Do I need to use a dog trainer, or take my puppy to a training class?
When owners realize how incredibly intelligent ALL dogs are, and how anxious to please - it is not difficult at all to train your dog.
I highly recommend ONLY training them yourself, and not use a "trainer." Many of these trainers have NO qualifications at all - except for big egos; and many of them are devotees of the emotionally sadistic and inhumane "Dog Whisperer".
When I was young (and stupid), I took a gorgeous show-marked harlequin Great Dane puppy "Forget-Me-Not" (which I intended to show) to a "dog training class". The class had 2 instructors. During our first break, one instructor came over to me and said I was not teaching the Dane to heel correctly, and she took the lead and proceeded around the ring.
At the first sign of hesitancy, she grabbed the lead in both hands and yanked! My poor Dane literally screamed and threw herself backward almost landing on her back.
The other instructor immediately grabbed the lead, handed it to me and said, "Don't you EVER allow ANYONE to take control of your dog like that!"
Forget-Me-Not had been a very loving, sensitive and anxious-to-please puppy, but no longer. And even though I never went back to that class, her confidence was absolutely destroyed and she feared anyone coming up to her.
We worked hard bringing her to parks, to dog events, etc. to try to get her to trust people again, but she was emotionally scarred. Not being able to show her was a very small annoyance, but I was absolutely LIVID that her trusting and loving personality had been destroyed - and she never regained it fully, for the rest of her life. :-( It was a hard lesson to learn.
I don't rely on any particular trainer, training method or book, and highly suggest that my puppy owners don't either. If they really need to know some basic instruction methods - there are many wonderful book written by HUMANE authors who believe in "positive reinforcement" - NOT "negative enforcement", and work on a positive loving bond versus being obsessed with "dominance."
If you follow that popular tv personality "The Dog Whisperer" - PLEASE do some research on him. Look at his (excuse the expressions) "qualifications" and "background". Devotees of his are usually 1) new dog owners who are taken in by all the glitz, 2) folks who have never had a positive loving relationship with their dog, 3) people who are more interested in having robots so they can show off "how obedient and submissive" their dogs are, 4) sadistic sickos who feel that they need to dominate in order to succeed.
I will be happy to provide folks with many links to sites they really should look at before even considering following this guy.
There are several absolutely wonderful dog trainers who have written books. Please, please, please do your research well.
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Little Pixie's parents, Christine and James are two of my favorite dog trainers. They know exactly how to train Dachshunds, and are perfect examples of how much FUN training can be.
Playing actual games with their Dachshunds is something that I wish ALL Dachshund owners would do. Dachshunds are incredibly smart, but most folks just don't seem to know how to train them to play games.
"Obedience Training" doesn't have to be solely "Sit" "Stay" etc. but "Find it" and "Where's Daddy?" or "Take this to Daddy."
Our beloved little rescue, Sir Dudley DoRight (Dewey, for short) learned how to take things from me and bring them to my husband, and vice versa. I'd give him an object and say "Take it to Daddy" and he would trot directly to the room hubby was in and give it to him. Or we'd be watching tv during the evening, and hubby would give Dewey the tv guide and say, "Take it to Mommy" and little Dewey would bring it right over to me.
When Christine sent me a picture of Pixie modeling her new Mardi Gras dress for an upcoming parade, I asked her how on earth she had gotten Pixie to sit still and pose in the dress! Pixie was a rambunctious little tomboy growing up here and I couldn't picture her sitting still - let alone in a dress! Christine laughed when I asked her if Pixie had been drugged.
"Miss Pixie was not drugged (LOL) just in training. She gets special treats for sitting still in her clothes. When it gets warmer, she will get wagon training. I'm sure the people on my street thought I was crazy when they saw me pulling Peanut up and down the street in the wagon. All I have to do is tell Peanut "Wanna go for a ride?" and she will jump right in. Pixie's training begins soon. I even recruit a few kids to come up to the wagon and pet them so they get used to crowds. Pixie is our little lover girl and will tongue bathe anyone in sight!"
Christine went on to say, "When we pass out treats, we will say "This is Peanut's" and throw it on the ground and Pixie will NOT touch it till we say "This is Pixie's." James once threw 5 treats on the ground before he said "This is Pixie's" and she did not touch them until he spoke!"
