Do You Know What Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You?

We all know that dogs cannot speak or even think like a human but they are very capable of getting through to you what they wish you to know.

Everyone knows what your dog means when you are enjoying a meal and he sits there staring at you with a sad, neglected look, drooling all over the carpet… “Please, I haven’t eaten anything for a week at least.” We avoid this by feeding our dog first and then refusing his pleas. He will try this sometimes with strangers but I just have to say “No begging.” He will then take a big gulp, hang his head in shame and wander off somewhere to lie down.

We have a Rottweiler called Killer. The reason for this name is that we live in a house in Indonesia that is somewhat remote and the neighbours, knowing the dog’s name, are somewhat loathe to bother us.

Killer is coming up to about two years now. He of course has learned the usual doggy instruction names like no, sit, stay, speak, out, fetch, down, roll over, heel etc, as well as the ones he likes like walk, food, chicken (his favourite), kitty, play, ball, bone, stick. He also knows all the names of the family members and a few friends. Apart from names, he has learned that when we get dressed, we are going out so he waits in anticipation to see whether he is coming with us or he hears the dreaded word “stay.” He is also rather good at understanding things. He somehow manages to put two unrelated words together. For instance, he knows the name of my wife, “Yuyun” and also the word “walk.” When he asks me to take him out for a walk and I am busy, I can say “Yuyun walk.” He will then leave me and go and look for her and lead her to the door.

It is a struggle training him as Yuyun still thinks that he is that little bundle of fur she arrived home with a couple of years ago and she continues to spoil him to death. I try to explain to her that dogs are pack animals and need to have a leader and that, if he keeps getting his own way, he will think that HE is the leader but all this falls on deaf ears.

5 am every morning on the nose, Killer give ME the nose, instructing me to stagger out of bed and let him out. I must explain that here in Indonesia which is a Moslem country the people here are generally scared of any dog and totally petrified of a large one like ours. Thus I am unable to just open the door and let him run around but rather have to accompany him. So, I get taken for an early morning walk while my beloved wife whose “baby” this is, continues sleeping.

After sniffing around the neighbourhood for twenty minutes, marking his territory, I am allowed to return home but not to sleep. Oh no. It is now play time! There are various games that Killer enjoys. One is having me chase him around the house. When he wants to do this, he picks up some object say a bone or a rag and approaches me growling, defying me to take it away from him. When I make a move, he will back up waiting for me to make a grab for the object at which time he will take off running, glancing over his shoulder to make sure that I am following. We play this game until I am out of breath which, at 5.30 am, does not take too long.

Another game that he likes is for me to shut him in the bedroom while I take his ball and hide it somewhere in the house. Doesn’t matter where it is, he will eventually come up with it. He starts off by looking in all the obvious places and only when that doesn’t work he sticks his nose in the air and commences a serious search. In order to inform me that this is the game that he has selected, he will go to one of the difficult places that has been selected in the past, like a closed drawer, sniff at it, bark and then stare at me longingly. He will keep on repeating these actions until I give in and produce the ball.

Sometimes we take him out to the park which is just a few metres from the house. He likes for Yuyun to run to the other side of the field while I instruct him to sit and stay. He keeps his beady eye on the wife until she is almost out of site at which time I say “Get Yuyun!” Off he goes at full speed, completely freaking out any people who happen to be playing or walking in the park and who think that Killer is about to attack her and maul her to death.

Whenever Killer wants to go out he will bark and then run back and forth between the door and me. If it is an emergency he will whine. If he is hungry he will run over to his bowel, stare at it, then run over to the food bag and stare at that and then stare at me. If I ignore him he will bark to get my attention and go through the process again. The other day, Yuyun picked up one of his bones and placed it on top of the wall outside the house. A few hours later Killer trotted outside for something, looked up and spotted the bone. He came back into the house looking for me and instructed me to follow him by barking and backing up to the door. Once outside, he looked up at the bone and then at me. I didn’t even know that it was there so it took a few seconds to sink in what he was trying to tell me.

We live in a rather large house with about twelve rooms. Often I had to ask my wife something and not wanting to shout, ended up searching all the rooms inevitably finding her in the last one. Now I just call the dog and say “Find Yuyun.” After he takes off, I just wait for his bark and then know where the wife is. Dogs do have their uses.

If, when walking up to Killer, he rolls over onto his back, he is telling me to scratch his belly. Doesn’t matter what else is going on in the house, belly scratching supersedes all and killer remains in a euphoric state until I stop.

If I say something to him that he does not understand, he will cock his head to one side telling me. “I haven’t a clue what you are talking about.” Or, if it is something that he thinks sounds too good to be true, he will wait for confirmation before getting too excited.

Whenever I hug and kiss my wife, Killer will stare at us jealously. I know exactly what he is thinking. “Hey, that’s my mother you are messing with.”

So there you are. I am sure that we understand most of what our dog is trying to tell us and, with a little patience, you can get to understand yours also.

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The Benefits of Scentsy Scented Candles

People have been continuously searching for scented candles that are not only safe for their health and the environment but also those that have many different scents. These are the reasons why people opt for Scentsy candles; they are safe to use and have various scents that people love. The following are benefits of using this kind of candle:

1. Aesthetic Element

One of the benefits of using scented candles is the decorative detail it can give to any space. It can be an interesting addition to a table or mantle which would definitely add sophistication and style. You can either use a simple candle and put it inside a decorative lantern or add some embellishments for added design. Your imagination is only the limit when it comes to using scented candles for decorations.

