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“Dear Budleigh,

“Daisy, my labradoodle, has a skin rash and she has to take pills. She really hates that and tries to spit them out. Also, she tries to hide under things that are way too small for her, like an antique end table.

“I don’t want her to be so anxious. Could you, maybe, talk to her?”

Read Budleigh’s advice at Ask a Terrier on our litter-mate blog, Sleeping between Giants: Life, if you could call it that, with a terrier.

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ask-a-terrier-main-pic-w-bookshelfUsing sharp teeth and claws, Budleigh unravels the Great Philosophical Question!

Read and subscribe to our litter-mate blog, Sleeping between Giants.

Finally, dogs will like you!

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its-just-a-game-for-write-good-postLike dogs? Read Sleeping between Giants.

Hate dogs? Same thing.

Visit and subscribe!

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ask-a-terrier-main-pic-w-bookshelf“Dear Mr. Budleigh,

For a Christmas stocking stuffer, I’m thinking of buying a new collar. Any advice?

Thanks!”
Carrie, South Bend, Indiana

Read Budleigh’s advice!

from Sleeping between Giants: Life, if you could call it that, with a terrier.

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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!”
###

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

[This article is part of “Sleeping Between Giants”, a new series that explores life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.]

In a perfect world, dogs don’t sleep on the bed. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in Budleigh’s.

GIANT 1: “Honey, wake up! WakeupWakeupWakeupWakeupWakeup!”

GIANT 2: “Dave! What?”

GIANT 1: “Budleigh’s whining.”

GIANT 2: “So you woke me?”

GIANT 1: “He’s in his crate. Alone. In the kitchen. What else was I to do?”

BUDLEIGH: (Distantly) “I’m innocent!”

GIANT 2: “Well, you’re a grownup. Go fix it.”

BUDLEIGH: “I’ve done nothing! You have the wrong dog!”

GIANT 1: “But if I go, he’ll mark me as a sucker. You go. He doesn’t like you.”

GIANT 2: “What is that supposed to mean? Of course he likes me!”

GIANT 1: “Not like like. He senses that you have an agenda.”

BUDLEIGH: “I smell gas! I can’t breathe!”

GIANT 2: “Dave, I walk him. I feed him. I brush his coat. For God’s sake, I brush his teeth when I can get near them—ˮ

GIANT 1: “Sounding like an agenda.”

BUDLEIGH: “I can be a credit to the pack. I hunt! I kill without remorse! I’m terrier strong!”

GIANT 2: “Well, since he already hates me—ˮ

GIANT 1: “No one said ‘hate’—ˮ

GIANT 2: “—you go let him out. You two have a little doggie party at 3 a.m. and drink shots, and get tattoos. I’m going back to sleep.”

BUDLEIGH: “Damn your agendas!”

Allowing your dog to share the bed is no minor concession. Unless limits are clearly established, your dog can be quite demanding. In the case of a terrier, such demands are like those the Pharaoh made of the ancient Hebrews: “Do as I command or face destruction!” Coincidentally, that’s also the campaign platform of three Republican presidential candidates.

Before making any changes to sleeping arrangements, gauge your willingness to accommodate a dog by asking yourself a number of probing questions, most of which begin, “Why does this God damn dog…”

How big is my dog going to grow compared with how big I’m going to grow?

With most breeds, it’s fairly simple to estimate the limits of their full growth. But mixed-breed rescue dogs like Budleigh are unknowns. With proper nutrition, their growth is limited only by the combined military’s ability to destroy them. (See Clifford, the Big Red Menace.)

Like most dogs, Budleigh can increase his mass at will by absorbing nitrogen atoms from the atmosphere – a process called Science.

Like most dogs, Budleigh can increase his mass at will by absorbing nitrogen atoms from the atmosphere – a process called Science.

However, knowing that Budleigh is some sort of terrier thing made us confident that he wouldn’t grow any larger than a Mini Cooper. When our veterinarian first inspected young Budleigh, I asked him to predict his adult size. The vet spread Budleigh’s paw, caressed his ears, scratched his neck.

“25, maybe 30 pounds,” he snapped with the confidence of a carny worker.

“Just like that, you can tell? Don’t you have to, I don’t know, cut off his tail and count the rings?”

NOTE: Don’t joke with veterinarians about cutting off a dog’s tail. They look at you sternly and you don’t get the free doggie toothbrush.

By the age of two Budleigh reached his full size and weight – around 27 pounds, much of that from shoe leather. Because of his compact size and the maturity he had demonstrated except around shoes, we decided to allow him to sleep with us on a probationary basis pending the approval of Brisby, our bed’s canine union shop steward.

Brisby rubber stamped our decision, which he always does, especially during an election year and Budleigh joined us on the bed.

So I’m sleeping here. Then there’s this dog, And way over there’s my wife. That ain’t gonna fly, if you know what I mean. Any advice?

