The Tajji Diaries: Alarm Clock

Tajji and Gayatri waiting for DeborahDogs, like many other animals, are Creatures of Schedule. They seem to feel most secure when recurring events are predictable – the sun comes up, monkeys get up, we go walkies, then breakfast, then nap, then playtime…and so forth. They love rituals, like the one Dave has created for putting on the harness. It’s a version of Keepaway, with great romps through the living room, corridors, and open dining area. Her body language says it’s great fun, and she stands willingly when it’s all over. Interestingly, Tajji understands that this is a game to be played only with Daddy Monkey. Mommy Monkey is all business when it comes to gearing up, hence the harness is donned not in the living (Keepaway) area but in the mudroom.

To everything there is a season…

A time to pounce on cats, a time to be rubbed against,

A time to nap, a time to romp,

A time to cuddle on the monkeys’ bed, a time when doggies are not allowed on the bed…

A time to be lazily retired, and a time to impose order on the household.

Now that Tajji has settled into her new family, she feels it is incumbent upon her as the resident dog to impose some degree of order upon her monkeys. We noticed very early on that if either of us closed the door behind us and it did not latch, Tajji would very shortly poke her nose in, ascertain we were okay, and then withdraw. She was keeping an eye on us! (This was a little disconcerting at first in the bathroom.)

Monkeys and doggie do not always agree on what constitutes a proper daily schedule. Dave gets up quite early, but especially when I’ve had a rough night, I’ll sleep in, hauling myself out of bed between 7:30 and 8:00 am.

Tajji has other ideas.

She has determined that the proper time for me to wake up is 7:15 am, and she’s remarkably precise about it. I don’t know what will happen in the winter when it’s barely light at that hour, but so far, she begins her wake-up call within 5 minutes of the appointed time.

First bell: She stands on my side of the bed, panting. If I don’t respond, she pokes me with a wet nose. (So far, no kisses.)

Second bell: She hops on the bed with me, usually nicely at my feet, and sighs dramatically.

Third bell: I have not yet discovered further escalation. The first two are usually more than enough. I leave it to your imagination.

Dave, considerate spouse that he is, will close the bedroom door so that I can get a bit of extra sleep. The photo showsTajji and Gayatri expressing their opinion of being prevented from performing their vital wake-up duties. It’s a good thing neither of them has opposable thumbs, don’t you think?

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The Tajji Diaries: Alarm Clock — 8 Comments

  1. Yes, indeed. When my husband first got his dogs, he was working, with a 40 minute commute. He got up at 5:15, fed the puppies, then proceeded with his own morning routine. Weekends flummoxed the dogs, who resorted to something resembling Tajii’s wake-up call. Fast forward several years into husband’s retirement and our attempts to sleep late on weekdays nearly necessitated calling out the national guard. Breakfast was supposed to be served no later than 5:25 a.m. What the heck was wrong with those monkeys?

    Sadly, the dogs are no longer with us, and yes – we greatly miss our morning wake-up call.

    • “If I just stare at the door hard enough, it will open…”

      The cat, however, is actively sniffing. You can see how relaxed they are with one another.

  2. Emily is remarkably focused on the semiotics of monkey behavior. You’re putting on shoes? That very likely means Something Wonderful (a walk) for The Dog. You’re buttoning your shirt? Obviously getting ready to go outside to play with The Dog. Cleaning up? That must mean you’re looking for a toy with which to play with–you got it, The Dog. And this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because very often having an expectant dog expecting things makes them happen.

    Except sometimes I’m just buttoning my shirt.

  3. Alas, they don’t come with a Daylight Saving Time reset button.

    Miss Puss (aka Ragtime Annie) is convinced 04:00 is the time for her monkey to get up, stir the crunchies in the dish, and run the shower for fresh water.

    It takes about a month for her to adjust to time change. I dread the thought of moving her across time zones.

  4. House Rules are…the dogs get up when the people get up. I’d say that’s easier to reinforce now that the dogs are crated at night, but it’s always been that way even when three of them were arrayed around the bedroom. (They sleep crated now because Connery needs to be on frequently washed bedding and in a covered area as one of the many, many things we do to protect him from his overactive immune system/atypical allergies/vacs-induced disease.)

    Actually, Dart would sleep crated anyway, because he’s the first dog I’ve ever had who simply won’t ever be trustworthy when it comes to foraging in the house. He was 10 months when we got him and foraging was a strong, reinforced, default behavior. We accept that and therefore manage it rather than going nuts over it, although there are certain baseline rules we’ve managed to instill. He’s also a complete mama’s boy and regularly woke us up several times during the night with wild wailing. If he ever “slept in,” I can’t recall it. Then his behavior escalated as Rena’s illness stressed the pack, and I moved his crate to the bedroom–where he has slept the night through ever since and stays quiet until I get up even though the other of us is up and out of the house much earlier. Eventually we humans catch on to what they need most…