Monday, April 02, 2007

Did I Say Good Dog?

Max and Oscar are generally good dogs, but they have a small behavior problem...they bark at one of my neighbors. They sit in the living room window, and bark at her every time she goes in or out. They bark when she talks on the phone. They bark when she moves around. They bark at her guests.

She doesn't really like being barked at. I don't like it much, either. Since they don't bark at the other neighbor, I thought I could teach them to be quiet. I tried distraction. I tried positive reinforcement. I tried equipping the neighbor with dog treats and taking them out for visits. But they still bark.

So I decided to resort to desperate measures...I bought a squirt gun. A 6-pack of them, actually, because Wal-Mart didn't have singles. Max dragged the package out of the shopping bag, but I retrieved them and filled one. Squirt guns work on cats, right? Then Oscar opened up the squirt gun and drank all the water. So I refilled it. Surely I won't be outsmarted by my dogs, right?

The big day came...the dogs started barking, and I started squirting. They didn't seem to notice. Eventually they finished barking, and turned around to look at me, but still weren't bothered by the squirting. No problem, I thought - we'll just keep this up, and if they're paying attention to what I'm doing they won't bark, right?

Then I went to work last night. And came home to this. Remember, I cleaned for my Barack Obama party. I seriously cleaned - or at least hid all the junk. Which was why I couldn't figure out where all these tiny bits of red plastic came from. Had they eaten my stopwatch? A flashlight? Then I finally figured it out....yep, while I was gone, Oscar chewed up the squirt gun. So much for negative reinforcement.

Trouble? Us? We're just hanging out, playing with dog toys. Nope, I have no idea where that plastic came from. Wanna play tuggy?



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