Does Super Nanny make house calls for dogs? If so, this is me making one.
I LOVE my dog. I know that's shocking to all of you because I don't mention him much. But it's true. And I'm trying to raise him to be kind and courteous with good manners.
My friend Kelly came over for supper the other night and I felt like one of those mothers who wants to kill their child but doesn't know if they should blow a gasket in front of people or ignore the incessant whining in the hopes of not escalating the behavior.
Yes, I realize this is ridiculous dilemma to have about a dog.
I know that most people with a dog could handle this situation. Put the darn thing in his kennel and be done with it. One problem: you haven't met my dog. The very idea of him being more than an arm's-length away from me leaves him in near hysterics. If I was to take him to the other room, put him in his kennel (a beautiful wicker kennel with a blanket and pillow, mind you) and come back to the table, the background music for the meal would be the loudest, most high-pitched, panic-stricken yell you can imagine.
Trust me. You don't want to experience that.
And I know Super Nanny would tell me to stick to my guns and maintain a time-out situation until he calmed and apologized. I tried that once when he was younger. An hour later I decided the risk of being kicked out of the condo association for excessive noise just wasn't worth it.
So back to the meal with my friend. Normally, when I am here alone with the pup and he has no competition for my attention he lays quietly and naps or maybe paws at my hand for me to pet him. But when another human enters, all bets are off. I had him on a short leash next to me at the table but the tugging and pulling and whining to get Kelly's attention was incessant.
So here's where I pulled out my most authoritative voice. (Anyone who knows me is laughing right now.) But I did it. I got in his face and loudly said, "Enough. One more word and you're in your kennel."
I kid you not, he pulled his head back in a startled jerk and the expression on his face was pitiful. He batted his eyes in stunned amazement and looked as though he was about to cry. Kelly and I looked at each other and she said, "Oh my God, did you see his
face?" And we both busted out laughing.
I am such a sucker. I couldn't even keep a straight face with a DOG. The longer I am responsible for Riley the more I realize that, as much as I wanted children, I may not have had what it takes to raise them. You know, essential qualities ... like a backbone. And the ability follow through when they look pitiful.
We moved from the table to the couches and Riley immediately settled down into the dog I know and love and lounged by us while we chatted. Two minutes after Kelly left, that ornery pup was laying in his kennel fast asleep, exhausted from being a pain in the butt.
That's when I realized he wasn't being a pain because of the food. He was being a pain because of the table. I was in a chair and he was on the floor. You know, like a DOG. When we moved to the couches where he could sit next to us and be equal to all the relevant happenings, he was fine.
I created a sassy little monster, people. His name is Riley and he thinks he's the human in charge around here. And he thinks I'm his pet.
The problem is, I think he's right.