I’m not sure that I understand what you’re…Oh! Ohhhhhh! (Nervously tugging at shirt coller.) Okay. Okay, let’s talk about dog…uh…positioning, shall we?

In repose, dogs tend to encroach on their owner’s space in much the same way that the larval Alien creature “encroaches” on their victim’s stomach lining.

Animal behaviorists recommend either of two responses: Correct through training or give up. As a dog owner and pack leader, you’ve a responsibility to devote the time and attention needed to correct through training, then give up.

Training our formerly alive and exceptionally bright terrier Oxford was simple. He curled up at the foot of our bed, then when Denise fell asleep, he stealthily moved up and snuggled all night against her back. Not my back. So, problem solved!

Brisby was a different challenge. A student of Mahatma Gandhi and schooled in the tactics of nonviolent civil disobedience, he’d lie between us, then go utterly limp when we, or several hardy police officers, attempted to move him.

Though no bigger than Budleigh, Brisby could, through some complex rule of physics, increase his mass by 400 percent. Lifting him was like hoisting a locomotive with several cars still attached and drooping onto the track.

Gently but firmly pushing him worked no better. His neck would bend until his head was in danger of snapping its moorings. Guilt outweighed our comfort.

“He’s like a superfluid,” claimed my son, a mechanical engineer, as he once struggled to raise Brisby a foot above the bed. “He’s flowing through my fingers, then reforming out of a pool of dog.”

Eventually, Brisby claimed the foot of the bed as his own, probably annoyed that Denise and I radiated too much heat.

I’m not sure that constitutes training.

Budleigh sleeps between us giants. Training goes slowly.

GIANT 1: “OK, Budleigh boy! Time to move for nite-nite! Come! Come! Come!”

BUDLEIGH: “No, I’m good!”

GIANT 1: “ComeComeComeComeComeComeComeCome!”

GIANT 2: “Show him the cookie, Dave.”

GIANT 1: “He sees the cookie. He’s looking right at the cookie! Cookie, Budleigh!”

BUDLEIGH: “Any shoes?”

GIANT 1: “Give him a little push, Hon. Get him started.”

BRISBY. “Go limp, you fool! Go limp!”

GIANT 2: “I can’t move him. What’s he made of, depleted uranium?”

GIANT 1: “Budleigh! ComeComeComeCome!”

GIANT 2: “CookieCookieCookieCookie!”

BUDLEIGH: “Shoe? Shoe? Shoe? Shoe?”

BRISBY: “Keep hope alive, brother! I’m callin’ a strike vote!”

I call my terrier “Edgar Rice” because he “burrows” under the covers. Get it? See what I did there? Anyway, I could kill him.

Because of their tenacious demeanor, killing a terrier is at best a temporary solution and usually just irritates them. Better to understand the basis of this all-too-common burrowing behavior and take comfort knowing that even the most determined diggers will stop before reaching the Earth’s core.

Behavioristically speaking – which is best done in a stilted, British accent while polishing wire-rim spectacles – certain canine breeds are small-prey hunters. Digging into narrow tunnels to flush out rodents is wired into the very genetic code of terriers, dachshunds and, sadly, my Aunt Carla who, to her credit, kept an amazingly tidy pantry.

Convincing Budleigh that there are relatively few rodents in our bed and that those are strictly controlled is hopeless. Instinct rules. And if no vermin are to be found, at least he can take comfort buried in a confining space under 20 lbs. of bed linens without light and a dwindling air supply.

GIANT 2: “Dave, is that your cold foot? For the sake of God, please tell me that’s your cold, slightly moist, snoring foot.”

GIANT 1: “Hon, I’m in the bathroom.”

GIANT 2: “Ewwwww! Budleigh’s under the covers!”

GIANT 1: “I know. He’s been there for hours.”

BUDLEIGH: “Good news! No rats.”

GIANT 2: “Do you think it’s safe? Can he breathe?”

GIANT 1: “Yeah, I worry about that, too. Maybe we should put a canary down there?”

GIANT 2: “That’s a good plan, Dave. And maybe a little camp stove.”

GIANT 1: “And a portable generator with big, doggie-friendly rubber buttons.”

GIANT 2: “And an emergency whistle—ˮ

GIANT 1: “And a self-sustaining potato crop—ˮ

GIANT 2: “And Matt Damon!”

GIANT 1: “Naw! Budleigh’s black. The Academy will just snub him.”

BUDLEIGH: “Shoes! Don’t forget shoes!”

When a young dog permanently leaves his crate to take his place on the family bed, it is a cause for celebration much like a Bar Mitzvah.

“Today I am a Man,” they proclaim. “Only, you know, a Dog.”

And finally, until it’s needed again your dog’s cumbersome, old crate can be safely stored away. Under the covers at the foot of your bed next to the camp stove.

###

This article is part of “Sleeping Between Giants”, a new series of columns 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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