Within about five minutes of walking in our neighborhood recently, I heard Spanish and possibly Chinese being spoken. We also have several residents from India or Pakistan and lots of people speaking English, of course.
The diversity in my neighborhood is one reason why I love my adopted hometown of Austin—though I will always claim Dayton* as my home. However, regardless of the language being spoken, a certain four-legged amigo of mine doesn’t like to listen sometimes. She has what my mom calls “selective hearing.”
Me (calling Katniss from our back door): “Katniss, come.”
Katniss (prancing): “Nope.”
Me: “Katniss! Come!”
Katniss: “Sorry, Daddy, I see a squirrel I want to maul!”
Katniss (trying to climb a tree): “I’m busy!”
Me: “Katniss, come inside NOW!”
Katniss: “Helllll no!”
Any attempt to bring her inside physically is laughable; she’s almost impossible to catch. So I close the door, pretending I’m not interested in her (even though I’m watching her through the blinds). I open the door again, which gets her attention. And this time I have bait.
Me (dropping some Pup-Peroni treats on the floor inside the house where she can see them): “Katniss, come!”
I sort of have her attention.
Me: “Katniss, COME!”
She refuses to stop barking—now that another dog in some unseen yard is barking—and has clearly lost interest in Dad.
I shut the door again and consult my “Training Secrets for German Shepherds” magazine issued by “Dog Fancy” magazine. It says:
“The average German shepherd will not come when called if trained solely with cookies and cheese.”
Katniss is definitely not the average German shepherd (although we think she is a mix—more on that in the next post).
I try the treats again anyway to lure her inside.
Me: “Katniss, come!”
Katniss: “I’m still barking, Daddy!”
I drop a couple more treats on the ground, relying on her excellent hearing and smelling abilities to notice them. Her ears perk up, and she trots into the house as if we hadn’t been negotiating for the past 10 minutes.
To be fair, there are many times when I open the door, call her only once and Katniss immediately prances inside. In the summer she was doing a great job of listening, but she has gotten more stubborn lately. I think she’s testing me.
I also used to make the mistake of letting her out in the middle of the night or the morning without having her on a leash. It would take forever to get her back inside. Luckily I smartened up, and I’m no longer playing what my wife calls the “Katniss Game,” in which we have to chase her and beg and plead to get her to come in. That’s always fun at 4 a.m.
Katniss is a good girl, but man she can be stubborn. Is your dog that way, guey?
*I was watching a couple episodes of “The Blacklist” with my wife lately on Netflix, and the show mentioned Dayton FOUR TIMES! That has to be a record, right?