“The Dog Whisperer Shakes His Head” by Gregory Lamping

This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Dogs.”

“You need to be the boss!”

Those are the words I keep hearing from Cesar Millan, the self-proclaimed “Dog Whisperer.” As a dog owner, I know I should be the boss, the pack leader, the alpha male, but there are some dogs that adamantly refuse to get with the program.

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Take “Monkey,” my Border Collie. He’s too quirky and stubbornly independent to go along with who’s the boss and who’s following whom and all that stuff. Most dogs, for instance, love a car ride. They would leap through flaming hoops over a pit of hungry crocodiles to get into a car. Not Monkey.

I decided to drive him to the park for a walk today. Opening the car door, I told him to get in. He looked up at me as if to say, “Why?” I felt like telling him, “Well, we can either just stand here and grow old together and let our neighbors peek out their windows every now and then wondering why we’re still standing in the driveway looking like idiots, or YOU CAN GET IN THE CAR!!!”

Since he’s not one for sensible explanations, I tossed a doggy treat onto the back seat. He looked it over, thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if that’s one of those cheap doggy biscuits made out of the same flour marked ‘famine relief,’ or does it contain some real meat?” He concluded it was probably made from famine-relief flour and not worth a jump.

I then opened the opposite car door and peered at him from the other side, vigorously clapping my hands, saying, “Come on, Monkey! Hop in! You can do it!” He ignored my cheers. I went to Plan D, pleading, “Monkey, please. Be a good boy. Get into the car. Pleee-ee-eease!” And when that didn’t work, I launched Plan E: I lifted him into the car, pushed his butt forward with both hands and slammed the door.

I imagined the Dog Whisperer telling me, “You need to be a calm and assertive leader and show confidence!” I know, but my way is better than growing old together, standing in the driveway and waiting for the confidence to kick in.

When we got to the park, Monkey decided he wanted to stay in the car. The dog that didn’t want to get in the car in the first place now refused to get out! He closed his eyes to nap, but I had no patience for this game. I clipped the leash to his collar and pulled him out of the backseat.

Later in the walk, I let Monkey off leash so he could break free and run circles around me, pretending I’m a little lost lamb in need of some direction. On our way back to the car, however, I noticed he was falling farther and farther behind, like a teenage boy too embarrassed to be seen walking with his parents to a church sing-along.

By the time I got to the parking lot, he was so far behind I wasn’t sure he was even following me at all. In the distance, I spotted him lying under a tree, nonchalantly enjoying the weather, not realizing that trying to survive in the park for the rest of his life without me could easily turn into his worst nightmare.

Since I know he wouldn’t hear me if I called him—even if I used a blow horn—I went back to where he was lying. Once he saw that I was about to clip the leash on him, he jumped up and playfully attacked it. I then walked back to the car, pulling Monkey with his jaws clamped on the leash, telling him, “Wowee, you are one tough guy! What big muscles!”

And to that, I envisioned the Dog Whisperer turning away and shaking his head.

Dogs 250_RGBGregory Lamping is a psychiatric nurse living in Kirkwood, Missouri. He enjoys daily hikes with his darling beagle, Scooter, and his Border Collie, Monkey, who no longer has any problems getting in and out of cars.

Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Dogs.” The book features 57 terrific dog-approved tales written by their humans! Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1dCBc7w) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/12dsCKY).

To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.