A Whole Dog Approach for the “Hot Dog” in the summer. Part One

Receive blog posts by email

A Cooling Approach for the WHOLE DOG.

Part one: Learning who you are dealing with.

Who’s in this dog suit?

Having a “Hot Dog” and living in Texas means that I’m perpetually learning how to cool The Mighty Finn.  Despite my best efforts over the last seven years, Finn “runs hot” physically, mentally and emotionally.

My intention here is to illustrate who Finn is in the most joie de vivre way.  Knowing Finn is vital before learning how to cool him down since there are so many aspects to this whole concept.  If you can feel the heat from this description, told from Finn’s point of view, we’ll move on in part two and three and go over how I keep him cool in mind, body, and spirit.

Dog trainers, behavior experts, mental health professionals; close your eyes!  I’m honestly illustrating the full expression of Finn and our relationship.This is his raw nature before I did much positive reinforcement training!  Take consolation in knowing that Finn is now an excellently mannered dog.  While still full of joyful fire that runneth over, he keeps his balance quite nicely.

Not the greatest photo but Finn is ALWAYS at my side.  He loves going for late-night walks, even in the winter.  It’s his BEST time of year.

Lizzy asked me to describe myself.

She calls me “Wild Man Finn.”  I love cuddling and she calls me her  “Sweet Pea.”  I give her kisses and make her laugh! She rubs my neck and tells me how shiny my tuxedo coat is.  Even if she’s just gone for a minute I’m SO happy to see her when she opens the door.

Me and leashes don’t mix unless we are going to the dog store.  If I get a whiff of the the v-e-t or a b-a-t-h, I put on the brakes.

I can do anything without strings attached like off leash obedience and tracking. I’m pretty perfect except if we’re going somewhere.  It’s EXCITING!

Whining inside Hi Ho Silver (my truck) makes her drive faster.  She can’t wait to get to wherever we’re going either!  She’s SO excited, too!  She calls my singing something else. Can’t recall what, but my yapping makes her fiery.  Like me.  We are one.

I howl at the top of my lungs should she dare roll down the windows. Pure joy from the wind in my ears and the scents of deer flowing past my muzzle. Windows go up.  Enya comes on the speaker. Calms her down nicely.  When she’s calm, I try it too.  Nice, but boring.

My radar skills are award winning and on par with my counter surfing.  Once I ate 4 bars of soap and 2 pounds of cold butter but not on the same day.  I was 100% fine.

The number of left turns and lane changes make me yip in her ear that I know where we’re going. Somewhere good!  Then I lick her ear.  Sorry.  So excited! Somewhere’s getting closer!  I NEVER get in the front. Dangerous.  I’m trained.

Resting with my head on the console from the back seat, I don’t take my eyes off of her.  Sometimes they close.  I’m Lizzy’s guardian angel, except I lost my St. Francis collar tag that said that.

Lizzy asks St. Francis to help her, a lot. Maybe I need to find my collar tag to give her?

I hate it when she leaves the house.  She comes back; I’m good.  I used to keep her at home all the time because I was scared she might not come back.  Someone else did that and left me at a shelter when I was a tiny puppy.

I cried like a trapped monkey and then we had to move to the country.  That’s how I got Lizzy out of the apartment.  Yep, I did that.  Helped our whole family get out of Dodge. Fast!

I’ve eaten a whole jar of this before. She wasn’t mad. I slept really well.

I work frozen peanut butter out of a Kong in ten minutes flat.

She hated leaving me at home so she took me to work.  A whole bag of stuff came with her like my favorite frozen red Kongs!  Mind reader.  Hanging out at the vet clinic and watching her take care of sick animals was boring.  I wanted to DO something.  The farm where her horses lived was fun because I got to RUN.

RUNNING is what I live for. Good days, bad days, rainy days, sunny days, I love to run! I have no off switch. Lizzy has to stop me. Not sure why.

I have perfect manners outside. That’s how I learned obedience when I was little.  Off leash in the big wide open Colorado fields.  She trusts me.  I never run away.  I watch her face and read her hand signals.  Smiling and having a party are the BEST when I come flying to her on a recall.

I LOVE dog parks.  Play bows with Maltese and Chihuahuas make me giggle so much that my tail slings back and forth. Intercepting a great game of frisbee is a blast.  Leaping straight up exempts me from being monkey in the middle.  Landing with their slimy yellow frisbee in my mouth and doing a victory lap puts these Type A agility dogs to shame!

I’m faster than the Greyhounds and out swim the Labs.  Fetching not one, but three balls for total strangers makes them clap.  Air under my feet and wind in my ears make my wings come out as I steal abandoned toys.  Just nabbed a fuzzy one that smells like a can of tennis balls.  Sorry pretty black Lab, I have yours, too!

In the early days, when we lived in the mountains.

I ran the skin right off of my big pad. That didn’t stop me.  Lizzy carried me to the truck and wrapped my paw with a red bandage.  She said we HAD to stop.  I barked until I couldn’t see my pack anymore. Bummer.

I painted the back seat with blood and got that yucky bandage off. Pronto.  Had to keep my paw clean.  She wasn’t mad at all! She made me special dinner (she loves doing that) and put some yummy soothing salve on my sore foot.  I got to wear her socks on my bum foot and she gave me a massage.

Never let this day be over. I love my bones!

I had to learn how to relax. Big knuckle bones helped.  Old dogs helped. Being tired helped. So did cookies that she made for me. Lavenderrrrrr….oh I like it on my chest.  I slept wherever I wanted, preferably at her feet.  Even now, if she gets up, I do too.  It’s my job to stay with Lizzy.

This is my favorite toy. Squirrels and I have a thing. Lizzy stopped getting me the fake ones because I liked to take them apart.

