Heart Dogs

I don’t know if I should be sad or if I should count myself lucky. You see, I don’t know what a “heart dog” is. People talk about it, how they got that one in a million dog, that pup with whom they formed a truly special connection.

I have a very special connection with two very special dogs. I don’t know if this means I haven’t got my “heart dog” yet or maybe I have two? All I know is that whenever someone praises one of my dogs I instantly feel the urge to praise the other one. I don’t feel like one is better than the other. They have different characters and different strengths, but I wouldn’t change one for the other. They are both very special to me in their own unique way.

Ruby has a lot of heart. He might not be a good jumper, but he LOVES agility nevertheless and puts his whole heart into playing. During a recent seminar instructor commented that Ruby was “willing to please”. I just smiled. He is not “willing to please”, but he loves agility so much that he would do anything to keep the game going 🙂 The toy he gets is just a symbol of winning. The ultimate reward is to play some more.

Java is my shadow, loves hanging out with me and I never have to worry about her chasing wildlife on walks. She is just the easiest dog to live with and gives the best morning hugs, her long tail wagging wildly. She also loves agility, but there is a different vibe to it – like she’s excited, but not 100% sure what she’s so excited about 🙂 Which might be because of her limited exposure to agility. It’s definitely too early to expect that she would love the game for itself like Ruby.

Java is awesome because she cares about what I think and tries to please me. Ruby is awesome because he doesn’t care what I think so if I’m having a bad day this won’t get to him and he will still have a blast training. Yin and Yang. Both very close to my heart. ❤

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15 thoughts on “Heart Dogs

  1. Lovely that you have such a connection with both your dogs. I used to feel like Mal was my heart dog – back when it was just me and him against the world. The two of us living in houses with friends, doing agility every weekend, him sleeping on the bed. It’s sort of changed now with the other two… I feel so enamoured by Loki and I think my connection with Mal has faded a bit now that we no longer play agility all the time together. And Lu … I don’t have that great of a bond with her. She’s not easy to live with and I think a lot of the time it feels like we just don’t ‘get’ each other. She ADORES Nic and thinks he’s super fun but we seem to just coexist. So I think for me the idea of a heart dog is easier to understand because I have such a strong bond with some of my dogs, and not so much with Lu

    • Yep, it’s hard when you work so much with a dog and yet they prefer another person… Ruby used to be the same. Luckily agility won! I could definitely feel the strain on our relationship when he was injured… and it wasn’t just because we didn’t do as much together, the magic was missing.

      • I think I’m ok with it now cos I have loki, I can kind of hand Lu over to Nic and focus on loki, and sometimes doing the fun stuff like dog walks with Lu 😉 you’re lucky agility won with Ruby! So nice that he loves it so much. I think I’m resigned to Lu never loving it, but being happy to do it. Which is ok. 🙂

        • Well, you can never know know whether a pup will love agility and I think you did an awesome job with Lu! So cool that you got your agility dog in Loki 🙂

          • joycejaskula

            Ok…speaking of “you can never know whether a pup will love agility”, how do we pick a puppy? I have always let the breeder choose or at least narrow it down to one boy, one girl. That’s what happened with my last pup. The girl would not interact with me. In fact, walked away and went to sleep. The boy was all over me. So he went home with me. The girl may have just been tired, but I took it as a clear signal that Buck was meant to be mine.

            • I think most dogs can be trained to love agility, so even though you cannot know whether the pup naturally loves it, you can asses whether they love toys and food – the stuff that you use to train. That said when I got Java it was great to know that both her parents like agility, even though her dam didn’t train much. I have no idea if stuff like this is hereditary, but it sure makes me feel better 🙂 But in the end, no matter how carefully you pick the parents (I know Em did), no matter how carefully you pick the pup, you still can end up with something other than you expected. That’s just life. It just means you got offered a spot in a life class called “Become an even better trainer” 😀

              On choosing a puppy: https://rubythewhippet.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/day-21-choosing-a-whippet-puppy/

  2. I don’t get the heart dog thing either. All my dogs have been special to me in their own unique way.

    • Maybe I will get one some day and then I will get it. Or maybe there are people who have heart dogs and those who don’t… because we all create different relationships with our dogs.

  3. I feel the same way about both of my dogs, I love them both dearly but there’s just something extra special about Phoenix. She just has this sparkle. Zoe has a sparkle, too but I don’t get to see it as often because she’s so anxious all the time. Having to deal with her anxiety has put a bit of a strain on our relationship and I am desperately trying to fix it. I think the other thing that I love about Phoenix is that she’s willing to do or try anything I ask her to and I don’t have to beg her. Where as Zoe, you have to give her a really good reason to do it. They are both incredibly smart and fun dogs, though!

    • Would you say that Phoenix is your heart dog?
      I think that if I first got Java and then Ruby I would really struggle. But because Ruby was first, most of his anxiety and independence issues were already out of the way by the time she joined us.

    • joycejaskula

      Hi Lauren….I have 4 dogs and 3 of them are very happy relaxed dogs, 1 of them is anxious, insecure and can be reactive. Not easy to live with. I compare him to a teenage boy….he gets excited and then makes bad decisions. He nipped someone’s ankle the first time I left him with a dog sitter and she had him out on the bike path for a walk. Then he nipped 2 more men who came into our house. Not serious, but enough that I insisted they get antibiotics because the skin was broken. So Gus may be much worse than your dog, but I finally tried a couple of medications on my vet’s insistence. Prozac was first, it’s inexpensive and great if it helps while you work on addressing the issues. I finally settled on Chlomicalm, a medication for separation anxiety. Gus is a much happier dog now. It has taken the edge off for him and makes it easier for him to live with himself and with us. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I thought if i had a best friend who was this anxious all the time I’d gently suggest to them that they might try medication. The only sad part for me is that Gus is the most talented and fastest of my dogs, he just cannot go public. I can’t take the chance that he’ll nip at a person or a dog. If Phoenix’s anxiety is affecting the quality of her life, you might consider medication.

  4. MaryHope Schoenfeld

    Over the years i’ve had a number of dogs, & have definitely felt closer to some than to others. I’m not sure what the cause is; i think it might just be that indefinable thing called “chemistry” — though the dog’s desire to do things with me is certainly part of it. So i feel that i’ve had several heart dogs in my life, & i hope to have several more. There’s always room for another 🙂

  5. iffebim

    I don’t think you have to have a heart dog at every point in your life. Eg, if I understand correctly La is Silvia’s heart dog. But she only got her 10ish (?) years after her first dog! Maybe you actually need to have had a couple to be able to see that the connection with one of them was truly special. Do you know how I mean? I think SG said somewhere that Stoni was her heart dog – again, this was a dog somewhere down the line of many dogs.

    • Maybe. What if the first dog you have is a heart dog and you don’t realize that connection is so rare? Yikes!

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