Obedience Training opens up a whole new world, and a fun one because it basically creates an understanding of a "common language" between you and your Dachshund. Too few people ever experience that.
Take a look at this video, and notice how both Peanut and Pixie understand perfectly the words "Find it" during their 2011 Easter Egg hunt:
And look at the below video to see how well Pixie understands different words:
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One can train dogs up to almost human standards and teach them to reason things out, which many people say is impossible. Dogs CAN be taught to reason if the owners make an effort from the moment the dogs come into the house; and the best owners who do this are outgoing, full of fun, yet gentle and loving as well as firm, and if necessary can appear angry.
Most long-time dog owners know that, far from spoiling the dog's character, training enhances it. A trained dog's mind is educated; the look it his face is quite different from that of an untrained one and he has an aura of warm, friendly confidence.
Are Dachshunds really good dogs for training? Yes - they are excellent dogs for training. As a breed they are quick to respond and certainly intelligent. A Dachshund was never bred for the automatic robot response so instantly given by German Shepherds and Dobermans. A Dachshund, by temperament, tends to think for a moment about what you have said before executing your command. Allowing for individual and breed characteristics, the Dachshund is an excellent training candidate.
Remember that every living creature is affected by weather changes, changes of environment, moods, etc. and some days your dog will respond and learn better than others. Dogs are not robots.
Try to understand your puppy/dog. Children may scare a puppy or a dog, especially with their noise and quick, unpredictable movements. Black people may be perceived to have a more penetrating and intimidating stare than whites, the whites of the eyes being set off more in contrast by a dark than a light face. Unless a dog is used to a person with glasses, the glasses also accentuate the eyes and might make the eyes appear to be in a penetrating stare. Handicapped people - the blind, or crippled - may make some dogs uneasy because of their unusual behavior.
Delivery people who "invade" the dog's territory are especially likely to trigger an attack. This may be associated with some dogs' aversion for people in uniforms. A dog socialized exclusively with women may be more wary and sometimes aggressive toward men (and vice versa).
Rushing from one training school to another only bewilders a dog, for every trainer has his own tried methods and is unlikely to be impressed or influenced by the other ways that the owner might have been taught.
Your dog should be trained at home, since that is where you and he live. You may work indoors or outdoors. Just be sure that the area is free of distractions and has sufficient walking space. You should be alone with your dog (unless the exercise requires 2 people), the presence of other people is too distracting for him.
Plan daily practice sessions, from 15 - 20 minutes long. If your schedule permits you may schedule two sessions daily, but space them at least several hours apart. Allow your dog to rest after each session. Be sure to give your dog an opportunity to relieve himself before the start of each session. Do not feed him beforehand or he may become drowsy (especially puppies). If your dog is a frisky, young puppy or a hyperactive, nervous dog, limit your practice sessions to ten minutes each.
Your dog's response will vary from day to day and from command to command. Never rush him. It is important to repeat every successfully performed command 7 - 10 times before going on to the next one. Dogs learn by rote and the importance of repetition cannot be overemphasized. You should get in the habit of always repeating previously learned lessons before going on to anything new. Do not correct your dog until he has mastered the command being taught.
Always end the session with a command that he knows very well and praise him so that the sessions always end on a good note.
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Don't let your dog hurl himself at the door when the bell rings. This may be amusing in a puppy, but can lead to overexcitement as an adult.
Don't let your dog be a nuisance in the car. Teach "Down" and "Stay" so your dog rests comfortably and quietly while you are driving. Don't let your dog jump on people. The dog's toenails can ruin stockings and spoil clothes. Pat the dog at it's standing level. Do take your puppy out with you often when he is young. And don't leave him along indoors for long periods of time which will make him bored. Do enjoy your training.
Don't let your dog jump on people. The dog's toenails can ruin stockings and spoil clothes. Pat the dog at it's standing level.Don't let your dog run away after a reprimand. The dog will think it as won the contest, or at least not lost. Make sure the dog stays with you until you say it's okay otherwise.
