Back when we had two dogs, and one of them was a manic, hypervigilant Australian Cattle dog-Shepherd mix and the other an impressionable lab mix, we saw a lot of action whenever someone approached the house.
First one dog — most of the time, quite naturally, the hypervigilant one — would espy someone (friend or foe, it mattered not which) through the living room window, and promptly get all up in a lather. Which lather would inspire the other one to a frenzy. Which frenzy would in turn thrill the first one into an even bigger tizzy fit. Which tizzy fit would embolden the other one to more dizzying heights of agitation, and so on. This festival would then move to the vicinity of the door, and when the intruder/friend’s footfall drew nearer and nearer, they would commence to shredding the door and the wall next to it. This would intensify if anyone had the audacity to ring the doorbell.
For a time we would try to command the dogs not to do that. Down! Get down! Stop barking! Don’t scratch the door! Things of this nature. None of it worked.
Then it dawned on me that we could have a system that worked with them, rather than against them. I carefully printed out a sign that read: “PAW MADLY IN AREA BELOW,” and affixed it directly next to the door, above the spot they most feverishly pawed. Thereafter I would watch, smugly, as the whole scene would repeat itself, and the dogs would do exactly as I had directed.
Simplicity itself. I was a king in my own home again.
I find myself in nostalgic reveries, these days, wondering how I might be able to re-mount this brilliant tactical maneuver with signs around the house directed at my young charges. Here are just a few captions that recommend themselves:
â€¢ REFUSE TO EAT ANYTHING WHATSOEVER EXCEPT PERHAPS AIR (to be affixed at the lil’ monkey’s dinner table spot)
â€¢ WAIT ‘TIL WE’RE OUT OF THE ROOM, THEN CLIMB UP ON THAT PRECARIOUS OBJECT AND REACH FOR THAT OTHER THING THAT’S PLUGGED IN (could go anywhere, but should be at a height that the lil’ peanut can see easily)
â€¢Â APPEAR TO AGREE THAT YOU’LL LEAVE THE HOUSE AT THE TIME I SAY WE NEED TO GO, NOD PLACIDLY AT MY MANY ADVANCE REMINDERS, WATCH THE CLOCK CAREFULLY OUT OF THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE, THEN FREAK OUT AND REFUSE TO LEAVE WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE DOING AT THE PRECISE MOMENT I APPROACH YOU TO PUT ON YOUR SHOES (this one could go anywhere the lil’ monkey might see it)
â€¢ SQUIRM AND THRASH ABOUT AS IF WE WERE ABOUT TO WRAP YOU IN HEAVY CHAINS AND SUBMURGE YOU IN A HOUDINI-ESQUE TORTURE DEVICE (near the diaper-changing supplies for the lil’ peanut)
I am open to further suggestions, if you’re catching my drift here, and know whereof I