My authority makes my wife jealous.
To clarify, I have little or no authority over her but the fact that our dogs actually listen to me and occasionally do what I say makes her mad. They don’t usually listen to her and rarely do what she asks.
The best example is making the bed.
Our older dog has a sixth sense about when we might be headed for bed. He is usually curled up on the bed in the spot he wants to occupy when you get there, feigning sleep as you approach. This sometimes makes it difficult to get into bed and it makes it impossible to make the bed.
My wife will ask him repeatedly to get off the bed, even grabbing his collar to try and get him started and the stubborn canine won’t budge. Finally my wife will call me into the bedroom and I’ll tell him in a normal voice to get off the bed and he will promptly comply.
He knows what is being asked of him. He knew when my wife asked but the difference is he knows if he doesn’t comply I’ll toss him off the bed.
He waits patiently while I make up the bed for me to tell him it’s OK to jump back up.
Another thing that amazes my wife is my ability to stop any animal, child (or wife) from doing what they’re doing with a one-syllable sound: “Auut.”
All I know is I picked up that sound growing up. Everybody around me used it on pets, livestock and children and it makes ’em stop whatever they’re doing immediately.
The “Dog Whisperer” (Cesar Milan) teaches the humans he schools to use a correction sound of “Shttt” so I guess I was a dog whisperer before dog whispering was cool.
Being in touch mentally with your dog is the most important thing. It always seemed to me that if the animal believes you know what he’s thinking, he’s going to stay attentive to what you're requesting of him.
He respects the fact that, like it or not, you’re inside his head and you’ll be immediately heading him away from bad behavior.
Probably the most amazing examples of animals responding to voice commands are a shepherd or herdsman using a herding dog on sheep or cattle. It’s incredible what dog and master can accomplish with minimal commands and lots of mental communication.
I’ve got to admit my dogs don’t have near that kind of connection with me. The younger dog especially just hasn’t been around me long enough to understand what I want. He’s slowly coming along even if he does get bored and act up when I’m not around.
It takes a lot of time together with a dog to achieve that obedience bond but once things start to click it’s very cool.
It also frustrates the wife to no end.
Karl Terry, a former publisher of the Quay County Sun, writes for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at: email@example.com