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How’s It Going

Published: November 23, 2012

ANDY HUTCHISON

    Doggone Etiquette -

    How’s It Going

    By Bardi McLennan

    A Word to the Dog:

    Tell me all about the big day. Did you have a good time? Was the food wonderful? Did all the friends and relatives arrive? And you got on well with them? If so, you must have been on your very best behavior. Good dog! Oh, wait a minute. You say your VIPeople have gone away for the weekend and you are spending this holiday in a kennel. Well, that can be a lot of fun, too. There are other dogs to become friends with and maybe even some you already know, plus the nice people making you feel very special. Even in boarding kennels, good dogs get treats so be sure to think of it as your special holiday and be good.

    A Word to the Dog‘s Owner:

    Let’s hope your weekend is going well and Rufus enjoyed his portion of the turkey. Just please don’t take him shopping! There are some things connected to our holidays that are strictly off-limits to our dogs and Black Friday shopping could be at the top of the list. (Of course any shopping FOR the dogs is absolutely okay.)

    But Thanksgiving is only a one day event, or at most a long weekend. Then it’s time to pull ourselves together, reorganize, and get geared up for the next holiday – the one that most certainly includes all the dogs – and that’s Christmas! Whether your kids are on vacation, family is descending upon you for a couple of days or a week, or you are arranging to descend on some other members of your family, Rufus must be given serious consideration in making any of these plans. He is, after all, a very special member of the family.

    We’ll start with friends or family coming to visit you, and possibly bringing their own dog. Well, here’s something you may not have thought of – how Rufus will react when it comes to that invasion. This is not just obedience. It is etiquette and it involves little things you can casually work on in the next few weeks. For example, start getting Rufus to share or change habits involving odd things like the area on the rug he claims as his, or where precisely his food dish is placed, what bed or chair he may have to share or abandon. All of it done in a friendly way.

    Does Rufus step aside to let you pass him, no matter if you’re carrying bags of groceries or just walking over toward a window? If not, get him to mind his manners and do it politely. Rather than bellowing, “Get out of my way, dog” one word said pleasantly will do the trick. “Move” doesn’t sound much like any command you may have taught him, and can be said non-aggressively. You might perhaps move your foot toward him as you say it. Not a kick – merely a calm use of body language for him to connect with the word “move.”

    It is perfectly polite for dogs to do heaps of things that any person would be frowned upon for doing. They can sit in on an argument and listen to every word, even yawn occasionally, but they don’t voice their own opinion. Dogs can scratch themselves anywhere they like, or chew a toenail in public, all such things no polite person would think to do. We greet each other by shaking hands, perhaps adding a peck on the cheek. Dogs get right to the point. They sniff – and not just hands! There are dozens of these allowable differences in canine etiquette. Perhaps based on how this holiday went, you can have fun preparing dear Rufus for whatever changes he may have to face over the next one.

    Just remember – BE GOOD!

      – Bardi