Do take your puppy out with you often when he is young. And don't leave him along indoors for long periods of time which will make him bored.Do a little training every day.
Do enjoy your training.Don't take training too seriously. It is supposed to give both of you enjoyment.
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Do I have to go through a door first, so my dog knows I'm dominant?
Thanks to the emotionally sadistic "Dog Whisperer" the concept of "dominance" has gotten ridiculously out of hand. I ran across a website the other day which claimed that you should "never let a puppy grab a toy and run away from you because the puppy is displaying dominance" !!!!! What on earth! The puppy is displaying the NORMAL play behavior of tag - not dominance!
Regarding a dog going through a doorway ahead of you: a dog who pushes to go ahead of you is a LOT different than a dog who obediently goes ahead of you because you tell him to.
I WANT my dogs to go ahead of me through doorways - always! (They are not allowed to push ahead of me. If they try to push, they are corrected - by word - and wait until I tell them to go ahead of me.)
WHY would I want a dog BEHIND me???? I want to keep my eye on him! I want to be SURE he is going into (or out of) the house with me and not suddenly running off after something. I want to watch him as he goes up and down the steps so I can see if he has any trouble negotiating them, which can be the first sign of arthritis or a spinal, hip or leg problem. And (especially for a very young dog or a very old one) I want to make sure he doesn't trip and fall.
Would you insist that a CHILD go behind you???? No - you'd insist that he go properly (not running or pushing) ahead of you through a doorway - so you can watch him.
Having dogs going behind you is dangerous. Little dogs might dash forward, right under your feet, if they hear a knock on the door or the doorbell ringing (while going inside), or catch sight of a bird or squirrel (while going outside) and upset your balance making you fall or step on them.
Additionally, if you have a dog the size of a Great Dane, you SURE as heck don't want him BEHIND you when you are going through a doorway or around stairways. One stumble of him against you - and you go headfirst through the doorway or down the stairs.
Having dogs going properly IN FRONT of you when you go through doorways or down stairways is the sensible and SAFE thing to do.
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The owner should at all times convey to the dog by praise, speech and smiles that he has done well. While young puppies learn easily, they also forget easily. Lavish praise, petting, and patience are essential at this time. Any punishment should be mild and limited primarily to a harsh-toned reprimand.
Do not expect your puppy to learn the rights and wrongs overnight. Training takes patience and rewards. You have to give the puppy time to understand what you expect and then reward the puppy for doing the right thing. Never harshly correct a puppy for failure. It accomplishes nothing and could make him fearful.
Teaching puppies to "Come" will be easy. Just sit opposite someone on the floor and call "[puppy's name] - come!" and he will running to you and you will praise him, and laugh and hug and kiss him. Then the other person calls "[puppy's name] - come!" and the puppy will run to the other person and be praised and hugged and kissed.....back and forth.
You will be shocked when you see how easy it is to train a puppy to "Come!" - without going to a class, without reading a book or watching a video. [And those trainers who claim that you have to teach the command "Come!" by speaking in a loud, firm, authoritative manner- Oh, puh-leese! Whom would YOU rather go to - a stern-looking person who is barking out an order, or one who is smiling and happy?]
Teaching puppies to "Sit" will also be easy. Show the puppy a treat (piece of bread, cookie, cracker, cheese, etc) and say "Sit!" and then push his little rear end to the floor. While still holding him there, say "Good boy!" and give him the treat. Let him get up. Then show him a treat and say "Sit!" and push his rear end to the floor, say "Good boy!" and, while holding him there, give him the treat and say "Good boy!" He'll soon learn to plant his rump for the treat :-)
Teaching puppies the pre-requisite for heeling will also be easy. Once a day, for 10 - 15 minutes, have a simple off-lead follow session with the puppy. Do this in an area free of distractions. Set the puppy down. Walk slowly away, encouraging the pup to follow you. Say the pup's name often in a cheery tone of voice. Stop and praise the puppy often by petting him. Swoop, turn, trace a figure eight.
If the pup is encouraged to maximize his natural inclination to follow you at an early age, later stages of puppy independence will be handled more easily. The pup will already be oriented to you and comfortable in following you.
