Leo’s Instruction Manual

The basics

  • Food: just under 1 cup in the a.m. and in the evening
  • Outdoor time / Walks 2-3 times / day
  • Smart, but not around cars & intersections
  • Food is your friend – he will do anything for a treat!


Leo’s favorite toy is any stick he finds, the bigger the better. If you play fetch, make sure to throw sticks far enough or in a different direction so he doesn’t catch up to it and get injured – he will try.  He will try to catch them in the air – he’s been poked a few times chasing sticks!

Leo would play sticks all day, but even a little game of toy throwing keeps his mind engaged. He is not as young as he used to be so, maybe give him some breaks.

Children sometimes get excited and hold sticks high above their head. Leo may jump to get the stick and inadvertently scratch the child (or adult). Instruct children to hold items low or be prepared to be jumped on. He may growl during play but it’s just for fun.

Other dogs

Leo is 95% friendly with other dogs, but sometimes the chemistry is not good. In these scenarios, Leo will tense up and hold his tail up instead of wagging or relaxed. He may lunge for another dog if he feels threatened, so put him on a leash.

Leo can be competitive with other dogs if they get too close to his stick, he may growl but it’s OK.

Leo is in tact, some dogs love that, others DO NOT 🙂

Food & Water

  • 80% of a cup in the morning and in the evening. We are casual with exact feeding times – he always seems hungry no matter when we feed him! Breakfast is usually between 7 and 9 am, dinner between 5 and 7 pm.
  • Food is a great way to control Leo if you want him to do something, for example go out for a walk in the rain. Treats can be really helpful in coercion. Treats help him motivate to come in doors if he is out as well. A whistle works great to get him to come – he always gets a treat with a whistle. Always give a treat or food with whistle
  • Treats are earned, like for doing tricks. Sometimes I break the cookies in half because he will do 20 tricks in a row for treats. If he lunges for the treat, hold in a closed fist until he settles down. Say “Gentle”
  • Water as needed. Keep some in the bowl at all times.

Food Begging

  • He eats from our plates and we give him people food (I know not good) so if he is annoying while you are eating, tell him to “Go lie down” and point to where you want him to stay.
  • Leo’s manners around your food can be pushy almost to the point of being rude. Do not feel compelled to give him anything, but we give him bites and scraps such as salmon skin, so he’s conditioned to think of human meals as opportunities. He’s also happy to help with the dishes.
  • If he is sitting too close for your comfort, point across the room and say “go lie down!”


When we are at home, he tends to get out several times a day. He tends to goes in discrete areas – bushes etc. not in the lawn or near the house. He is flexible. Our routine in the city is a 30-45 minute walk three times a day. Morning walk is between 7 and 9; noon walk between 11 and 3; evening walk between 4 and 7. He doesn’t need to go out again before bedtime.

He will go out as many times as you will take him if not raining, so the above is more of a guideline. He often goes through the evening until the morning without going out. He has made it from late afternoon (~4pm) to the morning with no problem before. Leo has gone as long as 8 hours without a potty break during the day (of course we try to avoid going for this long, but it has happened and no accidents).

He doesn’t like the rain and may refuse a walk. That’s OK. One time there was a big storm and he completely refused to go out for 24 hours. Sometimes it’s not worth the fight.

He can wait a couple hours after getting up in the morning before going out for potty. No need to rush out at 6 am just because he’s stirring.

If he needs to go out, he will go to the door and whine. More likely, that just means he wants to go outside to play.

Sleeping Leo sleeps wherever (usually in our bedroom, on our bed, or on the floor). If he hops on the bed or furniture and he is not welcome, just say “Off!” and point to the floor.

Useful Pet Tricks

  • Sit
  • Stay (he’s not a star at this)
  • Lie down
  • Leave it – useful with both animate and inanimate objects. For example, if he will not stop whining to get you to throw a stick, tell him “leave it!” in a stern voice
  • Up up – to get in a car, go up stairs, get on a couch
  • Let’s go / Come on
  • Wait – he should slow down or stop. for example, at a curb before it’s safe to cross.
  • Back up
  • “Dinner, dinner dinner!!!” – it’s time to eat
  • “Check your bowl!” – there’s something in the food bowl
  • Get in the back – in the car he likes to get in the front seat or straddle the front and the back.
  • Use food to entice him to do come or go where you need him

* Lie down and leave it are good to use if he is whining for you to throw a stick or toy, or otherwise being a pest. Telling him to lie down or leave it is a way to tell him to get over whatever it is he wants.

Silly Pet Tricks

  • Roll over – best to get him to lie down first
  • High five – best to get him to sit first
  • Other high five – switch the hand that is giving the high five
  • Play dead / Bang
  • Double high five / Do the wave
  • Speak
  • Spin
  • Do a trick – any trick gets a treat…
  • Do another trick – must do a different trick for credit!
  • Ouch paw / Hurt paw


  • Vet: Adam Parker, Porter Square Vet, http://www.portersqvet.com/ 617-628-5588 . 360 Summer Street, Somerville, MA 02144. Office Hours: Monday through Thursday: 8:00a-6:30p; Friday: 8:00a-5:30p; Saturday: 9:00a-2:30p
  • 24h Emergency care: Angell Animal Medical Center. 350 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02130 (617) 522-7282
  • Heartworm pill and tick medication are both taken at the beginning of the month
  • He has also been to Sequist in the Stowe area off Vermont for care:  https://sequistah.com/