From our canine correspondent

16 Oct

Hello! I’m Max.

I’ve been asked to add a post for this blog. I’m dictating this to my owner because my paws aren’t really built for typing. She asked me to contribute a post about one of my areas of expertise. Now I have a few, but I decided that rather than chasing sticks and tennis balls, and how to find the smelliest bit of seaweed to roll in, I would write about something that you humans like to do as well.

I am a master of napping.

I know that many PhD students like to think that they know how to nap, but you really need to come and talk to a dog like me to become an expert. So here’s my short guide to napping.

Beginner nappers should start right at the beginning. Nap in bed. Simple.

This is me in my bed, with my teddy. This is a perfect method for when you are just learning to nap. Once you’ve mastered this step, it’s time to look at the different nap genres available.

Number one: the guilt-inducing nap. When your owners have played for an hour or so they can get bored or tired. Weird I know. If no one is playing with you any more, then this is the nap to fall back on. Not only do you get to sleep, but you also get to guilt trip them into playing with you again.

Here I am with my ball. I’ve woken up here, but just enough to use my puppydog eyes to make it clear just how sad I am that no one is playing. Note also the strategic placing of the ball next to my nose for added sadness/cuteness.

Another sort of guilt-inducing nap involves the “no one will cuddle me because I smell like seaweed” conundrum. Sometimes you humans just don’t like the same sorts of smells that we dogs do. After we’ve been on the beach and I’ve gone out of my way to make a special effort to find the best seaweed patch (even better if there’s something dead there too) to roll in, they often avoid me for a few hours. Weird. At these times, going and getting a toy to cuddle covers both the “ahhh” factor, and the guilt inducing factor. This is a prime example:

To prove this step really is for beginners, here’s me, complete with toy, on the day that my owners brought me home.

Once you’ve mastered this step, it’s time to move up. Literally. The next genre of napping is the sofa nap. When you’re a puppy, your owners won’t let you on the sofas, but once you grow up enough not to wee on them, then they will let you up. I am not sure how long it takes to housetrain a human so make sure you check whether or not you are allowed on the furniture before trying this. The first step in this genre is the most basic. Find a sofa, jump up, curl up, sleep.

Humans never tell you just how comfy sofas are, so you have to discover it for yourself. Remember this genre, because we will come across it again shortly.

Now we move onto an advanced move. Any dog (or human) can sleep on their tummies, or on their sides. To get that ultimate level of comfort though, you have to turn over, wiggle your toes in the air, and nap on your back. This is easiest to do if you can find a comfy wall to lean on. You have several options here. I often find that the wall behind my bed is comfiest. When my owners take me away to Beadnell, my bed there is below a radiator, so when I roll over, my tummy gets nice and toasty.

This genre does have one side effect. Because this is so comfy, you often get what I like to call the upside down grin of happiness. When you turn a grin upside down it does look a bit threatening. I’ve included an example below. It’s really just an upside down grin though, promise!

Now are you ready, readers? This is where it gets complicated. So you’ve mastered the sofa nap. And you’ve mastered the upside down nap. Now we are going to combine these to create one of the ultimate naps a dog can have: THE UPSIDE DOWN SOFA NAP. Oh yes.

We are going to take this in a few stages, because it really isn’t for beginners. Do not try this at home. Actually, yes, DO try it at home.

Step one. Lie on the sofa on your front. Then, when no one is looking, casually roll over onto your back. Stretch out your toes, wiggle until you’re comfy, and dream away.

This is a fantastic start. For many expert nappers, this is as far as they get. However, there is more than you can do within this genre. As well as the sofa itself, you may well find a comfy chair in your owners’ living room. These take a bit of gymnastics to fit in, but once you’re there, BOY is it cosy.

The simplest pose is this one:

Note my grin of upside down happiness.

Once you’ve got this step down, then you can try some acrobatics. The only limit to this genre is your own flexibility. This one is really comfy, but don’t try this without proper warm up. You must also have absolutely NO shame. Show off your tummy!

We’re nearly at the end of the lesson now. There are just a couple of extra moves to teach you. Firstly the warm nap. Sometimes your fur just isn’t enough to keep you warm. On those days, you need something more. (Note: please get your owner to supervise you/help you with this move).

On a similar note, if your owners are soft enough, and you can look sweet enough while doing it, you can even nap on their beds. Start by lying on the bed and looking cute:

Then, when your owner is distracted, you can get your nap on.

And we’re at the end of the road: the novelty nap. Napping on the floor, on your bed, or on a chair are all fun, and really comfy. But sometimes, you feel like a bit of a change. On these occasions, I would recommend the novelty nap. To carry this out, all you need is a bit of imagination. Where is there in your owner’s house that isn’t at all suitable for napping? Then sleep there! Option one – the wardrobe:

I’m not small enough to fit completely underneath but I do find that my head fits. Just don’t wake up in a hurry ro you’ll give yourself a massive headache. Option two – on a chair that you don’t really fit on:Option three – a doorway:

They laughed when I said that I could sleep in two rooms at once. Impossible is nothing. Option four – in a box:This is really only an option for puppies. Note how here I am biting the box. This is important, since you must always check that a box (or toy, envelope, shoe, towel or anything accidentally dropped on the floor) isn’t alive. Option howevermanyI’muptoI’madogIcan’tcount – on your owner. If you’re a fully grown dog like I am, then you can probably only manage this:

This is really comfy, and makes your owner stay put and make a fuss of you for a while. However, if you’re still a puppy, you might be able to get away with this:

This really is a way to test the dedication of your owner to your comfort. If you can sleep curled up on their knee, with them holding you so you don’t slide off, then you’re onto a winner.

And that, my friends, is that. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little guide to napping. Remember: napping makes the world go round, so make sure you get practising.

Woof!

Time wasted writing this post: NONE. Napping is never a waste of time.

Owner’s time wasted writing this post: shamefully, over an hour, mostly spent trying to upload photos…

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