I have often heard folks complain that when they are teaching puppies/dogs to come, the puppies will often run toward the owner and then at the last minute, veer off as though trying to entice the owner in a game of tag.
They are much less likely to do so when you have your hand directly in contact with them; therefore when I train my puppies & dogs, "Come" doesn't just mean "come to me" - it means "put your muzzle in my hand." I hold my hand down low and say "Come <puppy's name>" When he has his muzzle in my hand - he has obeyed my command and is praised.
Once the puppy/dog has his muzzle in your hand, he is much less likely to break away. And once you have your hand on him, you have control.
At six months of age, the puppy is ready for the more intensive obedience training; "heel" " "stay" "down" etc.
Honestly, training puppies is not hard at all. I remember our fifth little girl, a little terrier mix puppy named "Pebbles." Our other four kids were lined up sitting on the floor and I put little Pebbles at the end of the line. I went down the line to each of the dogs and said "Give me some skin!" (shake hands) for their milkbone.
Each dog in turn held up his paw for a shake and got his milkbone. When I reached little Pebbles, who had been watching intently, I said "Give me some skin!" and I reached down to tap her little paw forward - but before I could reach it - she held her paw up so high it was like a "Salute!" lolololol Never had to "teach" her at all, she learned it just by observing the other dogs.
Don't make a "big deal" out of training! Enjoy it! Have fun - and make it fun for your dog, too.
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First of all: Start training your puppy to come when he is called! Do it in a controlled environment first. Do it with food - chicken, cheese, something VERY enticing. Say, "(puppy's name) - COME!" And put your hand down for him to put his muzzle in. He has NOT obeyed you until he has put his muzzle in your hand. There's a bit about that above.Second of all: The below is ONLY for use during a REAL escape – when your dog is taking off to the hinderland and there is a real danger of him running out of sight or into dangerous situations such as traffic. The below is NOT to be used when your dog is simply disobeying you and is confined into a safe environment (ie inside a fenced yard). IF he is simply disobeying you in a controlled environment....restart his obedience training - from the beginning.
But for REAL escapes:
There are a several thoughts on how to treat "escapees" - but I have a problem with most of them.
1. "Run after your dog, catch him and paddle him good." Boy, THAT'S not going to make him want to come to you if it ever happens again, is it! He's going to remember that when you caught up to him, he got paddled.
2. "Run after your dog, catch him and then praise him." And that sends a message that's just as bad. Hey - you can run away from me and get praised for it.
3. "Lie down and call the dog to come to you." A dog merrily escaping out the door or beneath a fence is not likely to come back to you just because you are lying down (or, when in a public area if you pretend to leave him). That reminds me of the woman who was sitting in her living room munching pizza and reading an article about dogs. The article stated that you could test your dog's love and loyalty by pretending to have a heart attack and falling down, stating that your beloved dog should run right to you and display concern. Thinking she'd give it a try, she pushed her pizza to the center of the coffee table, and without looking at her two dogs, she walked toward the kitchen, pressed her hand to her chest, gave a cry and collapsed onto the floor. Her startled dogs looked at her, looked at each other, and then made a beeline for the pizza.....lololol
IF your dog runs out an open door, or beneath a fence - you have to get him quickly (before he is hit by a car, or runs out of sight). No time to play games like lying down and "hoping" he'll come to you.
1. Scream. If one of our dogs gets beneath a fence and starts running - I SCREAM - and scare the living bejesus out of him. Since I'm always laughing and smiling and talking happily to them, they invariably freeze. Then they hunker down to the ground.
2. Go quickly to the dog, pick him up (no praise, no scolding - NOTHING) and carry him back to where he's supposed to be. NO reaction other than the initial scream (or hubby's bellow). THAT's what you want the dog to remember - nothing else.....not scolding after, and certainly not praise after. Don't put him on a lead - PICK him up, don't speak to him; just take him silently back to where he is supposed to be....and go about your business. He will look at you trying to gauge your emotion - he might try to lick your face, or pee in fear - whatever. Do not react - do not even look at him. All you want him to think of is being scared with the hollar or scream - that's it - that's what you want him to remember.
Rushing out an open door or burrowing beneath a fence (or maneuvering out behind a loose fence board) seem to be the most common "escapes." And, of course....prevention is the key.
