a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Where Do People Get These Ideas?

Friday, September 24, 2004

Where Do People Get These Ideas?

You notice that there's a big difference in the hidden meanings between these two semantically similar questions: "Where do writers get their ideas?" and "Where do people get these ideas?"

The dogs and I were perambulating in a new neighborhood (while JiffyLub changed the van's oil--look at me! I'm multitasking!), and a nice man came out and asked to pet my dogs. Of course I said yes. But what he really wanted was to ask whether I knew a lot about dogs and dog training (assuming I did because I had 3 dogs who weren't pulling on the leash, sort of, most of the time). He bought his nieces and nephews a Border Collie. He said he was having trouble because he'd tell it to "sit" and it wouldn't and he'd tell it to "come" and it wouldn't and he wanted to know whether they got smarter as they got older. I told him, well, of course, dogs don't understand English; they're dogs. I said that you have to teach them each step, and that he needed to go to a training class to learn how to train dogs. And as soon as possible, because BC's have a lot of energy and he needs to know what to do with the dog or it could become destructive, chewing and digging for example. He said his Great Aunt (who apparently is responsible for the dog) was worried about the dog not behaving. I suggested that he go to the local pet store and ask for recommendations for dog training and to not delay.

He said, "So I can't just train it the old-fashioned way?" I had many questions vying to be the first out of my mouth in response to that, but wiser brain cells prevailed and I asked, "What do you mean?" "Well," he said, "my grandfather got a dog when he was 14, and he told it to sit, and it would sit!" I pointed out that he must have known something about dogs, but the guy emphasized, "He was only 14!" I said that there was no way of knowing--but back then, maybe there were more people around with dogs whom he had seen training or had had some other experience with dogs. But that this guy himself needed to learn about dog training. Then he said it wasn't for him, it was for his Great Aunt, who wanted to know about dog training.

This isn't the first person who has ever asked me this kind of question in this kind of situation. Be afraid! Be very afraid! I'm thinking I'm seeing the possibility of yet another BC rescue--

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