Darn that Cesar Millan guy, that "Dog Whisperer". I try being a good Mom to these dogs. All the other dogs I've ever had appreciated that fact. ONE of the dogs we have now does, too, but ONE of them is a smart-aleck Brat, who trots to the beat of another drummer. When he was a puppy we sent this brat to obedience school. The only reason they let him "graduate" was because we had paid the $80. They weren't fooling anybody; we all know why they "passed" him. "No chow left behind" and apparently no Bichon Frise, either. He won't mind; he never does, but Cappy loves that SparkyBear is a free-thinker and has a free-spirit. He loves that The Brat, as EVERYbody calls him, is a brat. He is smart, I'll give him that. The other day his brother, MarkyBear, the obedient "child" was on his usual quest of tracking down squirrels. Since his successful surgery, he's recovered and has taken to running everywhere he goes, which makes his zeal for squirrel hunting a whole lot more fun. I forget why, but I wanted to get him to come to the house, so I tried whistling the way Cappy does. I'm not good at whistling. SparkyBear was already inside, sitting there watching me whistle. I talk to them all they time and they know a lot of words. "Whistle" is one of them. I told Sparky, "See, I'm trying to whistle". I should have just given up and gone out and hollared for Mark, but I kept trying every way that I knew, to pucker and make a loud shrill sound, with the brat probably thinking, "boy, you don't know anything". Leastwise that seemed to be the look on his face. I heard one of those Mocking Birds, that love to sit anywhere in the yard slightly above MarkyBear and taunt him. So, besides squirrels, Mark will bark and "chase" the birds to safer heights. So, I managed to make loud chirping noises and away came MarkyBear, running toward the house to answer my poor imitation of a Mocking Bird. I looked down at SparkyBear and said, "See, I did a bird whistle". He got it...he knows both those words...his ears went up, he jumped up and started doing his biggest dog "laugh". He thought it was funny. (Come on, you've heard how dogs laugh, right?) Well, that story might have been lost on you, but anyway, I've tried everything that I know of, to make him understand how to be well-behaved. It's never gone well. That's why, amongst other things, I resorted to watching "The Dog Whisperer". I needed to learn a few new tricks. I tried a lot of stuff on the Brat and none of them worked. When he's really mad, for instance,....trying to think about why he's been mad in the past. When he does get mad, tho', he's got a bad temper. Not often, but it happens. So, once when he was really upset about something and growling; showing me who was boss when his Dad is away, out on the boat. I said, "Oh no you aren't! Here ya go, Mister", I grabbed him, laid him down on his back and held him there, waiting for him to finally give up that deep breath of resignation, as I'd seen Cesar do dozens of times. I knew he had to wait for quite awhile sometimes before those dogs would 'give up'. I waited and waited. My arms were getting tired. He just laid there rigid, glaring up at me and sometimes growling. I tried talking to him soothingly. I said, "I'm getting tired, here, you've gotta give up; I'm the boss, not you....honey". "Grrrrrr". "Okayyyyy, just relax and Mommy will let you up." "Grrrrr". So I wait. And wait. And wait some more and wait lots more...twenty minutes, by the clock. He started to doze, but he'd wake up and growl some more. Finally, after half an hour, I gave up. The brat had won and he knew it. He still thinks he's the boss of me, I guess.
Another thing I learned on "Dog Whisperer" that does...kinda/sorta does work. It works for SparkyBear and MarkyBear, but it's mostly the Brat who pulls this. I learned that if a dog gets ahold of something very important that you don't want him to have, you can bargain with him. "Trade" it for something he likes, like a treat. When he drops your valuable item, give him his 'treat'. It works! Of course, the Brat won't drop what he has until I drop what I have for him. He insists, "You first".
Ok, so now he's got another number up his sleeve. He peruses the house looking for things I've left laying around, or which he can jump up and reach. Anything like that, he considers fair game. He gets this mischievious look on his furry face, and stands ready to run away with it, if I start after him for it. If I yell, "HEY! You're not supposed to have that!!!", he either runs under the bed with it, where I can't get him or out the back door with it. He usually pulls this when I'm otherwise occupied, like writing or cooking, etc. Sighhh...it's just easier and quicker to give in. Once I left my art box open and he thought he'd hit the mother lode. I was in the kitchen, hands all goopy, when he trotted out one of my special gold paint markers. (YOW!) "Ok...ok..."as sweetly as I could, so he wouldn't know the value of what he had, I asked, "You wanna trade for a treat??" He took a couple cautious steps forward, kinda biting it. (I envisioned gold paint gushing everywhere, even into his mouth, and I don't know if it's toxic...not more vet bills!) I rushed and grabbed dog treats, "Here...HERE ya go!!" all as merrily as I could fake it. And it worked again. MarkyBear, the good boy, always lumbers by at that point and asks where his treat is. So he gets a treat, too. I resumed whatever it was I was deeply engrossed in before, when a few minutes later SparkyBear appeared with that devilish attitude and a red plastic puff paint bottle in his mouth. "What??? Where are you getting these things?!" Then, too late, I remembered I had left the darned art box on the futon, opened. While he and Mark were snarking down their second treat, I put the box high up in the cupboard over the computer desk.
I have to keep the bathroom waste basket up on the back of the toilet because if it's left on the floor, as in normal homes, he'll ferret through that, shredding empty cardboard toilet paper rolls or tissues...whatever. Always wanting to 'trade', of course. He used to bring me whole pieces of paper or cards that he'd found. Now, I have to be extra careful, because of late, he'll come into the computer room, for example, looking like a bunny with big white buck teeth, which is, in reality, a shred of white paper hanging out of his mouth, ready-to-run bratty attitude, 'asking', "What can I get for this?" I always think, "I know what I'd like to give you for that", but being a NICE dog Mom, and knowing better, I just sigh, and ask him if he wants to 'trade', which is the whole deal anyhow. Somehow he's figured that by shredding the whole card or paper, he's got more currency to 'deal' or bargain with. Horrible dog. HORRIBLE dog, I tell him. Whenever I see or, now I listen to hear if he's shredding anything, I run to make a quick trade, because it might be something important that I've foolishly left down. ONE treat for that. I've learned to always honor their deals, tho', thinking that it's the right thing to do. How do I stop now and go back to finding pencils or pens shredded, or a credit card snatched while I'm cleaning out my purse? (which Cappy sez never happens...cleaning out my purse :-P) Or who knows what kind of calamity would happen? So whenever he comes in with something and that look that says, "What can I get for this", it's a quick treat, period, so I can have some kind of quick resolution and it makes the dogs happy; whatever. Well, now I know I'm in trouble; I'm in over my head. Yesterday The Brat came in the house with a blade of grass hanging out of his mouth. Now the whole world is his oyster. "Trumped" by a dawg.