I can't believe I missed the first series of Dog Borstal, but my enthusiasm for the second series is making up for it. Last week, it was the turn of two Chihuahuas, Ruff and Tumble. Tumble was the fallguy, because Ruff was definitely in charge - taking on three rottweilers all at once, being banned from every park in walking distance and attacking every woman in a hat he could find. Part of the charm of this programme for me is seeing how incapable the owners are of controlling their dogs(my dog of course is perfectly behaved, hahahaha). Ruff's owner is Xavier, a 6ft 2in weightlifter. First instruction for him - stop picking Ruff up. Put the dog at your level and he thinks he's in charge of you. It worked a treat. All the dogs at Dog Borstal have to undergo an examination before they can go home (really, it's the owners who are being tested, but they don't seem to realise. Surely they do? But no, they really don't seem to. They congratulate their dogs at the end like mad whereas it's them who have actually changed their behaviour). Ruff's examination consisted of having women in hats walk in front of him, behind him, beside him. I laughed until I was crying, but still Ruff remained calm. When Xavier's partner (and Ruff's co-owner) came running up to congratulate the dog, Xavier barked out a sharp: 'Don't pick him up, you bend down to him instead so he's not at your level.' Ooo, Xavier's got the training habit bad, I think. As the programme publicity says: "There’ll be tears, tantrums and heartbreak on the road to reform."
A couple of years ago there was a novel I liked the look of, which consisted of a woman using a dog obedience manual to train her man. I never read the book, because somehow in the end it felt a bit demeaning, but the writer perhaps didn't take it far enough. In the New York Times, Amy Sutherland writes amusingly about training her husband with skills she's picked up from dolphin trainers. She even starts taking notes about his behaviour.
The exotic animal known as Scott is a loner, but an alpha male. So hierarchy matters, but being in a group doesn't so much. He has the balance of a gymnast, but moves slowly, especially when getting dressed. Skiing comes naturally, but being on time does not. He's an omnivore, and what a trainer would call food-driven.The article did get even funnier though when she admitted he started using the techniques on her too....
Writing prompt 12-2007: Women in hats