Doggy Discipline

This is Perky, our four-month old American Eskimo pup.  She’s the latest (and will always be the littlest) addition to our dog family.  Perky perks this place up and imparts some of her pep to the other dogs, Magnum and Sniper, and I daresay, even to us.  Only the cats are no perkier for her presence, in fact, “panic” would better describe their frame of mind when they hightail it for the nearest fencepost and out of reach of her snapping teeth.

Not only is Perky irresistibly cute, she’s a smart little dog.  Already she can sit and shake hands on command.  The problem is that she uses her intelligence not only to charm me but to exasperate me to no end.  She is well aware that my vegetable garden is off-limits to little dogs with a tendency to replant tomatoes – upside down.  When I’m in the garden she perches on the nearest available clump of grass.  She pants and her hind quarters shimmy from side while she smiles up at me as if to say,

“I want to come in oh-so badly but I am going to stay right here because I would not disobey you for all the Milk-Bone in the world.”

But when I’ve been gone for a few hours, my garden reveals clues that a cunning and devious Perky exists behind that whiskered face.  Decapitated pepper plants, big holes in the ground and swatches of white fur bespeak tiny paws digging furiously in the dirt for reasons explicable only to the canine brain.

Exhibit A:

This pepper plant is toast.

Exhibit B:

There is a decided gap in this row of cucumbers.

Professional dog trainers will tell you to discipline your dog “remotely”, in other words, in a way that the dog won’t know that you are the one punishing it.  This way, the dog will connect punishment with bad behavior, not with an angry owner.  I was more than happy to adopt this method with Perky.  I wore a grim smile while Albert and I staked a hundred feet of electric fence around my garden.

The next evening when I watered the garden, I heard a sound behind me and turned around.  Perky had managed  to slip statically unruffled beneath the fence, but at this moment she was about to back right into it.  It took a moment for the shock to penetrate her furry rump but when it did, she quaked and yelped with surprise.  Magnum and Sniper looked over to see the commotion.  Perky swung around to face her attacker.  When she saw only a wire string, she looked confused and began to yelp in earnest.  She spun frantic circles in the dirt, stumbled over the adjoining wire fence and fled the scene crying “Yipe! Yipe! Yipe!” all the way.  By now Sniper was convinced that whatever brawled with Perky was coming for her next.  Her tail disappeared between her legs; she flattened her ears, hunkered low and ran to save her life without sparing a glance to the left or to the right.  Remote control had just taken on a whole new meaning.

Poor Sniper.

Now peace and order reign in the vegetable garden.  The tomatoes flourish and the pepper plants retain their heads.  A subdued Perky gives the garden a wide berth while I tend the plants and our canine family knows nothing about the methods we use to live in harmony with them except that we love them and will care for them for as long as they live.  All is as it should be in our small corner of the outdoor world – for the next few hours at least.

A sadder, wiser Perky looks on as I weed the lettuce patch.




4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by suzen nagy on June 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    too cute!


  2. Oh my gosh, this is too funny! Perky is such a cutie! It takes me a lot of patience just to keep the puppies out of the veggie patch too.


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