We all know dogs have selective hearing.
When Amore was in her teenage years, she was a handful. Headstrong, willful, she refused to “sit”, “stay” or “come” when we called to her. Totally blew us off. Even with the promise of a treat, she would ignore us when we issued commands. Oh, she heard us alright. We would see her ears twitch, her head would cock to the side, her little brain thinking and then she would give us her tail. The canine equivalent to flipping us the bird.
Malcolm would put on his serious voice, deepening the word as he gave the command. “Come” he would say in his stern sargent’s voice.
“Come!” he repeated, sharpening the directive.
“Amore! COME!!” he said for the third time.
Amore gave him the look and went back to what she was doing. There was no “three-time’s-a-charm” ol’ college try. And, after the third repeat, dogs really don’t tune in anymore. All they hear is yada, yada, yada, etc., etc., etc., and so on and so on and so on.
After talking to a dog trainer, we realized Amore just didn’t like the word “come”. Why? It started with a “C”. Poor baby, it hurt her ears. It seems a lot of dogs comprehend “H” and “W” word commands easier. Who knew?
Word commands such as HERE, HEEL, HUPP (H + up), and WAIT, are more pleasing to their ears. All one-syllable words. Words like HOLD, HUGG, WHERE, WALK, and WHAT (to be said when furiously barking) became synonymous with the old standards of, come, sit, follow, up, stay, stand, no, load up, fetch and find.
Malcolm and I liked the new commands, not only were they one-syllable, but they were mostly four-letter words. Always a good feeling to spew those. In the past, there was nothing like a four-letter word to get the point across.
G.A.W.D D.A.M.N it D.A.W.G. C.O.M.E.! Screamed in frustration.
or, my favorite,
F # & K – N.O.T.T. my N.U.T.T.s, said in pain as Amore jumped, paws first, on Malcolm as he was spawled on the couch.
We switched our command to “HERE” (minus the gawd damn) and lo and behold, Amore obeyed. Came wanting her treat, but she came none the less. We now say “WAIT” to Amore before allowed to sit on the sofa, with all body parts preserved. HUPP is for the girls to load up into the car for a WALK, and HUGG will get you a cuddle and dog licks as their paws wrap around our waist.
And Malcolm and I, we have a running joke about what Amore and Dolce actually hear……..