Does Your Dog Crave New Things?

There’s nothing like living on a tiny boat to help you learn new things about yourself and the ones you live with.

Latest thing I’ve learned?

Just how much my dog and I crave new things.

Honey the golden retriever smells something new.

I smell something new and interesting out there.

Creatures Of Habit

Dogs are creatures of habit, right?

We walk them at the same time every day. On the same route (after all, they have to check their p-mail).

We play with their favorite toys.

We feed them at the same time (well, in truth, most dogs insist on that one).

But are our dogs really the creatures of habit? Or is it us? What would they choose if they were in charge of running their days?

And why am I asking this now?

View of masts in orange sky.

The views are amazing. But I’d still like to see different ones.

Something New

After struggling with boat problems all winter and then traveling through ice and snow in the Intracoastal Waterway, we finally hit warm weather.

And we stopped.

We spent a month in Charleston, South Carolina. And now we’re in our second month at Beaufort.

We’re replenishing our cruising kitty by picking up some work. Mike is building our boat’s new composting head (toilet). And Honey plays every day with her new friends.

Honey the golden retriever and Mike show off the new composting head.

Don’t know why they’re so excited about this head. I liked the smell of the old one.

But I’m starting to go nuts being in the same place for so long. And Honey is also showing signs that she is craving new things.

I Don’t Want To Play With You

Honey has a few buddies here at the marina.

There’s Ace, the pocket pit bull. They don’t play with each other. But Ace is an exuberant fella who barks his joy.

Honey always responds by barking back.

Ace the pittbull waits for his person.

Sometimes Ace barks because he’s glad he’s alive. And sometimes he barks because he sees his person coming to pick him up in the dinghy.

Nipsy Russell is the wire-haired Jack Russell Terrier who will jump off the boat and come running if he sees Honey playing on the marina’s lawn.

And then there’s Sienna—Honey’s favorite playmate.

Honey has thirty pounds on Sienna and about five years. But they’re well matched.

They play tug with sticks, chase each other around the grounds, and wrestle.

When Honey sees Sienna, she gets excited. Usually. Not the other day.

I was bringing Honey back to the boat after her walk when we met Sienna and his person going for their walk.

Sienna started dancing around and pulling to get close to Honey and I cringed at the thought of keeping order on the dock while they two tried to play with each other.

But Honey just gave a quick sniff and she was ready to walk on.

You see, she had already played with Sienna earlier that day and didn’t feel the need to do it again.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Honey wakes up at different times each day. She gets bored if we bring the same toy out every time.

Honey used to like carrots, bananas, and apples. Now she prefers orange slices and watermelon.

And if I let her choose our walking path, we end up somewhere different every time.

When Honey lived in a house she was more regular in her habits. But maybe it was just because we were more regular in our habits.

Or am I just seeing things in Honey what I’m experiencing in myself?

I find myself looking longingly at other boats that come into the marina and leave the next day, headed north.

A sailboat goes through Ladies Island Bridge.

Someday, hopefully soon, that will be us headed north up the ICW.

I miss comparing travel notes with other cruisers (here we mostly talk to liveaboards and people staying long-term).

I’ve started looking at our anchoring guides for new places to see.

If you had asked me a few years ago if I craved novelty, I would have said no.

But I probably wasn’t paying attention.

Living in a house that moves and not moving reminds me how I used to gag on leftovers if I tried to eat them more than two days in a row. I harbor a deep hatred for pop music that is hotter than a thousand burning suns.

And now that I think of it, I did manage to find every possible route to work on my daily bike commute.

So maybe I’ve always craved new things and just didn’t notice.

Now I’m wondering if Honey is more than just a love bug who shows affection for everyone she meets.

Maybe my dog is just craving new things. And people.

I’d better watch out. I can’t afford to bore my dog and have her jump ship for someone new.

Honey the golden retriever stands in the cockpit for a better view.

Oooh, now THAT looks really interesting.

Your Turn: What’s more important to you and your dog? Routine or change?





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  1. I’m that sort of person who hates routine but also worries about something new.

  2. I think Bella might have had her fill of the “unexpected” when she was a street dog because, as I think about this, she really does seem to like at least some routine. She likes to go for her walks to different places but she does her business in the same spot for several weeks, she gets whiny if we don’t take her downstairs at night to watch TV and she likes her homemade chicken jerky so much we’ve started using the “Chicken!” as our most reliable recall command.

    Or maybe it’s just true that pets and owners become more like each other over time and she’s just turning into me – the homebody. 🙂

  3. We have to have both I would say. That’s the best part of taking your house with you. You have the routine and comforts of home, and the excitement of new places. And ya, I can get stir crazy if we haven’t moved on for a while. Unless I’m someplace diverse, and that I really love.

  4. You know what they say…’variety is the spice of life.’ I think it helps with dealing with the mundane minutiae of life and rightly so. ღ

  5. We are all about routine, but our routine involves change. Our walks may be at the same time, but they are different routes every day. Our rule is never more than once a week for each route. We eat at the same time, but have a rotation diet, we do the same dog sports but search in different places 2-3 times a week. Variety is the spice of life.

  6. From the Husband:
    Please don’t start craving new husbands.

    • LOL. When we decided to buy a new home, I said to my hubby: I’ve been working the same job for over 20 years, living in the same home for almost 23, and married to the same man for over 25. Something had to change. Luckily for him I chose the new home (it seemed easiest).

  7. That’s so awesome that Honey gets to experience different things and that she enjoys it so much! I try to take my dogs to new places and do different things a few times a month. With dogs who are nervous or fearful it’s best to have a routine so that they are able to predict what happens next. So we go to new places but not as frequently as I would like and they do enjoy it when we go.

  8. Great post, I’m so with you. I get restless after 2 weeks I wonder if the dogs pick up on our senses? All I know is that the dogs get tired of the same walk after a couple of weeks also. So I guess we are all seekers, seeking new!

  9. We’re not big on routine at all. The dogs get fed at different times (sometimes it may be 6:30am, sometimes 2pm), play at different times, get walked at different times, and Nola goes to a variety of places. We’re too easily bored!

  10. I like routine, to some degree – it helps me get through my mornings – but I need change now and then too. And I definitely need different things to eat from one day to the next. I hate leftovers – my brother and I used to accuse Mom of buying leftovers – and I just refuse to eat them.

  11. I certainly crave change. I think Gretel does too. Now that Chester is an old doggie, he likes routine a lot. He still likes to travel but at home he expects same-ness 🙂

  12. Hang in there girlfriend, you’ll be setting sail soon.

  13. For the most part we like our routines, but we do like change sometimes. That was part of my motivation to move to a new home. Luke craves new toys….every single day!

  14. Interesting post. I found out recently that an old friend is living on a boat and I’ve been wondering what that would be like. Thanks for the insight into the lifestyle and how pets may react to it.