Several people asked how I persuade my dogs to wear booties. To be more accurate that would be “dog” in the singular as only one of the Munchkins wears booties. Dasa appears to have a strongly held belief that life, the universe, our very existence will not go on if she must wear booties. However, she scampers quickly out the back door, potties in her cleared spot just off the patio and is back inside at record speed, so I decided this was the course of least resistance.
Conversely, Ivan’s expeditions into the cold are much more time consuming. He has to survey his yard, check his favorite back corner, etc. One very cold winter morning when Ivan was in the back yard, he began lifting one front foot and then another and then lay down in the snow. I ran out in my jammies to rescue my baby, and the ungrateful little brat wouldn't let me pick him up. However, my presence and urging him to run, run to the house got him moving. After that, I decided he needed to wear booties in very cold weather.
During the initial bootie application there was much muttering under his breath about how unreasonable his mom was and how this sort of treatment could not be condoned. Fortunately, Ivan is pretty smart and after the first time he went out with booties and returned with warm dry feet, he made the connection. There's a protocol I have to follow to wriggle his elegant white feet into booties. As with so many things in life, the sequence of events is crucial for success.
This winter we’ve had ample occasion to practice this maneuver. I first don my boots, coat, hat, scarf and have my gloves at the ready. Next I persuade my sweet boy that it’s time to add a coat over his sweater if the temperature is especially brutal. At the very last minute before we spring out the door, we add the booties.
I kneel beside Ivan, and apply the back booties first. Each bootie is slipped onto an elegant white foot, the application of such eased by a continual stream of praise. I tell him what an astonishingly good boy he is, that such gorgeous white feet should not be allowed to get cold and wet. I check to make sure each foot is fully enveloped and then fasten the Velcro strap around his foot to secure the bootie. After we finish the back feet, we repeat the process with the front feet. Ivan is surprisingly tolerant and often lifts his foot for the bootie. Once all four feet are encased in warm booties, Ivan trots out the door and down the street or across the yard, galloping happily.
When we are back inside, I reverse the process, removing first the front booties and then the back. I am thankful my baby is not a centipede. With each bootie removal I hold his little white foot and remind him how dry and warm his foot is. As soon as all the extra winter trappings are removed, he makes a few laps through the house and then settles into a cuddle bed, waiting expectantly for me to cover him with a blanket. I do, of course, well-trained basenji mom that I am, and I sigh, grateful for a few hours of reprieve before we perform this sequence of steps again.