How to train your human (guest post by Pirate the greyhound)
As a former racing greyhound, you are among the crème de la crème of the canine world. It is important that you remember this fact when you move in to take charge of your new human family.
1) Establishing your rule.
Your family may initially resist your attempts to take control of the household and they may try and coax or persuade you to follow their rules. Do not be put off by this. They will come round to your way of thinking.
Remember, your best weapon is your hangdog look. Try it out now: lie down, put your head on your paws (for extra persuasive power, trying putting one paw slightly over your nose and peek through the gap) and do your very best big, forlorn eyes. This is the time to draw on all that RADA training: you need to channel all your disappointments – all those lost rabbits and missed opportunities to smell other dogs’ butts – and you need to make them count. Do this, my friend, and you’ll be the top dog in your new home, you mark my words.
2) Make sure life revolves around you.
When you first enter your new home, your family will probably shower you with love and affection as they will be so excited to see you. After a while though, this will begin to wear off and they will think that they can get on with jobs like cooking their tea or sorting their washing, without having to pet you constantly. This is unacceptable and you need to nip it in the bud right away.
Start by following them from room to room, making sure you stick close to them so that every time they turn, they collide with you. A really clever trick is to angle yourself so that a minor injury is inevitable as they walk around the room: this will make them feel so guilty at having unintentionally harmed you that they will apologise profusely, smother you with affection, and your goal will have been achieved.
Under no circumstances should you let up your programme of attention-seeking. Your family need to understand your abnormally high need for company. They will soon realise that resistance is futile.
3) Ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
If you feel lonely in the night, don’t be afraid to call your humans down to keep you company. They’ll love it. Start off with a small forlorn whine but if that doesn’t work, feel free to escalate rapidly into a full blown woof. You can be safe in the knowledge that any human living in a terraced house will be desperate to save their reputation with the neighbours. They’ll come running down to comfort you and if you keep up a bit of intermittent barking, they’ll probably bring their blankets and keep you company sleeping on the sofa. Simples.
If you eventually decide to go along with their program and sleep downstairs on your own, make sure you keep your humans on their toes by periodically barking unexpectedly in the night forcing them to sprint downstairs, wild-eyed and partially clothed, to calm and placate you (and try to avoid upsetting the neighbours!).
4) Don’t ever lower your standards.
If you are ever asked to jump, climb or crouch in an undignified manner, refuse. Don’t even entertain the idea. If you stay strong in your resolve, your human will eventually cave in and lift you to where you need to be.
My new owners have quickly learnt that no amount of promised treats will make me jump into the car boot and after 5 minutes of encouraging noises and progressively sterner looks, they will give up and lift me into the boot. Similarly, when we found ourselves on the wrong side of a locked gate, they should have realised they were on to a losing wicket when they tried to cajole me into crouching under a fence. I am a king amongst dogs; I do not grovel on my belly!
When faced with these dilemmas, you must stay firm until they realise they have no choice but to lift all 30kg of you over the obstacle in your path so you can continue your journey in a dignified manner. Be sure to keep a serene look of superiority on your face and your head held high throughout the whole process and they will soon learn that there will be no compromises and no backing down.
And there you have them; my tips for success. Retired greyhounds everywhere: we have raced, we have won; and now ….we rest.