Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bark less, wag more

This popular bumper sticker is readable by dogs. Even Romeo, who is more sweet than smart, has learned it. We have lived together for over 6 months. We know that smart is highly overrated in both the canine and human world. We would all rather have someone show us they care than have them explain what we're doing wrong or how misguided our thinking may be. Our last dog, Buddy, had a huge vocabulary and was undoubtedly smart. But he would sometimes bite. Little bites, more like nips, but still unwelcome.

On our walks, Romy would get so excited when he saw a person or another dog that he would yank on the leash, lunge at them, and give those big hound barks, bays, and howls. Naturally, the person or dog would back off in a hurry. Romy wondered why he didn't have any friends. I tried and tried to explain it to him. Did you ever try to reason with a dog? It's like trying to teach a pig to dance. Doesn't work and annoys the pig.

Slowly, very slowly, he seems to be figuring it out. If he stands still and wags, they will come to him. The people will pat his head and tell him he is beautiful and sometimes give him a cookie. The dogs will sniff and be sniffed. This morning he even won over the neighbor that doesn't speak, nod or wave. She drives her car into the garage, puts the door down, and has never been seen outdoors. This morning he watched her door go up, watched her walk over and get in the car, and just kept wagging at her. She got back out of the car, walked down the driveway, smiled at him, patted him on the head and told him he is beautiful. It was nice.