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By Dave Jaffe

Any dog serving prison time for chewing shoes will eagerly admit that socks served as a gateway drug. And that he’s a Good Boy!

Budleigh steals socks. That isn’t his fault. We Giants failed him. As did society. And the apparel industry. He no longer chews them as he did during his house-pet-in-training probationary apprenticeship. Just, ya’ know, sort of steals them. For the kicks, man! The thrill! School is for squares, daddio!

Unlike Budleigh, Brisby eschews socks and shoes in favor of his pile of bones. Oddly, we only bought him two of those, but Uncle Max has been missing for weeks. Hmmm…

Unlike Budleigh, Brisby eschews socks and shoes in favor of his pile of bones. Oddly, we only bought him two of those, but Uncle Max has been missing for weeks. Hmmm…

That Budleigh has moved from indiscriminate vandal to cunning thief is a victory rooted in dedicated training and drastically lowered expectations. No champion sought here. Just a pet that will reliably follow these basic rules:

1. Don’t eat things that make you dead
2. Think before you bite me
3. Get off the everything
4. Rest and drink plenty of fluids
5. Vote

Unless your dog has strong political leanings, Rule 1 is probably the most important. Clearly, it’s the most important to veterinarians whose examination rooms display colorful posters of frolicking puppies and giggling children beneath the headline, “Six Common Household Items That Will Kill Your Dog. Also Everyone Who Knows Your Dog.”

Next to that hang posters featuring different dogs and children – survivors, presumably – that read, “Wait! Did We Mention These Four Other Items?” and “Oops! Just Remembered Two More. Sorry!”

Dire warnings like these worry pets, which leads to intense dog park discussions. Also, anxious chewing.

GERMAN SHEPHERD: “…and the next morning when they checked the car, there was a hook in the door!”

LABRADOR RETRIEVER: (Gently) “Maybe this is too scary for…you know…everyone. (Nods toward wide-eyed Maltese.) Say, how ‘bout that brushing? Isn’t brushing great?”

MALTESE: “Did they chew the hook?”

TERRIER MUTT: “You can’t chew hooks! Well, I can. But it would kill the rest of you.”

PUG: “Wait! You’ve chewed a hook?”

TERRIER MUTT: “Sure! Plenty of ‘em. I chewed one today after I threw up breakfast.”

LABRADOR RETRIEVER: “…’cause I’m really soft, but when she brushes me I get even softer. So then I bring her the brush – I can do that, you know – and she says I’m a Good—ˮ

MALTESE: “What about a brush? You ever chew a brush?”

TERRIER MUTT: “Yeah! Lots of times. And plenty more stuff when I was little.”

PUG: “And nobody stopped you?”

TERRIER MUTT: “Well, I was in a shelter.”

All go quiet for several minutes.

BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG: “Once I chewed a mountain.”

PUG: “You did? A mountain?”

BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG: “So I’ve been told.”

BULL DOG: “Anyone ever chew up one of those round things?”

GERMAN SHEPHERD: ‘Which round thing?”

BULL DOG: “Oh, you know. The round things where they yell at you, then get all worried and call that place with the scary posters? And then they rush you there in the car?”

GERMAN SHEPHERD: “The one with a hook in the door?”

Clearly, overcoming a dog’s passion to chew is no easy task. However, both dog and owner can enjoy measurable success through the application of some simple, safe and humane training tactics developed by the United States Navy SEAL Team Interrogation Unit.

Next: Positive reinforcement or “They made me a criminal!”
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This article is part of “Sleeping Between Giants“, an ongoing series featured on the Write Good!: The Blog blog.

Sleeping Between Giants explores life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.

Your feedback is welcome, probably. dj

Permission to re-use this material for non-commercial purposes is granted provided that Dave Jaffe, www.writegoodtheblog.com, is appropriately credited as the author and source. Please feel free to link to this page.

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By Dave Jaffe

While Halloween is a whimsical time for children, it can be disquieting for dogs and even more troubling for dog owners unaccustomed to working with the violent criminally insane.

Halloween spending this year is expected to reach $6.9 billion dollars, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Of that, the NRF release states, nearly $350 million will be spent on “fashionable and fun costumes” for pets.

As a dog owner, let me clarify for the NRF. Dogs don’t consider any costume “fashionable and fun” unless it smells like it’s already passed through them once or twice, if you know what I mean. And I hope you don’t.

Halloween-costumes FINAL

Dogs don’t really enjoy wearing costumes, even those constructed mostly of tuna. This aversion dates back to prehistoric times when Early Neanderthal hunters would lure prey using Early Wolf cubs wrapped in bacon, until Early Wolf mother heard about it. Then that was the end of Neanderthal.