2. Heavenly Scent

However, people are crazy about candles primarily because of the wonderful smell it can give especially if lighted. It can mask any unpleasant odor in any space especially if they are placed in a good spot. You can put them in any area; it could be in the living room, kitchen, bedroom and even your bathroom. So the next time your kitchen smells like onion, light a scented candle.

3. Aromatherapy Effect

Another benefit it can give is its aromatherapy effect. There’s no need to go to a wellness or aromatherapy center to get a feeling of serenity, or to eliminate stress after a busy day at work or at home. You can actually achieve this at the comfort of your home or in your office. If you feel worn out at the end of the day, just light a scented candle and inhale its soothing and invigorating scent. In fact you can choose from many different variants to suit your personal preference.

4. Safety

However, lighting scented candles can sometimes pose as a threat to our health. This is because some candles, especially petroleum-based, release harmful chemicals into the air not to mention the soot produced from the burning of the wick. There’s nothing to worry as there is a way to get around this issue. The benefits of scented candles can be fully enjoyed because now more and more candles are made of natural components which are a much safer alternative.

Another is the use of wax bars which exudes fragrance by slowly warming it instead of burning. This type of candle doesn’t have wick thereby eliminating harmful soot. Since it is flameless, there is no need to be concerned that it might tumble and cause fire. This is certainly the best option especially if you have kids at home.

So the next time you buy scented candles, consider first the above-mentioned benefits. Scentsy candles maybe flameless but it still offers all the benefits a good candle must possess and that is why people love it.

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Do It Yourself – 4 Steps to Copycat Restaurant Recipes

I have a friend that plays guitar. He can hear a song and figure out how to play it. This has always impressed me. I watch him intently listening to the song, nodding his head, humming a bit, and then his fingers go to work. The left hand forms chords, the right strums or picks at the strings. “Oh, it’s A, then C, then D,” he mumbles.

Because my friend knows HOW to play guitar, because he knows the basic chords he can recreate any song he hears. Why doesn’t he just buy the sheet music.

Have you ever gone to a restaurant, had a fantastic new dish, and wanted to re-create it at home? It’s so good, you think you could eat it every night, but just being able to have it again without making reservations and paying the bill would be enough.

I do this all the time. I get most of my best dinner ideas from restaurant menus. I can save myself a long waiting time for a table, and a lot of money by cooking the same thing at home. I just need some basic cooking methods and a keen eye.

Here’s how I go about recreating restaurant meals in my home:

First, read the menu description. It will tell you the major ingredients. “Chicken and shallots in a white wine sauce” gives you three good clues as to what is in the dish. I’d start with chicken, shallots and some white wine. Often, there are culinary terms used like “en croute”, or “provencale” that give clues as well.

Next, examine the dish for a hint as to the method they used to cook it. If the chicken breast has grill marks on it, then it’s obvious that it was grilled. If the chicken is totally white and very moist, it may have been steamed or poached.

If it has a brown, crunchy skin, it was cooked with direct source heat, like sauté or broiling. The attractive caramelization of sugars on the chicken also shows that some fat was added, like being brushed with butter or cooked in oil.

Third, examine the sauce. Is it a thickened sauce or a jus? It’s pretty easy to tell when a sauce was made with milk or cream rather than broth or stock, it’s white. So, did they use milk and a thickener to create their sauce?

Lastly, taste for seasonings. This can be the most difficult part and takes a trained palate. Try to identify the dominant seasonings in the dish. Do you taste salt and pepper? Is it Italian inspired with basil and oregano? Or maybe it has an Asian feel with ginger and soy sauce. You might also get others opinions as to what they taste. This way, you start to imagine the flavor profile that went into seasoning the dish. Don’t over think it. It’s usually simpler than you taste.

So, if I dissect my favorite dish at my favorite restaurant, “Chicken and Shallots in a White Wine Sauce”, and I see that it’s a boneless chicken breast with a brown, crunchy skin and a white sauce that tastes like shallots and butter, with a hint of thyme and sage, I can start re-building the recipe.

It appears to me that the chicken breast was sautéed in oil with a hot pan, then was removed to finish in the oven. Shallots were added to the pan until they were soft, and white wine was used to deglaze the pan. After the wine has mostly evaporated, butter and cream make up the sauce that’s seasoned with thyme and sage.

How do I know this? It’s because a basic sauté method is the same, regardless of the ingredients used. Once I can identify HOW the item was cooked, the combination of ingredients are easier to estimate.

Just like my friend who enjoys recreating songs with his guitar, it’s a lot of fun for me to figure out restaurant recipes. It’s a challenge that helps build and strengthen my cooking skills, but it does take up a lot of time and wasted food through bad experiments.

Whether you want to unravel the mystery and recreate restaurant recipes yourself, of just buy a book to give you all the answers, great restaurant meals are a perfect starting point to getting great dinner ideas every night of the week. If you’re able to copy what the restaurants do, your kitchen will never be closed at dinner time.

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