She stopped getting me fancy toys like six years ago.  I do squeaker surgery.  Gripping it with my claws and isolating the noise then using my remaining, incisors I aggressively excise it.  Lizzy cleans up the white stuff and I take a nap. Relaxing.

I can’t help it! They BUG Me!!

Remaining incisors?  Yes, I am a fly catcher.  I crashed my nose into the floor and once into a ceramic bowl.  Both times I broke teeth.  I killed two flies.

Oh it hurt! Ducking my head, I found Lizzy. Soothing me with sweet nothings I weakly wagged my tail. Oh my whole body hurt.  I need a doctor.  Oh no…the very thought. Tucking my tail and trotting to her bed, I hide.  Darkness helps.  We went to the vet to fix my mouth the next morning.  I hate vets AND showing people my teeth.

I had to go to a surgeon two times in two months for two teeth.  Lizzy stayed with me the whole time because I was growling a lot and I am so afraid of vets. Bad puppyhood story we’ll go into later.  Vets feel the same about me. I talk A LOT. Do NOT look me in the eye if you’re a stinky human trying to help me!

I wouldn’t let that guy mess with me without Lizzy.   Oh, the drugs; my world was spinning.  Butterflies, steaks, trees and waking up like I was on a boat was a trip.  Dizzy, Fizzy, Finny. Lizzy always has to help me wake up with little white homeo-something pills.

Minus a couple teeth, I’m Lizzy’s protector.  I bark a lot if someone hugs her, even if it’s one of her human pack. I hear EVERYTHING.  I bark and jump and draw attention to ME.  Works like a charm.

The story of my life!

My favorite game is fetch and I just can’t stop. Can’t do too much. Lizzy said I have to be careful. What?  Hurt my leg?  That’s another story.  I’m a good tri-pod if it hurts. Makes Lizzy cringe and we have to STOP. More white pills and herbal teas for pain and rest.  Lots of rest.  Then I’m fine.  Every day’s a new one and ready for fetch!

Twelve steps didn’t help.

I got stuck on number one: Admitting I’m powerless and that my life is unmanageable.  I am NOT powerless an my life IS manageable.  End of story. I’m just being ME!  Maybe Lizzy needs help managing herself so she can hang with me?

Lizzy finished plucking out they gray hairs that I gave her and learned the Serenity Prayer.  She held my paw as she recited: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference…”  That’s all I remember.

Now that you know who Finn is, cooling him down will make more sense.  Stay tuned for part two.  Until then, chill out with your dog and see who they are. Can you imagine what life might be like from their perspective? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Receive My Blog Posts By Email

Get my latest blog posts delivered straight into your inbox - FREE!


  1. Great article! Can’t wait for part 2 cuz Keeper is a hot dog I think. Extremely high energy, bossy, barks and with high expectations of doing things with me “all” the time. Leila says he’s not demanding when I’m not there but barks for my attention when I’m there! I fetch with him, track with him, play find it with his baby bumper inside and outside. Did I mention ride him on the bike. Weekends we go to Bass Pro lake and do retriever work.

    • Hi Jim! I actually have a hot link to your website in part two! YOU were the person who came to my rescue when I was so stressed in that darn apartment with Finn. Vern had died, I was going nuts and all of this was Pre-Loma. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store without notes left on my door. All the herbs in china didn’t calm him down! Remember that day? Finn was just beside himself with separation anxiety and HEAT….You told me I wasn’t crazy. This dog was a handful. That I was doing everything right. You gave me some ideas and tools to help his brain. You gave me the support to get him a companion…which I really did’t want! Loma Dear came to the rescue, for both of us. Finn’s full time nanny. Anyway Jim, you’ve been such a Godsend on my path and I really appreciate you!! AND YES on Keeper, a Hot Dog: is Keeper reflecting you at all? Have you tried some lavender essential oil on his chest? Have you tried calming music inside-Pandora New Age Instrumental is a Finn fave…as is meditation music or me actually meditating. In times of trial-a good raw beef knuckle bone saves the day-calming endorphins for the inside of the dog are cooling….check: http://www.rawfeedingmiami.com or http://www.mypetcarnivore.com

  2. loved reading about Finn!. great writing! xo

  3. Remember the book and movie ‘Marley and Me’ what about ‘Finding Finn’ – discovering the world through a dog’s eyes…it’s a best seller! So well written and very funny! xo

    • Hi Liz! Yes I do remember “Marley and Me.” I am working on one from Stewie cat’s perspective and am in the middle of writing my whole book. Finn gave me a gift on this one. I was sitting at my writing desk, struggling to find the words about cooling a hot dog. Finn looked at me with those piercing eyes and started barking. I thought…I can channel the horses, I can channel Finn! And so it was written…easily… 🙂

  4. I loved that! So well written. What a sweet relationship you have with Finn!

  5. Finn did a really great job describing himself, Lizzy. Can’t wait for Part 2 ! Sending this on to Claire bc it’s such a fun read. Well done.

    • Thank you Annie! Finn’s a good little writer 🙂 Part two is coming but meanwhile, something on Therapy Horses is in the works to break up the dog blogs 🙂 Hope claire enjoys 🙂

  6. Well Lizzy,
    You certainly found Finn’s voice in your writing. It appeared to come quite naturally and it’s “voice” for which every writer strives.
    Finn has beautifully explained why he is so fixed upon you, described in the Bible as “a single eye”.
    Such a pleasure to read about your smallholding.
    Love to all of your lucky critters.

    • Long overdue, Melanie! Sorry! Thank you so much. Finn is at my side all the time. Totally devoted. Love him dearly. Like you love Izzie. A single eye-yes, that’s something that fits Finn. Thank you!!

  7. Thank you Wanda! I would LOVE to help you with Bugatti! Most of my work is done via phone. I am near San Antonio.

Speak Your Mind