Thursday, July 4, 2013


My son was devastated to have lost another critical Lego piece to our nine-month-old border collie.
"That's what happens when you leave your stuff lying around," I said. Tiny objected.
"But I thought he was well-trained," he cried.
"You're well-trained, and you do crazy stuff all the time."

We have pondered the curious sight of my son's smurf-blue poop (a certain someone sucked down a blue sharpie, no kidding), his bizarre tendency to flush household items down the toilet as a protest against visiting his father (couldn't he just draw a picture full of angst like other kids?), and his occasional exhibitionist behavior (for no reason whatsoever). In fact, my son isn't at all a far stretch from the aforementioned puppy, whom we have taught to respond appropriately to a myriad of commands, including "Toby, don't lick your wiener." He needed only a little time to figure out the ban on wiener-licking in my presence. My son needed a greater deal of training, however, for his wiener-issue last year, but he now responds well to "Tiny, quit flashing your wiener." Licking and flashing aside, both critters, despite receiving plenty of affection, structure, and nurturing to coach them into being socially acceptable, occasionally indulge in random miscreant behavior. Because it's fun. Because they can. Wieners aside, they share a common bond.

They are both brilliant thieves. The pup gleefully steals Legos, socks, underwear, Kleenex, and blankies. This year, my son's booty included a Kindle, a watch, miscellaneous Lego guys, and ten dollars. Each time, we stepped up Tiny's training.  And just when I thought he was untrainable, the cycle broke, and Tiny restored himself with a sense of respect for other people's things... most of the time. Toby recently skulked into the living room with a stolen peanut butter and jelly sandwich, flashed it before me, and then lay down in complete shame and resignation. Of the two beasts, he is by far the easier one to train.

Despite the struggle to thwart thievery, Tiny is a leader in the manner in which he returns items (most of the time). We hope his approach inspires his four-legged friend to do the same. Normally, stolen items are returned pretty much in the manner in which they were snatched-- whole, unbroken, unsoiled. Right now, our fuzzy fella gladly returns the Legos he steals, but 24 hours later processed in a pile of poop in the backyard.

We take our training one day at a time chez Catiche. Wish us luck.

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