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The Syntax of Submission

The Syntax of Submission

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Published by Disaster on Heels

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Published by: Disaster on Heels on Sep 06, 2010
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The Syntax of Submission

www.disasteronheels.com You should know that last week my parents finally got the grandchild they've been waiting for. There's a new cuddly object of affection in the house who is keeping my parents up all night, and his name is Wilson. Wilson is some kind of gourmet dog--a golden poo, or a doodlecocker. I'm not sure exactly, but I do know that my parents spent months on a waiting list to adopt this miniature, hypoallergenic home-wrecker. Last night my sister and I received the following email: ________________________________________________________________ Dear Daughters, I thought I should send along the proper vocabulary to use with Wilson before your next visit. Consistency is everything and perhaps if I had practiced that principle that with you both things might have turned out differently. "Leave it"-- applies to untying shoelaces, pulling at the rugs, taking things off tabletops, chewing shoes, eating the newspaper, emptying the wastebaskets, etc. This is to be said in a firm, no nonsense tone of voice. “ComeWilson” –this is used to get him out of the street, to get him into the house, to distract him from digging up the perennials, etc. Tone of voice is upbeat, excited, as in it is an exciting thing for him to do what you are asking. He gets a treat for this. “Go Potty”— I know, he doesn’t actually sit on the toilet, but this term if better than “do-business”, “go pee”, “go poopy”, etc. The latter two require understanding of the difference between pee and poop, and frankly I don’t give a damn as long as it isn’t done in the house. Tone of voice somewhat urgent here, like you don’t have all day to wait. Gets a treat every time, even when he fakes it. “Sit" — an essential command to keep him from running away when you try to grab him. Always gets a treat for this. “No bite”—applies to nearly everything that comes within his range of sight right now, so master this command before you set foot in the door. This includes your hands, elbows, clothing, your bedding, all furniture legs, rugs, and anything not tied down. Tone of voice here is sharp, quick, authoritative. ________________________________________________________________ I was also told that Wilson will be starting puppy kindergarten next week. I can only assume this is because my mother senses he's on the verge of mastering all of her pedestrian commands, and that his active brain is hungry for more. My hope is that puppy kindergarten will teach him the fundamentals that will give him the leg-up on an Ivy League canine education, where he will crack under the pressure, lose several years to pot, and eventually find himself and start a volunteer program to service displaced squirrels. My mom also shared her plans to bring Wilson into Fetch (one of three local pet stores, but the one with the most caché) in the hopes that they will want to feature him in some of their promotional materials. (We once had a golden retriever who, on one serendipitous morning run, was "scouted" by L.L. Bean photographers in the midst of a photo shoot. Our pooch made the catalog, catapulting its owners into a glorious anonymous fame, now immortalized in the full-page parka ad that hangs on our refrigerator.) When I asked for a photo of this prodigy puppy with striking good looks who is cunning enough to "fake it" for treats, she sent me this:

I took one look at this doggy Baby Bjorn and I knew my mother had completely lost her mind. I was horrified until I realized that somehow, in his puppy-genius way, Wilson has managed to hit "snooze" on my mother's grandparental biological clock. To which I reply in a calm, authoritative tone: "Sit, Mother...Stay."


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