Thursday, January 31, 2008

To Catch A Smuppet

[For those of you not in “the know”, Smuppet is one of Elphie’s many nicknames. Her other nicknames include: Missy Moo, Puppet, Tiny Cujo, WRD, Muffin, Devil Dog, Smelphaba, Elphabutt. The list goes on and on.]

Elphie is normally a pretty good dog. She’s relatively obedient, and when we’re consistent about keeping the pack order, she follows the rules beautifully. But she has days where she likes to mess with me.

Once every few months, she’ll decide to take advantage of a slightly open door and go wandering. I’m usually carrying an armload of stuff, or in impossibly high heels. The stuff (or shoes) get abandoned, and I bolt out after her.

On the few occasions where Niki has gone a’wandering, we have a “shaker box”- a plastic container full of dog treats which we shake, and magically Niki reappears, sitting, as if nothing has transpired. But while he’s there, he gets a treat for sitting, right? Right.

Elphie is the opposite- not treat motivated at ALL. I can’t run after her- because chasing is a game, and she’s already begun play. Walking at a good clip, but doing “calm” breathing, and calling out to her softly, I have to come up slowly, reach for her S-L-O-W-L-Y, then grab her firmly by her scruff. At this point, I carry her home, squirming like a fiend.

Today, we had some firsts.

For the first time, I didn’t initially grab her scruff with authoritah.

For the first time, there was a car. I heard it coming, and so I got between Elphie and the car. During this “game”, Elphie runs away from me, and thus, away from the car. Crisis averted.

For the first time, Elphie crossed the street. Even though there wasn’t any traffic, I don’t like that she’s comfortable prancing across the street. Cars drive on the street. The sidewalk is safer, by comparison.

For the first time, once she had been grabbed with authoritah, she didn’t squirm while I carried her home.

Once we walked back into the house, Niki gave her corrections (by growling and biting her nose, butt, and scruff).

The whole ordeal took about five minutes- but a long five minutes. The day can only get better from here, right?

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