I don’t’ claim to be a Dog Whisperer, but I do have a talent with dogs. They seem to like me.
I’m not their Pack Leader. I’m their play-mate.
I don’t give them “Exercise, discipline and affection”.
I give them affection. Play-time. And more affection.
I don’t keep them in a calm, submissive state.
I bring them to a hyper, excited state. (Much to the consternation of their owners.)
I am…the DOG INSTIGATOR.
Here are some selected mutts I’ve ruined for life:
When I was 10, Mrs. C lived across the street from us. She was a kindly old lady who lived alone and worked full-time, who didn’t have the energy or time to exercise her very active shepherd/collie dog.
So she gave me the key to her house, and I took Honey out every day and every weekend. We played with her till dark.
Honey was my best friend growing up. It was the classic story of A Boy and his Dog.
I never really corrupted Honey. But she was the first dog who ever really went nuts for me, And she sure did miss me when we moved.
She spent her remaining years staring out the window at my old house, waiting for me to come out by and play. It was kind of sad. She pined for me.
But we kept in touch. I still got to babysit her whenever Mrs. C went on vacation.
She would drive 120 miles out of her way, to drop Honey off at our house, rather than put her in a kennel.
When I was in my 20′s, I baby-sat my neighbors house for a few weeks, including their Sheltie-dog, Quincy. We instantly bonded, and after that, he wouldn’t leave me alone.
My Stupid Quincy Tricks included making him sing/howl on demand, chase imaginary flies, and when I said “Fish!”, he’d lunge at the guppies in the aquarium.
For years after, anytime he heard my voice at home, he’d squeeze through the fence and invite himself into our house. I would always pour him Pep cereal into a bowl.
To get him really wound up, I would say all three things:
“Quincy…Fly…Fish…Pep. Fly…Fish…Pep! FLY FISH PEP!!!“
That was guaranteed to activate the launch sequence. Every time.
Eventually the neighbors would realize their dog was missing, and call out. “Quin-ceeee!. Where is he? Oh..he must be visiting Friar”.
At that point my dad would say “Quincy, GO HOME“.
And he would.
Until next visit.
Hansy was a big lummox of a Bernese Mountain Dog that my other neighbors had.
I was first introduced to Hansy when he was a tiny pup. I’d wrestle and play with him and get him so excited, he’d go “Cracker-Dog” and start destroying baskets and furniture and such.
At that point, Mrs. H. would throw her arms up in the air, and leave the room.
I was such a bad influence, she said, that if she ever got a pup again, she would NOT let me ever see it, until it was full grown.
Now, the funny thing about all this was that Quincy and Hansy lived across the street from each other.
And they were both extremely jealous for my attention.
If I’d go to pet Hansy, Quincy would scream bloody murder. (Come play with ME, Friar!)
So then I’d go pet him, but Hansy would start yelping. (No! Don’t pay attention to him…love ME!!)
So then, if I’d stand in the middle of the road, not knowing which dog to go see first. And they’d BOTH go ape-shit, and the whole neighborhood got to hear it.
At that point, Mrs. H would open the door and yell:
“JESUS CHRIST! Will you PLEASE COME say HELLO to my DAMNED DOG so he will SHUT THE HELL UP!?”
Ahh. Nice to feel wanted, eh?
When I went to grad-skule, I lived next to a 100-lb Yellow Lab, with a thick skull like a cinder-block. He was big, strong, dumb, and lovable. I played with him almost every day, and got to be good friends with is owner, as well.
Stupid Basil tricks included the Fence-Pull:
Oh, and if I said the word “BOTH” he’d go nuts.
(As in: “Bass-hole…do you want the stick, or the ball…or…BOHHHH-TH? “).
That’s when he’d wiggle, snort, and do laps around the living room.
He liked to head-butt my chest. His perpetually wagging tail destroyed glassware.
Another good trick: whenever he heard me next door, he’d put his paws on the fence, and make a stupid plaintive yelp, calling for me.
It wasn’t a “Woof woof” or “Yip Yip” bark.
Instead, it sounded like “NEE! NEE!”.
Just like Monty Python. The Dog who goes Nee.
Of course, that’s when his owner would yell:
“For F*** SAKES, will you COME say HELLO to my STUPID DOG so he WILL SHUT THE HELL UP??
(Hmm…anyone notice a pattern here?)
Goes without saying. I”m Tipper’s favorite two-legged person in the whole world (or so my sister tells me). And Tipper is my favorite four-legged critter in the whole world.
All it takes is for the word “Uncle Friar” to be said, and she’s ready for action. In fact, that’s how they ‘d coax Tipper to do things, even when I wasn’t there.
Like the time she was hiding under the van after getting quilled by a porcupine. “Come see Uncle Friar” was how they got her to come inside and drive to the vet.
Whenever I visit, Tipper is about the 180-degree opposite diametrically opposed from “calm and submissive” as you can get. She’s literally smashed through screen doors to come and greet me.
And there’s a mutual understanding. As soon as I walk into the door, there’s no saying “hello”, no having coffee, no taking off the coat.
No, it’s just YAP! YAP! YAP!
And the yapping doesn’t stop, until we’ve fulfilled our contract.
Tipper expects me to go out back and throw the ball. And I expect Tipper to retrieve the ball I throw. We’ve both trained each other this way. We feed off each other.
Doesn’t stop either. It lasts the whole weekend.
Even the next day, the dumb dog will have a bursting bladder from being inside all night…the rest of the house is already awake, and has finished breakfast.
But Tipper will keep lying in bed next to me, until Uncle Friar gets up. So play-time can start again.
And of course, there’s our mandatory Filthy Mud-Walks in the woods.
And when it’s finally time for me to leave, the dog grieves.
I’m told that after I’m gone, she lies on the bed where I slept, sulks and won’t move for half the day. She won’t even accept treats or anything.
Wow. Kinda flattering.
I wish I was one-tenth as great at that dog thinks I am!
Ahhh…my latest convert.
Walter is just a pup. Brett only got him a few months ago.
Dumb sack of shit, we (affectionately) like to call him.
(Well, to be fair, he’s still a baby). So it’s not his fault if he doesn’t quite grasp some concepts, like how to avoid falling over a sharp drop-off….
Walt’s only seen me maybe half a dozen times. But I’ve already planted the seed.
(C’mon…tell me you can’t see it in his face!)
It all started when Walt would be sleeping quietly in his cage when I’d visit.
Of course, that was just INVITING me to take him out, and wrassle with him on the kitchen floor.
Which he does, each time, with extreme enthusiasm.
Chewing on me, tail thumping, unable to stand up for more than 10 seconds.
He’s delighted. He’s having fun. (Who IS this guy? he’s asking himself. He’s fantastic!)
Then it’s time for bed. Brett puts the leash on him, to take him out for one last pee.
And that’s when Walt digs his heels in, and refuses to move.
Because he wants to stay and play with Uncle Friar.
So now the patterns’ been set.
Already, at that young age.
So now Walt now goes ballistic every time he sees me.
Yet one more canine I’ve corrupted.
Like I said:
I am..the DOG INSTIGATOR.
PS. I’m also the same way with kids.