Oh boy! Winston told me yesterday that this time of year is when you wait, wait, wait for the grapes to be ready to harvest. He said he was too busy to sit down and write today because between watching me grow and the grapes ripen that he had enough work to do this week. You know what else he told me? He told me that one day I was going to take over this job because he was going to retire, so he could spend his days laying in the sun and waiting on Mom to bring him treats.
Can you believe that a little boy like me is going to have a big grown up blog like this? He said that if I wanted to practice this week I could. He even said it would be good for me to write down everything I’ve learned, so I can remember it better when I get excited.
I’ve learned a lot about how to be a good winery dog, but these are the 10 most important rules for me to follow:
- Say hi to all the people and all the dogs! My job as a greeter is very important. Winston says nothing makes a person feel better than for you to tell them hello with a tail wag and a smile. He also says dogs are the only ones lucky enough to get away with sniffing each other to say hi!
- No barking in the tasting room. Mom always tells me that I have so much to say, but Winston keeps reminding me that there is a time and place for everything and the tasting room is not the place for barking. He said some old man once said, “The quieter you become, the more you hear.” The guy’s name was Ram Dogs, or something like that, but I doubt he had as much to say as I do. All I know is that when I am quiet, I just hear more things I need to investigate.
- I can’t eat the grapes. Winston reminds me of this whenever we go for a walk in the vineyard, and I start sniffing around too much. He says they are toxic for me; I don’t really know what that word means yet, but I’m pretty sure it means they taste bad.
- Stay close by! I’m just a little dog in a big, big world, but Winston says I can’t ever go too far away from home. He said I can never go in the parking lot because cars aren’t always looking. He also told me that there are these really great stinky, smelly animals that run around sometimes. He said they are black and white and they like to play chase, but he also said Mom gets really frustrated when he plays chase with them. I guess if I stay close to people who care about me, I won’t get into any trouble I can’t handle.
- No food, period. Let me be clear here. Winston is all about the food. I’m all about the food. Do you know who is not all about the food? Mom! She says that it is really important for us to have this thing called “table manners”. She says that when we have this, we won’t ask anyone for food. She also says we are absolutely never allowed to put our heads on tables. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, since that is where all the food is, but I am going to listen to her anyway because I don’t like to make her mad.
- “Curiosity killed the cat.” This is one that Mom tells me all the time. I don’t actually know what this has to do with me because I’m a dog and not a cat, but I don’t know if she’s just confused because she’s not a dog. The problem with this is that Mom tells me this right before I’m about to make a really cool discovery, so I’m still deciding if this is the best rule for me to follow.
- Paw at the door to get back inside. This is a really great trick, and it doesn’t take me long at all to teach the humans what I want when I do it! Winston says this world is never going to know what you want unless you speak up, so he told me that whenever I really want to go inside or outside I should just paw on the door to let the world know. The best part is when Winston plays a game I like to call “in-out-in-out”. When he’s playing that game, he waits for the people to sit down and then he paws on the door. As soon as they let him in or out and sit down again, he goes to another door and paws again. He keeps going until he feels like they are tired, and then he just stays out and lays in the sunshine for a while.
- Naps are really important. Is there anything better than curling up in a comfortable spot to snooze away? Mom says when I don’t get enough sleep, I am not well-behaved. This is because when I get really tired I like to do lots of silly things to keep me awake, and this is always when I get put into time-out. I usually lay down when that happens, and before I know it, I hear people talking to me and I am back to normal again!
- Chew on toys, not humans or Winston. I don’t know about this rule. My teeth are growing and they hurt sometimes. The best way for me to make them feel better is to chew on something soft, but whenever I try to chew on Winston’s soft, soft ears to make them feel better, he growls at me. When this happens, Mom tosses a toy my way. My favorite right now is a chipmunk that has ropes on it!
- Sit down when I am asked. You know what happens a lot when you are a winery dog? You get your picture taken. Winston says I need to hold very still when that happens, and the best way to do this is to sit. He told me that one day I would be big enough to sit my bottom in a chair like he does, but until then I need to learn to sit very still when I am saying hi to people or having my picture taken. He also said I need to learn how to always stay down off of people’s laps because even if I am little now, I will be very big one day, and I will be too big to not listen when I need to.
This is an awful lot for a little dog like me to know, but I know that if I try really hard, I can be the best puppy ever. Winston told me that one day, a long time ago, he was just as little as I am now (pictured above!). He said that when he was little, he had a big brother named Vladimir, and Vladimir taught him everything he knows. Mom even says that Vladimir had better manners than Winston! I hope I can be just as good of a dog as those two; I know with Winston showing me the way, I will have no problems at all!