Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our Own Brand of Dog Whispering

Any of you who have watched Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, know that he practices Dog Psychology. In our life with Jolly, we have been forced to develop to Dog Reverse Psychology.

Jolly is scared of our stairs. They are unusually steep and pretty slippery for his little paws. The wreckless abandon with which he flings himself at them has led to some glorious wipeouts. Now, I wouldn't care if he never came upstairs again, but he whines at bed time when he is separated from the pack. Again, I wouldn't even let this bother me (I'm cold-hearted like that), but he stands in the hallway that connects to our neighbor's unit and the sound reverberates and is amplified by the space. In order to have our wonderful neighbor not hate us, we try to coax him up the stairs ever night. In a fit of extreme frustration the other night, I stopped trying to get him up the stairs and instead created the "get in the living room" command. In dog language, this must translate as "go climb up those stairs that you're more than happy to climb when you think we're leaving you alone in the house for the day" because he raced right upstairs.

I was able to use this command again last night to great effect. Now I just need to figure out the opposite of everything else I want him to do and he'll be a perfect dog!

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