Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bark Off!

On Tuesday an often repeated mistake occurred again in our family:  someone let Daddy go shopping.  In the days before there was some talk that my barking may have gone beyond an acceptable limit.  To this I say:  arf arf arf arf arf......arf...arf.....arf arf arf...arf...grrr....arf arf arf.  My barking, as that of my sister Pocket, is only done at very necessary times.

Pocket barks while she plays ball, but these are happy barks; we bark when someone comes over (and if it is Mommy arriving home, try to kill one another for her entertainment); we bark when a noise occurs that is not accompanied by a sight so we bark to draw out whatever makes noise; and I bark, incessantly, when Mommy and Daddy are eating, and Monster has to have some.    This seems to be the most annoying.  I told them if my barking bothered them all they had to do was tell me.

They claim they do.  But I can't here them.  Because of the noise from my barking.  But then Daddy did the thing he did  He went into the section that is called "As Seen On TV."  You would think he would come home with a Kardashian.  But, no he came back with this hideous thing called a Bark Off.

If you are unaware of this torturous mechanism let me explain.  When I bark it is supposed to send out this high pitched sound that bothers dogs and makes them stop barking.  What a bunch of bull vick.  When I saw it I laughed at Daddy.  "Why didn't you just buy some magic beans?" I asked, "those things don't work."

"Let's try it," he said.  He turned it on and yelled squirrel.  Like Flashlight (little known name of Pavlov's dog) I barked.  And the noise this Bark Off emittted made my brain ache.

I stomped my paws on the ground while Pocket, who was not paying attention to the conversation, began panting and running around the house looking for the source of the noise.  "Don't do that!" I barked and the thing went off again causing me to put my paws to my ears and Pocket to start running around the house like Rain Man when he set off the smoke alarm.  Frustrated, I climbed up on the chair in the kitchen and he sat down at the head of the table.

It was time for a sit down.  He turned off the dangerous device.  "You cannot use that thing ever again," I said.

"I agree," Daddy said.  "Easy training devices like this never work for long, you and Pocket will get used to it."  We turned to look at Pocket running head first into the front door.  "But you two need to ease up at the barking," Daddy said.

"We don't bark that much," I said defensivelly.

"Every time we sit down to eat you bark and bark until we give you a kibble, and when we give you one you start barking before you swallow it."

"I don't want you to forget I'm here," I said.

"Foley, both Mommy and I search the house whenever we can't find you, we will never forget you are here."

I considered this.  "OK, I can curb my barking during dinner but dogs have to bark."

"I agree," Daddy said.  "We won't leave this on all the time.  If we didn't want little barkers in the house we wouldn't have bought dogs.  But here is the deal.  You get to bark but when we tell you quiet you need to be quiet.  If you continue to bark we are going to show you the Barker."

Daddy picked it up and showed it to me.  Pocket saw it and ran out of the room to hide under the bed.  "If you see this you know it's time to stop barking."  I nodded.  "If you don't then we will turn it on for a couple of seconds."

"I think we should receive several warnings," I countered.

But I was told one "quiet", one show of the Barker, then it would be turned on.  I agreed and we each made a paw print on the contract I drew up.  There was no need for Pocket to sign.  She was so worked up she might never bark again.

Well, me being a monster, I had to push the limits.  That night, after being slipped a kibble while Mommy and Daddy ate, I barked for more.  Daddy told me to be quiet in his stern voice that makes me laugh.  I continued to bark.  He showed me the Barker.   But I didn't think he had the paws to use it.  So I let out another defiant bark.  He pressed the button.


I had learned my lesson.  Somehow the humans had bested me.

Since then they have only had to use it one other time.  It took Pocket three days to come back for kibble at the supper table.  It was like she thought the kibble was making the noise.  But I am scheming to get the upper hand on them again.  I do have a reputation to uphold.

But let me say this about The Barker and other devices that are meant to skirt training.  Nothing can replace a human.  I think Daddy and I worked out a good compromise for this hideous device.  It is the last option to stop my somewhat annoying barking.  I must give him credit I do respond to his command of quiet much better now.

But there are no short cuts in human training.  They can't be allowed to buy something, let them plug it in, and our behavior is modified.  Make your humans work for your good behavior.  Don't just respond because they bought something they saw on TV.  If you do they will never learn anything.


  1. So it works then? Like *really* actually works? Oh feeeeeeeeeelix. You're reign of terror is OVER

  2. I propose a junk pile. Get a hold of the stupid think and sent it to the junk pile. I have relegated the nail trimmer thing to the junk you have seen it on TV it is basically a spinning file. IIIIIICK. My new line to my humans, "Come on, you are smarter than that no?"

  3. Wow. Mom got us to stop with treats yesterday. We didn't start barking again so we hope this compromise works for us.

  4. Boy, I'm glad I'm not a big barker, except for when Kitty Kimber brings in a mouse. He never hurts the mice, but likes to play with them and that's where my barking comes in. I go insane until the little critter is captured by this "great black hunter". I'm not as nice as Kimber; once I catch the mouse it's "lights out". Tsk tsk, little critter. Love, Blazer