Today’s domesticated canines are more tolerant of wearing costumes, once you get the hood past their snapping teeth. However, a dog’s acceptance of a costume chiefly depends on whether or not they’re a terrier.

Budleigh is our one-year-old rescue dog who, as near as the vet could determine, is a mix of half-terrier and half-some-other-terrier. Despite Budleigh’s early life on the streets boosting cars and running numbers for the Mob, he’s very social and well adjusted.

But he has no intention of being put in a costume without first clearing it with our nine-year-old, baseline model, bell-curve dog, Brisby.

BUDLEIGH: “Brisby! Wake up! WakeUpWakeUpWakeUpWakeUpWakeUp!”

BRISBY: “Shut up!”

BUDLEIGH: “OK! Brisby, the giants want me to wear a costume. Should I wear a costume? What’s a costume? Is it tuna?”

BRISBY: “No. Shut up!”

BUDLEIGH: “OK! Can I have your ball? Can I have your ear?”

BRISBY: “No! Everything is mine.”

BUDLEIGH: “OK! Can I have your tuna?”

BRISBY: “Shut up!”

When selecting an appropriate costume for your dog, think safety first, cautions such animal humane groups as the ASPCA, an acronym for Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Sorry! It’s an acronym for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the oldest animal-protection organization in the Western Hemisphere that also has access to Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The group counsels that costumes must not interfere with a pet’s movement, hearing or “ability to breathe, bark or meow.” Good advice, because if my dogs meow I need to know immediately, as does YouTube!

The Society also suggests that owners try costumes on their pets before Halloween in case it turns out that, as I’ve already implied, they’re a terrier. Costumes needn’t be elaborate. A simple, cheerful, child-friendly bandana tied around your pet’s neck perfectly complements the blood-drenched, rotting Donald Trump corpse replica decorating your front lawn.

The other giant and I decided to go the bandana route. Brisby, a poodle-schnauzer mix, would be no problem. Nature’s Perfect Animal, Brisby splits his time between ministering to lepers, rolling bandages for the Red Cross, and eating goose poop. Budleigh would be the challenge.

Tying a bandana around a terrier is no different than tying a bandana around the Death Star. Both should be attempted by someone other than you. A well-behaved terrier usually won’t bite so long as you’re relatively chipmunk-free, but they tend to be less cooperative than, say, North Korea.

To win Budleigh’s trust, the other giant and I first dressed Brisby in his bandana – a complicated ritual that involved raising his head slightly from the pillow he was asleep on, then tying on the bandana. Brisby roused himself enough to roll us a few bandages, then went back to sleep.

Now, oozing the charm of a carpetbagger we approached Budleigh, warmly assuring him that he was A GOOD DOG and A VERY, VERY GOOD DOG and A DOG WITH MANY FACEBOOK LIKES!

You know how the eyes of some portraits follow you around the room? Budleigh does that with his whole body. But since he wasn’t ticking, I gently wrapped his cowboy-themed bandana around his neck, careful not to tie it unless he told me we were cool, man! Encountering no protests I knotted it, easy-peasy.

Trouble started when I removed his collar. Budleigh is very fond of his collar and likes to keep it close by, much the way I like to keep my liver and pancreas close by. I think it’s the reassuring sound of the jingling tags. The ones on his collar, I mean. There are no tags on my liver or pancreas, as far as medical science has been able to determine.

Budleigh took the dangling end of the collar firmly in his mouth and assured me with his sweet Buster Keaton expression that I could have it when I pried it from his cold, dead teeth.

Eventually I was able to negotiate a release by way of a comforting voice, firm commands and 186,000 doggie treats.

Now just days before Halloween, Budleigh has reached an uneasy compromise with us giants. He will wear his handsome, cowboy bandana provided he can carry his handsome, jingling collar in his teeth.

And should any wide-eyed, innocent trick-or-treaters ask, “What kinda’ costume is that, and why’s he got a collar in his mouth?” I’ll answer playfully.

“Why, he’s just an ol’ cowpoke who’s eaten another ol’ cowpoke’s dog.”
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A big ‘Howdy!’ from Cowboy Budleigh and his trusty sidekick, Collar.

A big ‘Howdy!’ from Cowboy Budleigh and his trusty sidekick, Collar.

(This post marks the launch of “Sleeping Between Giants”, a new series of columns on the Write Good!: The Blog blog.

Sleeping Between Giants will explore life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.

Your feedback is welcome, probably. dj)

Permission to re-use this material for non-commercial purposes is granted provided that Dave Jaffe, www.writegoodtheblog.com, is appropriately credited as the author and source. Please feel free to link to this page.

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