I am a fan of Dog Whisperer. Caesar has such command with those unruly dogs. I was seriously impressed. He discussed how important it is to train the family dog. The people are the alphas in the house. I sipped my coffee and agreed. I looked at Miss Mattie and Mr. Murphy, my cockapoos, and in my most authoritative voice said, “Do you hear that? I am in charge.” Murphy ran off and came back with a pen in his mouth. That’s when it dawned on me. Murphy is in charge.
I have been well trained by Murphy. It must have happened very slowly, because I didn’t really notice that I was being trained. This is not to say that I am a slow learner. Murphy seems quite happy with my performance. All he has to do is scour the house and find a pen. He then brings it to my feet and crunches it loudly to get my attention. When I attempt to take it away, the fun begins. He snarls, shakes his head, and his jaws of steel do not open to release. After a few minutes of this, I run to the cabinet where I keep the dog treats and he follows. “Drop the pen and get a treat,” I say. Mattie also comes along barking with glee.
It’s as if she’s cheering him on. “You got her again, Murphy! Good job!”
The pen remains in his teeth until he can actually feel the treat on the tip of his nose. At that point, he spits the pen out at my feet. He literally spits it out like a kid who just got medicine. “Pattooey!”
I thought I had developed a genius way to get the pen away until I realized that we have only two pens left in the house. We are also very low on dog treats.
Last week, I decided this was ridiculous. The Dog Whisperer would be horrified. I need to flip flop this training. Murphy grabbed a pen and naturally, he came right to my feet, chomping noisily. I ignored him. He stood on his hind legs so I could see him better. Again, I pretended I didn’t see or hear him. He started doing pirouettes to get my attention. Out of frustration, I grabbed for the pen only to see him take off into the other room with it still in his mouth. At that point, Mattie was running to the treat cabinet. I am an equal opportunity dog-treater and she knows it. Still, I held firm.
Murphy came back and spit the pen at my feet. Before I could pick it up, he had it in his clenched teeth and he galloped into the other room. This went on for twenty minutes.
The phone rang and I needed to write down a number to call back. “Hold on, I have to get a dog treat,” I told the caller.
I repeated, “I have to get a dog treat.”
“Can you just take my number first?” the caller asked.
I was too embarrassed to tell him that I was trying to do just that. “Murphy, bring that pen over here! I’ll give you a treat.” He came closer, waiting to feel the beefy treat on his nose.
He spit the pen out. “Pattooey!” Both dogs ran off happily with bones while I wrote the number down with yet another severely deformed, slobbery pen.
I think I’m too far gone for even the dog whisperer’s help now.
P.S. Mr Murphy passed away in his sleep a few months ago. I have dry pens now and extra dog treats. So sad!