All winter long Brody proved to be the most loving and cozy lap dog. Then spring came and awakened the wild beast in him. Our once manageable walks together became adventures in mayhem. There are robins to chase and lots of people and dogs to bark at. Did I mention squirrels, geese and deer? He’s now entering his third year and I had to remind myself that this behavior is not new. See post: Brody takes a walk
I’ve discovered a countermeasure, however, that has proven to be very effective. When he sees something causing him to enter a bark frenzy, I pick him up and hold him in my arms and immediately he stops barking. I can now carry on a conversation with a neighbor without trying to talk over Brody’s obnoxious barking.
It amazes me how treat oriented dogs are. They will preform any task for the reward. Brody is no exception. Though we haven’t taught him a host of tricks, his go-to stunt is sitting up on his hind legs and dropping his front paws. Perhaps he believes he’s too cute to resist (and he’s right).
At our house treats fall into two categories, “treats” and “chew-chews.” The mere mention of the word “chew-chew” evokes mayhem. Brody and Jake will go nuts for 1/2 a chicken substitute chew (comparable to rawhide but better for their digestive system). For Brody, its barking and a classic pose. Jake spins round and round, joining in the chorus of barks.
As a pet owner I use this love for treats to my advantage whenever possible. If our dog gets loose outside, I mention the word “treats” and abracadabra he comes back. When we are in a hurry to leave the house and Jake goes into hiding, “treats” brings him out. After a long day at work and I simply want to collapse on the couch I have been known to utter the word “chew-chew.” Jake and Brody’s pleas for attention evaporate and order is restored to the universe.
Taking a walk with Brody is a unique and sometimes embarrassing experience. There is a prelude that occurs when I start putting on my shoes and coat. Brody thinks I’m taking him for a walk regardless of what Im actually planning to do. He whines and howls quite flamboyantly. If I happen to grab his leash, he begins barking loudly, right in my ear as I’m bending down to clip it on his collar. Getting Jake ready to accompany us on our outing is no easy task. Brody bounces up and down, barks, howls and interferes with my effort to leash Jake. I have tangled leashes before I even get the door open.
Brody greats the outside world with incessant barking as we set off. While Jake trots faithfully at my side, Brody darts back and forth yanking on the leash. Just about everything we encounter Brody deems worthy of a bark; holiday decorations-bark; garbage cans at the curb-bark, bark; a pedestrian out for a stroll-bark, bark, bark! If that pedestrian happens to have a dog in tow, Brody launches into a barking frenzy.
The embarrassing part of the walk occurs when I attempt to reign him in to stop him from barking. As I bend down and pull him close, he yipes like he’s been hit by a car. Oh, well. We do love you Brody! It’s a good thing you’re so cute!
Here’s another excerpt from my yet to be released book:
“In my early teenage years I loved to walk alone in the wooded areas near my home. In my meanderings, I was struck by the timeless nature of the forest. Time didn’t seem to matter to the trees. They could be found, day or night, year after year, right where I first spotted them. These tall and stately giants adorned themselves with colorful leaves in autumn, as if readying themselves for a grand ball. I sat for hours watching as the arbors gracefully danced in October breezes. When I returned to the woods in November with my rifle in hand, I looked on as cold windy gusts stripped the trees naked.
It impressed me that the grand order of things did not lessen the generosity of the trees. They labored through the seasons to produce a bounty of fruits, nuts and seeds, not for their own consumption, but as gifts for the passerby.
From my perch in a rotting tree fort, I watched creatures, large and small, carrying out their agendas. In stark contrast to the trees, time for them was of the essence. They spent the precious little time they did have attending to personal needs. These included hoarding and gorging themselves on whatever was available. Animals, it seemed, lived a life of extremes, one of excess and depravity.”