Much time and money is spent figuring out what our pets are trying to tell us. My dogs seem to devote just as much effort trying to figure out what I am saying to them. “Go,” “Treat,” “Walk,” “Outside,” “Hungry,” and “Cookie” are very popular words around here. But every now and then I think they know a little more than they let on.
One day, trying to get Barney out of the car, I clicked my tongue and said, “C’mon boy!” No go. He looked at me like I was patronizing him. So I reasoned with him. “You know, if you wouldn’t mind getting out of the car, I can close the door and carry this stuff into the house.” He stood up and stepped out of the car.
Another time Sabbath wanted me to pick up the ball and throw it. I was, to her dismay, too lazy . . er, uh . . . comfortable in my chair to get up and get the ball. I tried exciting her, my voice getting higher with each exclamation. “Go get it! Get the ball! Get the ball!” I tried coaxing her. “Bring mama the ball, baby.” Finally it was the heart to heart that did it. Again I used reasoning. “Tell you what. That ball is not going to throw itself. If you want to chase it, you’re probably going to have to go over there, pick it up and bring it over here.” So she did.
. . . And so I’ve learned not to humiliate them with puppy-talk.
Overheard around our dog/human family:
“Please don’t look so sad when I go to work. Someone has to bring home the kibble and I don’t see either of you getting off your butts.” *pointing finger back and forth between them*
“Okay, who pooped right outside the back door? Who DOES that?”
“Do I look like I want to throw a Frisbee right now?”
“Sabbie, you really ought to play a little hard-to-get with Gus next door. You don’t want to give him the wrong impression.”
“You know I can’t resist you when you look at me like that, don’t you?”
“Why did you bark at that dog like that? Did he give you the stink-eye? I bet that’s what it was, wasn’t it? He gave you the stink-eye!”
And to the small terrier trying to hump the Great Dane at the dog park?
” ‘At a boy. Go big or go home!”