Canines have lived in symbiotic harmony with humans for more than 30,000 years. Except in my neighborhood.
GIANT 2: “Don’t let Budleigh pee there, Dave.”
GIANT 1: “But it’s a hydrant. That’s a part of his religious practice, isn’t it?”
GIANT 2: “The guy there’s kind of a jerk. He complains when dogs pee on his hydrant.”
GIANT 1: “Why? Too cliché?”
GIANT 2: “I don’t know. He’s a jerk. Keep walking.”
GIANT 1 “Now wait! Budleigh has rights. He’s a registered voter. In several states. He’s free to pee on hydrants. Doesn’t the Constitution say that? Or Hannity?”
BUDLEIGH: “We gonna make a decision here pretty quick?”
GIANT 2: “Let’s just move on to that street light.”
GIANT 1: “Sid Cranshire’s street light? You’d risk war?”
GIANT 2: “Let’s go home. He can pee on our lawn.”
GIANT 1: “I just reseeded!”
Few relationships have remained more steadfast then that which was forged when prehistoric canis stared meaningfully across the crackling fire at early hominid as if to say, “Are you gonna finish that?”
Yet even as ancient humans bonded with ancient dogs, ancient jerks complained stridently, “Are you crazy? That’s a wolf!”
Today that relationship between dog and jerk remains hostile. And like so many evils troubling the world, it’s probably your fault. Are there techniques to unite dogs and jerks in friendship? The short answer is “No!” The long answer, “Of course not.”
Still, we’ve a few minutes before our flight leaves, so let’s explore why some people hate your dog, how you can correct that, and whether there’s potential for a Netflix sitcom.
Why is your dog barking so much? We just can’t be in that much danger.
Animal behaviorists theorize that dogs bark for the same reasons the Wavy Guy at the auto dealership flutters his arms: to alert the pack about quality products at deep discounts. Other reasons include boredom, loneliness, alarm, gambling problems, unanticipated fluctuations in Federal Reserve interest rates, and chipmunks.
While barking is a natural method of communications, excessive barking could indicate that your dog needs more training. Or that he’s wrangling for a cell phone. And unlimited texting. Oh, and thumbs!
Positive reinforcement is an effective training method to control barking. Never yell at your dog during a barking episode. Your angry voice is perceived as louder barking, making your dog more fearful that chipmunks are crashing the Federal Reserve.
My neighbors resent when I dump poop bags in their garbage cans. Like their trash don’t stink, or something!
Every American’s right to choose their own garbage is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, probably in one of those amendment things. That rule was crafted by the framers of the Constitution as a concession to Founding Father Monroe Doctrine whose Boston Terrier, Repub-Licky, was the cut-up at the Constitutional Convention. Repub-Licky was famed for retrieving writing quills from Thomas Jefferson’s desk, a humorous escapade that delayed completion of the document by more than a year.
How do I tell my dog, “It’s not you. It’s me”?
While it is tempting to blame dogs for everything from digging in the neighbors’ flower beds to colluding with a foreign power, it’s more likely that any ill will between Giants is our fault.
On a walk through the park with Budleigh the Terrier and Brisby the Nice Dog, we met a new neighbor walking his Standard Poodle puppy whose legs couldn’t agree which way to go. I stopped to chat although social media has wisely taught me to run inside and text.
GIANT DAVE: “This is Brisby, a Schnoodle. This is Budleigh, and I’m sorry.”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: “Hi Brisby! Hi Budl— Ow!”
GIANT DAVE: “Yeah, that’s why I’m sorry. Did he break the skin?”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: “I think he just got cloth. Well, suede and linen.”
GIANT DAVE: “Oh good, that’s covered. The neighbors keep a running tab. Mention it to Sid Cranshire.”
BUDLEIGH: “You the new meat?”
BRISBY: “Hiya Meat!”
POODLE: “Hi! Am I ‘Meat?’ They say I’m ‘Dog.’ Or ‘Poodle.’ Or ‘Rescue.’ Sometimes ‘Damn it!’ It’s so confusing. Hi!”
BUDLEIGH: “Well, just remember you work for us now.”
POODLE: “OK! Hi! Hi!”
BRISBY: “Your Giant goofy? Ours is kinda goofy.”
BUDLEIGH: “They’re all goofy. Listen and learn, kid.”
GIANT DAVE: “Who’s this little tough guy?”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: “That’s Bowie.”
GIANT DAVE: “Cute! Named for the singer? Or the colonel?”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: “For David Bowie….Wait! What Colonel?”
GIANT DAVE: “You know, from the Alamo?”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: “The car rental?”
GIANT DAVE: “No, no! The one with the big knife!”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: (Nervously) You…you have a big knife?”
BUDLEIGH: “Wait for it…”
GIANT DAVE: “No, no, no…Well, yes! Of course I have a knife. Several! I mean, not on me—ˮ
GIANT NEIGHBOR: “I really should get Bowie home…”
GIANT DAVE: “Look, I’ve taken us a bit off the beam, here. I have a perfectly reasonable number of knives. They’re all at home. Bowie had a huge knife. He died. So did the other one.”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: “Bowie’s fine. He’s right here. Stay back, Bowie. Gooood Bowie!”
GIANT DAVE: “My point is, Budleigh and Brisby aren’t named for anything.”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: “Sooo, we’re going now…”
GIANT DAVE: “Well, good to meet you. Oh, and stay away from that hydrant over there!”
GIANT NEIGHBOR: (Backing away) OK, then! Sure! You bet!”
BRISBY: “See you around, Bowie. Maybe.”
BUDLEIGH: “Sid Cranshire’s gonna love this.”
Sleeping between Giants welcomes your comments. Probably….