Check your fence frequently (daily if you have a wooden fence (board on board, or stockade/privacy). If you can't fence the yard where the door opens up to - then put up some babygates and make sure they are closed before you open the front/back door.
Kidco (I think the link is on the Dog Supplies page) has "center gates" which will fit most doorways; but they also have an extended gates for larger doorways/entranceways.
Driveway alarms are great. I like to know if someone is coming down the driveway before the doorbell rings. When the driveway alarm goes off, I simply close the babygates which keep the dogs away from the front door - and then can open the door without worrying about them dashing through it.
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The correcting of a dog should inevitably give more pain to the owner than it does to the dog. Dogs are the most wonderful creatures to own because they don't brood about the past, they don't hold a grudge against their owners, they seem to know when correction is fair and just, and they definitely have consciences, which to me proves that they also have souls.
Physical punishment (such as smacking or choking) is only to be used as a last resort and should only be used if a dog, without rhyme or reason, attacks another dog or a person. The inflicting of pain on him at these attacks is an "eye for an eye" and is a quick and effective deterrent for a very serious crime. Smacking should be done over the dog's rump; never hit a dog on it's face - and I would NEVER suggest a leash jerk on a Dachshund, or hitting a Dachshund on his back - you don't want to damage his spine. And no punishment should ever involve a newspaper.
Do not confuse correction with cruelty. There is a lot of confusion between those two right now among new parents who think any discipline/correction is cruel. Have you ever seen the children of this type? They are loud, bratty, undisciplined, rude and the type you cringe from in restaurants and movie theaters. The parents cannot control them, and do not discipline/correct them. Parents who have healthy, happy, well-behaved children usually make wonderful dog owners. People who have bratty children usually make very irresponsible dog owners.
One other thing, pay NO attention to any person, book, trainer, etc who tells you that you have to ignore the dog after disciplining him. By showing him that he is loved at all times (even after disciplining) you are letting him know that you are mad at his ACTIONS, not HIM. Dogs are not stupid, they can fully understand that concept.
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The mind of a dog is forever open to taking in, by touch, by telepathy, and by talking, the feelings, the ideas, emotions and wishes of his owner. That is, if the dog loves his owner.
To get through to a dog's mind you need hands that on touching the dog send messages of love and sympathy to his brain.
You need a voice with a wide range of tones to convey your wishes and feelings toward the dog.
You need eyes that tell your dog who watches them what you are feeling toward him, even though the message may be hidden from the outside world.
Above all, you need telepathy so that your dog thinks with you.
Dogs above all creatures love honesty of purpose. If you pat your dog and your fingers are not carrying that loving message, you don't deceive the dog.
The tone of voice must convey great joy to your dog. It must convey to him that you think him the most wonderful dog on earth. (Half the trouble in "training classes" is the natural restraint and reserve that stifles people in public. They cannot forget themselves, they cannot abandon themselves to working and praising the dog.)
It is extraordinary how dogs pick up praise straight from your brain almost before you have had time to put it into words. A dog's mind is so quick in picking up your thoughts that, as you think of them, they enter the dog's mind simultaneously. In the same way you can often know what the dog is thinking before he thinks and can often therefore stop him from being naughty or disobedient before he has erred. This spares the necessity of correcting him and helps speed up training.
Praise can be given in so many way - by tidbits for a puppy, by tone of voice, by scratching a dog's chest, by kissing, or just by looking straight into their eyes and smiling. You can't deceive dogs. It doesn't matter whether you say "Good dog!" or "Rumplestiltskin," the dog knows what you mean.
"Praise your dog" doesn't necessarily mean a big, hearty pat. Lay your face alongside that of your dog with his face cupped in your hands, and sense that your deep love and admiration for him passes right through to his mind. You have already said "What a good dog!" and clapped hands to show approval, but a dog needs more than that if you are to get his complete mind in tune with yours.
Unhappy are the owners who think this all stuff and nonsense; for it makes dogs truly happy.
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No - not from our dogs, but from today's children.
