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"Qu'est Ce Qu'ils Sont Beau"

"Qu'est Ce Qu'ils Sont Beau"

September 10, 2010
Posted in: Dogs | Reading Time: 8 minutes


I get that said to me a lot on our walks. At least twice daily.

"Hey Princess, I think that nice French lady just said we were beautiful!"
"Comment dits-on "duh" en Francais?"

Culture shock is setting in. So far, Mr. Wild Dingo and I only wanted to flee back home about 87 times. Even though this is Europe and I've been here several times, I didn't realize how difficult it can be to live in another country. The language barrier, unspoken rules, navigating, common behavior for shopping, oh and the parking... the damn parking in these Slim Fast parking spaces. I have no idea how I'll ever be  able to park quickly and smoothly or exit the car without needing a can of Pam.

Loki's not all that happy here yet. As I predicted, he's having a hard time feeling settled. For one thing, everything scares him. Remember how he loved to play "get in the box?" Well, he's now taken on a very irrational fear of cardboard boxes. He became frightened of them on the day I unpacked the air shipment. While he was napping, I inadvertenly hit an empty box which made a loud noise and scared him awake. Now he won't even be in the same room as any cardboard box.

"Get in the box already sissy-boy! Geesh, don't you remember how much fun it was in California?"
"No way Princess! I'm stayin' far away from that monsterous thing that woke me from my sweet dreams of my old back yard!"

The weather so far has been mild, mostly sunny and warm. On the days it rains, it seems to rain for 20 or 30 minutes and then the rest of the day is sunny again. The weather is typically gorgeous after a day of on and off raining.  The other day, it rained on and off with some clouds and sun and the next day the winds blew in heavily blowing away the clouds and causing Lake Leman (Lake Geneva to the rest of the world) to actually have some serious waves.

Loki is spooked by the high waves and winds. But he's spooked by everything these days.  He broke his sit stay (very unlike him) when the high winds blew something down in the shop next to him. Juno has nerves of steel and doesn't even notice.  She normally breaks a sit stay just out of general disobedience.

"Princess, what was THAT? Is it the end of the world?"
"Oh pipe down silly boy.  You're breakin' my concentration on finding just the right excuse to get up from my sit."

On top of all this newness, his routine has been broken. In California, their routine had been to get up in the morning and do some training or games with me individually. Then we'd have a play session and a couple of runs around the yard. After that we'd go in, have a bully stick or bone and I would start my day. At the end of the day we'd have a long walk.  Our routine here is different because I  don't have luxury of just setting them outside to go potty or go have a run in the yard yet. So most of my time is spent taking them for very long walks to get their exercise. The other parts of my day are spent shopping or taking care of things that need to be done for us to live here.

Loki is bored. I can see it. I never really knew how much he loved to work and train until now. He truly enjoys using his brain. He loves puzzles and thinking through new behaviors and loves to get things right. On the other paw, as much as Juno loves training, she's more interested in just walking long distances and experiencing life. They're so opposite.

The other morning when I saw that Loki didn't want to eat his bully stick, I took them out and did some training, with a longer focus on Loki. His spirits picked up and when we came in, they both went for their bones.  A few hours later we went downtown to Morges at lunch time for a long walk. The wind was intense and the water on the lake very choppy. Juno was unphased and very interested in it but Loki was spooked by it all.



"Hey Daddy-O! Check out those waves! Reminds me of the Cruz, doesn't it?"

"Princess, there's no way, no how I'm even gonna look at those monsters."

"I love how the wind from France behind me just floofs up my jodhpurs!"

"Holy crap Princess! There's a monster in that lake! I'm outta here!"
"You'd better run Big Boy. I heard the Lemaness Monster enjoys Formosan dogs for lunch. And it's just about high-noon!"

"I could bask in the sun all day long."

"Princess, tell me when the monster is gone. I can't look!"

"Hey, where'd my brave guard dog suddenly go?"

