As a dog parent, I have no control. I don’t know why because I have used all the training techniques on my present dogs that I used on my beloved and now deceased, German Shepherd, Miss Muffie. I don’t know if Miss Muffie was just smarter than my current two dogs or if these dogs just don’t have the same work ethic as she did.
To be honest, I blame Paris Hilton and the Hollywood celebrities who spoil their little rat dogs for my dogs’ lack of obedience. The Hollywood stars started this whole, “all dogs should be pampered” crap. They made designer doggie clothing popular as well as doggie satchels which allow them to take their pooches wherever they go. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but I have not found a purse big enough to hold my 89-pound lab mix, Frankie, or for that matter, my 40-pound whatever-the-hell-she-is mix, LuLu, and I think my dogs feel slighted. Hollywood celebrities put out the word that their dogs now hold the top post on the food chain, and I think my dogs are a bit resentful toward me because that attitude has not found its way into our home yet.
Honestly, the blame for the new pampered pet goes beyond the Hollywood people. I think my dogs see other dogs who have it all at their nail salon too. I am sure that while they are waiting for their basic nail trim, they get pissed off at the perfect poodles who are getting pretty ear bows and color polish for their toes. I try to tell my dogs that these dogs are shallow and just about looks, but it’s hard for them to understand when they are exposed to all that luxury on a regular basis. I fear my words have fallen on deaf ears, and they have decided to resent me for their lack of sophistication, and they show this resentment by being disobedient – to me anyway.
My husband or daughter will bark out a command and the dogs listen to them. If I bark out a simple command that does not involve a treat, they ignore me. I say, “Sit” and they get up and move. I say in a commanding voice, “Come” and they sit. One day last summer, my daughter and I were in the backyard on the lounge chairs and I yelled to Frankie to come. She did stand up and look at me and for a brief second it appeared as if she was going to obey, but then she did the strangest thing: she raised her paw and sort of pointed it in my direction. Then she turned around and went to the opposite end of the yard. My daughter looked at me and said,
“Mom, I think Frankie just gave you the finger.”
So, it was at that moment, I started a new training regimen. Has it worked? No. And I asked the experts what to do and have followed their advice. The one trainer said my dogs don’t see me as an authority figure. I have to be more stern and tough and mean-sounding, and I did try. I tried out my stern voice on the human faction of my family, and they seemed to get a bit scared, but the dogs just laugh at me.
I think the problem is I am a stay-at- home mom with them. Maybe I should try not to pay too much attention to them. For example, I don’t have to rush them to the car when they request the Sonic Drive-in; they can eat their dry food. We don‘t have to go to the state park for our walk – we can walk around the block a few times instead. They do not need to watch 101 Dalmatians or Babe the Pig so often; I can watch more of my shows. They can cope. I love dogs so much though. I’m actually considering opening a doggy daycare franchise but I’m not sure yet!
Yes, the dogs are going to learn to respect me and see me as the one who keeps them alive. Let’s face it; I am the only one who keeps track of their vet appointments, nail appointments and heartworm preventative. I am the one who feels badly if I am out of the house for more than two hours at a time and brings them home Burger King. Well, no more Miss Nice Guy. Starting today, my dogs are going to fear me. Well, maybe not fear me, as much as they will know who is boss. Well, maybe not boss, but they will listen. Oh forget it. What is so great about a dog sitting on command anyway? It’s a little boring if you ask me.