Saturday, August 29, 2009


As a dog owner, I've learned over the years that sharing one's home and life with a canine can be a very humbling experience.

Example #1 (A year ago, Anaheim Public Park, with lake)
Chris: Bailey, here!
[Bailey spots a duck. Bailey chases duck.]
[Bailey continues to chase said duck. Gathers an audience]
Chris: Should I swim in after him? He's pretending to be deaf.
Sonja: Oh god. What are we going to do if he catches the duck? What if he injures it? Will we have to kill it? These people are going to hate us.
Chris and Sonja: BAILEYYYYYY!
[Bailey continues to chase the duck. Thankfully he does not catch it. But he does earn several nasty looks from the fishermen as he wildly windmills through their calm trout pond. Sorry guys, no fish for you today. ]

Example #2 (Two years ago, Huntington Beach Dog Park)
Sonja [to Chris]: I'm going to call Bailey. He's looking way too interested in that lady's beach bag.
Sonja: Bailey, here!
[Bailey peers over his shoulder, pauses.. and then oh so casually lifts his leg..]
Chris and Sonja: NOOOOO! Don't do it! Bailey! HERE!
[Bailey pees on beach bag, still while looking at us. Are you talking to me? Can't you see that I'm busy?].
Sonja: Quick. Let's get out of here.

Example #3 (Last week, St. Edward's State Park):
Me: Bailey. Come here!
Bailey: Who? Me?
Me: Come here now!
Me: BAILEY! HERE! Right this instant, dude!
[Bailey Turns a blind eye and goes to sniff a nearby dog]
Me: Ouch. Humiliated by my darling dog. Really Bailey? You're choosing that mangy mutt over me? Your beloved owner? The one that feeds you every morning? That tucks you in every night? Ouch, Bailey.

Like I said, owning a dog is a humbling experience. Perhaps somewhat similar to owning [er..having] kids? Eh. I remember all the public tantrums I had. My poor parents. I bet kids are worse.

Anyway, after our little incident at the park the other day it was clearly time to revisit our obedience lessons.

I've discovered that patience is key. And treats. Lots and lots of treats. Bailey works best with cheddar cheese. We were practicing 'GO TO YOUR BED'. It's a pretty simple command: go to your bed means get up and trundle over to your dog bed. No stops, no detours. It's a new command and clearly....we have a lot of work ahead of us.

But my little guy is getting there. He'll be an expert in no time flat. And then we'll start in on that "Here" command. Again.