In the park, we ran into two English people on bikes were impressed by Loki and Juno staying down on a distance while I picked up their poo. Swiss and foreigners compliment their behavior often,  "oh my your dogs are so well behaved!" Sigh. If they only knew.  The Swiss have their own set of "rules" in regards to managing dog behavior that are a bit different than mine and so a down-stay in a busy park often turns peoples heads.

Although the Swiss have their own rules for dog behavior mangement, they are quite tolerant of welcoming them into any store. Last weekend we wandered into the Froidevaux Cycles bike shop in Morges, to buy a new road bike for me. Mr. Wild Dingo and I are big cyclists (or at least I used to be). We brought almost all of our bikes--mountain, road and cyclocross--with us, but they are still in transit. Mr. Wild Dingo even brought his time trial bike for indoor training.  I needed a new road bike anyway. Rather than bring my old one, we opted just to buy one here so I wouldn't have to wait for our "sea" shipment to arrive to start riding.  They tried to sell us a Trek or other American made bike, but we insisted on a European brand just for kicks.  After all, it was less-expensive AND American bikes are several thousand dollars more here than they are in the States! For the cyclists who want to know: I bought a beautiful carbon La Pierre women's specific road bike. The "groupo" components will need to be upgraded as they are too heavy for my taste, but we'll do that later.

The dogs were mostly good, until Loki spotted a big dog outside the shop and went a little cracker. He also went cracker as I test rode the bike. Dog-forbid his pack should be split apart more than 20 feet of eachother. Safety in numbers and all that.

"Oh my dawg Princess, is Mom gonna make us model all these helmets just like we did for Doggie-Gras?"
"Big-Boy, no worries. Your brain isn't big enough to fit in any of these helmets."

Meanwhile Juno has taken to opening the doors while we're gone and raiding whatever she can find in our bedroom. She got into Mr. Wild Dingo's flip flops but spared them any masticatory damage. Damn Mr. Wild Dingo always gets off easy with the sibe.  The other day she took out all my dirty socks and undergarments from the laundry basket and had her way with them. She must have been channelling the dingo who did the first time I stayed over her house.  It's obvious she enjoys punishing me over Mr. Wild Dingo. Fortunately for you Internet, I won't post photos of my unmentionables strewn around the house to prove the husky's criminal activity. I think you can take my word on it by now.

The fence guy is coming again on Saturday. The first quote made our eyes bug out of our head. Luckily for us he offered to come back and discuss other options. We're so anxious to get this done. Now if we can only figure out a way to get Loki to chill out and cheer up. I"m already back to our morning training routine, so that has helped a lot. But if you have other ideas, send them on!

"Sigh. I miss all my peeps and canines in California and at K9-clinic: my search buddies Rolf, Honey and Sierra, my favorite chi Louie and my favorite pack of wolves, Jim and his huskies. I even miss that crazy vet, Dogtor Hilary. Woah is me. An international dog living in a beautiful country.  And all I have is this stupid duck."

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17 comments on “"Qu'est Ce Qu'ils Sont Beau"”

  1. Just a thought but have you considered getting Loki a DAP collar? And maybe a plug in for whichever room they spend most time in. They do seem to be quite effective & if the collars aren't available in Switzerland, I'm sure friends in America would be willing to send you one. In fact, I'd be happy to get once here for you & send it on. Afraid I have no idea how much collars cost, but I'm sure we could find them on the net somewhere. The plug in you would have to find locally as the electricity voltage is different from both here & America. Good luck & I hope Loki settles soon. Oh & check out Dorwest Herbs online both for herbal & homeopathic remedies for him, too. The staff are all very friendly & helpful & really know their stuff.

  2. Hi Julie, love reading your stories and the pics. Do you have any pics of your house you are renting? Is the weather like California? Looks lovely.

