Writers are simple creatures with simple needs. A firm hand and a consistent approach will solve most problems. The following steps are a failsafe guide. Bear in mind that patience may be required with the more strong-willed writer.
1. Seating: Establish your place on the chair before your writer sits down to work. She should be restricted to the front edge. Ignore any whining about ergonomics. If she sits down first, jump up behind and push until she makes room for you. Do not give ground. Note: larger breeds should adopt a work position close to, or underneath, the writer’s desk. Cushions and a heater / fan are essential. Shiver / pant as appropriate if these are slow to arrive.
2. Breaks: Train your writer to take frequent breaks. Jump on and off the chair. Roll a ball across the floor or drop it beside her foot. Repeat until your writer responds correctly. Whining can be effective. However, if a deadline is looming your writer will become blind and deaf to all the usual cues. See Deadlines, below. Breaks must be long enough to accommodate ball play, a drink and a snack. Hint: positive reinforcement is the best form of training. Allow your writer a drink and a snack too if she has performed well. Ball play is good for her (see ergonomics, above.)
3. Interruptions: A ringing doorbell or phone is the cue for another break. Jump off the chair, barking loudly, and rush to the door/phone. Intimidate the visitor, who must learn not to disturb the creative flow. As soon as the writer shuts the door/hangs up the phone, it is time for a drink, snack and more ball play. Train her not to return to the desk until she has attended to this.
4. Walks: Your writer must be taught that these take absolute precedence. When you feel it is time, leap on her knee, lick her face and generally get in the way of whatever else she is doing. Use your imagination here. Paws on the keyboard can be compelling. Your writer must not be allowed to settle to work before the first walk of the day has taken place.
5. Treats: Every writer enjoys treats. Train her to share these with you. You should get at least half. If there are two dogs in the household, everyone gets one third, regardless of size. Human treats do not count towards your daily quota of so-called ‘doggy treats.’ Your writer should be encouraged to believe that chocolate is good for dogs.
*Gretel is wrong. Chocolate is actually harmful to dogs’ health.
6. Deadlines: These are every dog’s nightmare. Discipline goes out the window and writers work from dawn till dusk, forgetting entirely who is boss. Walks are late, short or non-existent. Treats and breaks are inferior and irregular. Your writer may indulge in bouts of whimpering. Be patient. When she meets the deadline there will be superior snacks, walks and attention. Help her through the rough patch with cuddles and stoicism. Remember that without you she could not get her job done.
This post courtesy of Gretel (pictured taking a break)