The Dog Hollerer
I am a big fan of Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, and his TV show of the same name on cable (National Geographic Channel). He speaks knowingly of being the “calm and assertive leader” and I dig that! I want to be that for my dogs.
However, with my dogs and the foster dogs from ARF, I am often The Dog Hollerer.” I, of course, blame it on the dogs. Cesar would sit me down and explain in his charming Latino accent that I am the problem, not the dogs. And he would be correct (darn it).
Even as I type this, I am stopping to turn around and holler at my dogs to please shut up. They are barking at a man and woman walking outside in a calm and assertive way with their calm and submissive Sheltie. My dogs are going ballistic inside the house as they watch the calmness.
Cesar says to stand near your dogs, say something guttural, and let your superior “I mean business, buddy” aura do the trick. It does the trick for him. Sometimes it works on my dogs.
Crenshaw, one of the foster dogs I have right now, is another story. He came to my home not knowing his name, neither his ARF name (Crenshaw) nor the adopted name he was called for awhile (Chauncey). The adopter was a mature lady who said that Crenshaw was WAY too much for her, what with his teeth and his claws ripping at her. His nails were long, but that was easily fixed at the groomer’s. His teeth can’t be fixed. He has a lower jaw overbite that is really kind of cute. Crenshaw does not have a face – he has a mug. He can’t help it if his sticking-out teeth hang on skin every so often.
After weeks and weeks he finally knows his name. He looks at me when I holler “Crenshaw!” or “Crennie, stop that!” That, my friends, is progress. He is young – not quite a year old. We got him when he was only a few months old. It was thought that he would be adopted quickly and “stick” with some family. Crennie has had rotten luck. I’m hoping his luck will change soon.
Lately, he has taken it upon himself to barrel up into my lap. This is sweet, but startling. Sort of like having a cannon ball land on you out of the blue. After I get my breath back, I pet him and tell him he’s a gorgeous kid. He likes that.
He is not impressed with my calm and assertive self. He looks blankly at me when I discipline him “Cesar style.” Sometimes he barks back at me as if to say, “Snap out of it, woman!” When I holler he pays some attention to me, if only for a fleeting minute.
I am The Dog Hollerer.