! He bounced off the seats, the windows, the console between the front seats, back into our cargo area (we have a hatchback), back to the console, onto my lap… and started the process all over again. I sat in stunned silence staring at this crazy, bouncing creature in my car while waiting for my husband to turn the car around to start looking for the lady who had brought Jacques to us.

Fortunately for me (and for Rocky and Jacques), my husband is a good sport. A VERY good sport. And very patient. Did I mention how fortunate we are to have such a patient, loving patriarch?? I eventually snapped out of my stupor and was able to snatch Jacques on one of his front seat bounces. I grabbed him and held on tight. (Who knew such a small dog could be such a wiggle worm??!) I decided for EVERYONE’S safety (and my sanity) Jacques would have to be restrained in the car FROM NOW ON – FOREVER.

Ridin' in style...

Ridin’ in style…

For the next few car rides, we used a travel kennel. That did not go over well with Jacques and he let us know about it! After several hour-plus car rides I realized I had to do something else. Jacques was miserable in the kennel which made everyone else miserable. I switched to a doggie car seat/harness combo which he seemed to really like. It raises him high enough that he can see out the window, lets him move around a little bit, and most importantly keeps him from being a doggie projectile. After dangling from his harness a few times and having his attempts to jump into the cargo area thwarted a few times, he finally got the hang of the car seat. He got pretty comfortable with it and was really good at staying in the seat. Now he’ll jump in the car and hop right up in his seat and wait to be buckled in. And his most recent thing is to be just like Rocky… So now he has to lay OUTSIDE his seat next to (and often times on top of) Rocky. We’ll see how this plays out!

He thinks he's all that... and I don't want to hurt his delicate psyche by telling him he's not so...

He thinks he’s all that… and I don’t want to hurt his delicate psyche by telling him he’s not so…

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Once Rocky got more room, Jacques had to have more room too. Luckily he’s still doggie seat belted in, otherwise we’d have a white furry projectile in the car!