I was just looking over my first report card, yup - grade 1; and I was 6 years old. We were graded with:
E - Excellent
S - Satisfactory
I - Improvement Needed
U - Unsatisfactory
The categories we were graded on were these (and remember, we were all of SIX years old):
Recognizes and remembers words
Understands what is read
Reads well out loud
Is able to recall what is read
Understands and uses numbers
Knows number facts and skills
Solves written problems
Listens and follows directions
Uses time to advantage
Completes work started
Works well independently
Takes care of materials
Does work neatly
Works well with others
Works up to capacity
Concentrates on work at hand
Plays well with others
Expects only fair share of time and attention
Accepts correction of own errors and misbehavior
Shares with others
Keeps clean and neat
Comes to school rested and alert
Practices good health habits
I can think of college kids, and young adults in the work force who would flunk the above. A shame that today's society seems to concentrate more on training dogs than training children; insisting that former be obedient and well-behaved - but not the latter.
And speaking of education, it's apparent that the "no child left behind" policy - where kids are promoted to higher education levels when they are not ready for it - is becoming a national problem. They are now in the workforce. How many times have you come across a person who is not interested in doing his job, not even interested in TRYING to do his job? I felt like banging my head against the keyboard last night when scanning the online catalog of our local library and finding the book "Journey to the Center of the Earth" categorized as "Non Fiction Travel."
One of my Favorite Internet Finds:
The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, "Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?"
I replied, "I had a drug problem when I was young:
I was drug to church on Sunday morning.
I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.
I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.
I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults, when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.
I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity.
I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and the cockleburs out of dad's fields.
I was drug to the homes of family and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood. And if I had accepted one red cent from those folks for helping, my ears were boxed and I was drug back to return the money and apologize for taking it.
Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, or think.
They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, the world would be a better place.
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A list of do's and don'ts for inexperienced puppies who have a house to run!
1. Throwing Up: When you feel it coming, quickly get onto an expensive chair or davenport. If you can't manage this in time, get to an Oriental rug (for those of you without oriental, shag is a good substitute.)
* Get plenty of sleep in the daytime so that you are fresh for playing between 2 and 4 in the morning.
* Never, under any circumstances, submit to sleeping in "your bed."
* Laps are the best possible spot for napping. Most humans, if conditioned properly, will quickly realize that it is unkind to get up or disturb you in any other way. When you outgrow laps, learn to make yourself comfortable by using one or more of their feet as pillows.
* Do not allow closed doors in any room. To get one opened, stand on hind legs and scratch. Once the door is opened for you, it is not necessary to us it. You can change your mind (several times).
* When you have ordered an outside door opened, stand half-in and half-out and think about several things. (Particularly important during very cold weather and mosquito season.) Don't worry - they will not shut the door on you.
* Never eat food from your own bowl if you can steal or beg from the table.
* Do not settle for a "well-balanced diet" of dog food. If you are steadfast in your refusal to eat such unappetizing rubbish, they will soon begin to coax you with fresh liver, ground round, etc.
* Determine quickly which guests hates dogs. Sit on that lap during the evening. If you can arrange to have puppy food on your breath, so much the better.
* For sitting in laps or rubbing against trouser legs, select colors which contrast with your own. Example: for piebald Dachshunds, a pair of black wool pants is best.
* Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.
* For the guest who says, "I just love puppies!" or "Aren't puppies absolutely adorable?" be ready with:
* aloof distain
* a long yawn, indicating that you are bored and ready to take a nap
* quick, sharp nip on the ankle
* For book readers, get in close under the chin. Unless, of course, you can lie across the book itself.
* For people addressing envelopes (monthly activity), writing Christmas cards, or doing income taxes (annual activities), keep in mind the aim: To Hamper. First, sit on the papers getting worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of table for a while before resuming. After being removed for the second time, push roll of stamps off table; follow with pens and pencils, one at a time.
* When supervising cooking, sit just behind left heel of cook. This way you cannot be seen and thereafter stand a better chance of being stepped on, picked up, and fussed over.
* If one of your people is sewing, balancing the checkbook, or on the computer, and the other one is merely sitting, position yourself next to the busy one and follow rules outlined above.
Start this training early, and in a short time you will be the master or mistress of a comfortable, smooth-running household.
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