Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reading the wrong manual

It's been almost three months since our beloved dog Bob died. We've missed him. A few weeks ago, we had the chance to dog sit for my sister's dog Nigel, who is similar in size, fuzziness and temperment to our Bob.

The kids loved having him here.

Clearly. And so did I. I didn't realize how much I missed having a four-legged vacuum, foot warmer and fan club. Our floors were much cleaner, my feet were warmer and I had another warm body to snuggle.

I began to realize just how much dogs resemble toddlers, though. For instance, neither mind eating off the floor. In fact, they both come running when I get out the broom. They regard it as some magic food-finding instrument.

They're both always under your feet.

They both beg for attention.

They both fight any and all grooming measures.

They both want whatever is in your hand, even if they have no idea what it is.

They like to wipe their faces on you.

And the messes. Sometimes they poop on the floor. Sometimes they have a party. When our Bob was still young and puppyish, we would return home to find slippers and newspapers and trash strewn about.

These days, we find similar scenes after the wrecking crew has blown through the room.

Short commands work best. Long lectures don't. All they really hear and understand are their names and the words "No" and "Outside" and "Walk."

They'll run if you chase them, but chase you if you run. Important to know if you ever need them to come.

Sometimes they nip at you. (Oh yes, I've had a kid or two bite me.)

Sometimes they jump up on you or try to knock you over. (My 18 month old actually tackles my legs from behind and I have almost fallen over. I'm not even kidding.)

If you ever can't find them, simply open a crinkly bag of snacks. In 30 seconds or less, they will appear. 

When you turn your back, they steal food off of countertops.

They often try to escape cage-like enclosures such as pens, fenced yards or cribs.

Clearly, I should have been reading dog training manuals or at least taking my cues from dog behavior all these years. Anyone have a dog training manual they'd recommend?

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