  3. Awwww, Loki! I bet the training will help get him back to feeling 'at home'. Moose is really pretty laid back but turned into a nervous anxious beast when I moved and I was so worried I broke him or something! The move itself was very stressful for him but even a month or so after he was not himself. He just seemed to gradually come around. I honestly think the fence helped alot but that was because I was doing a lot of work in the back yard and he could hear me and see me and got soooo frustrated but it carried on to the rest of the time when I was not in the yard it seemed. That is probably different for you though. Still, a big part of Moose's routine is sitting outside for bit during the day. I also think he got better as I got into a routine so maybe that is part of it... he does not know what either of you will be doing next? Sorry I don't have any real suggestions. Walks seem to fix a lot of problems but clearly you have that covered!

  4. Hey Loki -

    I'll khome live with that khrazy Sibe sisfur of yours and woo khan khome bakhk to the states...

    Just imagine the breeze from France blowing through my 'loons?

    PeeEssWoo: I would SOOOOOO be a challenge fur Wild Dingo Woman although I don't chew things - hope that isn't a deal breaker!?!

  5. Oh poor Loki... So homesick! Are you familiar with Rescue Remedy? Spritz him if you can, or rub it on him! Put it in his water, too. So good for jangled nerves, upsets, and disconbobulations. RR is a five flower Bach remedy. There are individual remedies that can be helpful for the constitution as well that are fairly easy to self-prescribe. Usually there's a book available for reference at the place where you buy RR.

  6. Like I was saying, also have you tried stuffing Kongs for an activity? It satisfies an urge. Contact me if you need help with that or check online for suggestions for stuffing.
    And there's these puzzle dog toys vie seen online that are expensive but Loki might enjoy the challenge.
    I'm pulling for youse guys.

  7. Oh... and if he's stressed more than bored Fin's "thunder shirt" (what I like to call his straight jacket) has helped his anxiety at the vet.

  8. Oh, that makes us sad to know that Loki is struggling. If anyone can help him feel better, it has to be you - you always have the answers. We think once that fence is in, he will be a lot happier. Good luck - it will all work out.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  9. Are you coming back home soon? Because it sounds full of peril to be living in that strange place for sure. Poor Loki. Dude! I understand completely. One can only tolerate so much change. I mean, come on.

    Hey, and that get in the box is a dumb suck up trick anyway. Glad you got over it. Leave it to Miss Thing. You need to stay on top of your game to warn mom of impending doom from the depths of the ocean and howling wind and whatnot.


  10. Poor :Loki, he does look a bit like a duck out of water (especially in his last pic, ha-roo roo!) We think he may settle in & feel safer when he has his own territory fenced off. In the meanwhile, its lovely to see how well Juno has taken to being an International Sibette Star! Hey, you probably needed some new undies anyway, right? Something appropriately Belgian & lacy?

    jack a-roo & miss moo

  11. Sorry that is taking so long for everything to kind of settle down. It is a big adjustment for everyone but you guys are good and I am sure you will get the hang of everything in no time.

    That is really cool that the shops let you bring the pups with you.

    Sure does look beautiful there. Sky is so blue.

  12. Oooh a new road bike! (Mom's all excited for you! Me? I don't get the bye-sickle-ing thing, but until they make one for dogs, I probably won't.) We hope you settle in soon; Mom tells me about how when she and her parents moved to Saudi Arabia back in the early 1970s, and culture shock didn't even begin to describe it. Mom's parents thought they were going to bail after the 3 year contract was over, but it took 12 years for them to leave (and then go back a few years later...).

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

  13. I feel bad for Loki. It sounds so much like my K when her thyroid levels fall too low. She suddenly becomes a different, completely fearful, dog. It's really hard to see your dog like that.

    I'm glad that you got a new road bike! Very cool.

    I have a Swiss side to my family so I know what you mean when you say that they have "their own rules". Oh my, lots of rules!

    R and Juno must have been talking. We had to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice over the past week. R was determined to thwart our readiness. He repeatedly opened duffel bags and carried allthe contents to his bed. Then, he'd snuggle up with them. Dogs can be odd, can't they?

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