I’m sleeping in the spare room

Dog Training and Boarding Sydney

I’m sleeping in the spare room

Dog Training and Boarding in Sydney

I’m sleeping in the spare room. It’s not what you think. Sometimes we have dogs staying overnight and they don’t settle. Or they usually sleep in their owner’s bed. Or they’re not cat-friendly and our cat Cameo sleeps with us.

So to accommodate these dogs Heather and I take it in turns to sleep in the spare room. Apparently, it’s her turn in 2020.

We are often asked if the dogs that come to stay argue or cause problems. Really they are like the grandchildren, once mum and dad aren’t around, it’s grannie’s rules and extra treats.


Staying with us is not like being at home. Our home is like Grand Central Station. The dog walking team arrive just at 9 am and it’s one huge celebration, barking, jumping, hugs, and lots of pats.

When the house empties out I pull out the box of toys, empty out the balls, ropes, chew cardboard rolls and settle down at the computer to take care of business.

Over the course of the day, the house-dogs are picked up and taken for a walk. No biggie, everyone knows the drill and it’s all excited leaping, grabbing of leads and out the door.

The park is one big catch-up. Rushing around greeting doggy friends, playing chase, hide-and-seek, digging in the sand, jumping in the water bucket, it’s a giant party. After an hour of fun its back to ‘Grannie’s’.

Videos on Facebook, pics to owners, and it’s all quiet as everyone sprawls on the floor or a bed. It’s crash and nap time! Yea!

Between 3 pm and 4.30pm, the team are back, dropping keys, talking about the day and being drowned out by happy barking, demands for attention, leaping and jumping. It’s frantic, noisy and an end to the peace.

Dinner is served at 5 pm. Bowls are lined up on the bench. Dogs lined up on the floor. All eyes are on the walk to the fridge, back to the bench, on the spoon, and dishing out the meat. The intense silence ends with bouncing and dancing, everyone wants to be first.

We’re like those waitresses in a fast food restaurant. Arms laden with dishes, calling out names, sliding bowls across the floor, each one a safe distance from the other.

And out comes the Secret Weapon!

Dogs that have stayed before know about the ‘shake and squirt’ bottle. They don’t need to be squirted, just the sound of the water being shaken is enough. They stick to their own bowl.

The ‘Squirt Bottle’ is the greatest tool in our bag of tricks. Anyone who picks it up has control. It doesn’t hurt the dog, it doesn’t harm them or terrify them. It’s just a reminder ‘grannie’ has rules and she likes them kept.

We use the ‘bottle’ when managing food as there are fast eaters and slow eaters, and the most dangerous the resource guarders.

Most dogs fights are over resource guarding, food, balls, toys, the owner. Safety in our home is important so the ‘spray bottle’ sits on the kitchen bench and if the tension goes up we reach for the ‘bottle’ and everyone knows…

At 9 pm it’s time for bed. I usually read while everyone gets settled. There’s much turning of circles, scratching, getting comfortable. Someone likes to sleep on the spare pillow, someone in the crook of my bent knees, someone sprawled across the end of the bed like a spare blanket.

It’s not always a peaceful nights sleep. I’m not disturbed by snoring, but if I’ve forgotten to take off a noisy collar I may grope in the dark to stop the jangling.

Dog owners and mothers have the ability to become fully aroused and alert, from the deepest sleep, at the first sound of stomach retching.

I’m up, wide awake, scooping the offending dog off the bed and out through the bedroom door. As I’m racing down the dark hallway toward the yard, I can hear the sound of contented snoring, like a mocking chuckle, from our bedroom…