Thursday, October 14, 2010

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More Wag, Less Bark

We are still plagued with a puppy who barks. I've figured out several reasons why Her Royal Highness Berkeley barks:

  1. I'm sick of this place and I want to leave.

  2. Pay attention to me. Now!

  3. Don't stop petting me. (This to Austin, a freshman who came in to visit her. He had the unfortunate experience to be a wonderful dog petter and then he stopped. She was not amused.)

  4. This is boring. (See #1, very similar)

  5. I hate the library (although, this might be, the floor is cold and I hate the library).

All of the above are not acceptable. She can't be a barker. But we are at our wit's end about what to do about it. Take for example last Friday at the all school convo where we were celebrating our school's 50th anniversary. (Yeah, I'm going there, stay with me.)

Here is a shot of Her Royal Highness sitting comfortably behind my shoes on the gym floor with the bleachers at her back. We got through the prayer and the pledge just fine. We all sang the Alma Mater great. But then the speeches started and HRH began to get a wee bit restless. She did a bit of twisting and twirling and then she did her little part groan/part low bark. In poker, they call it a tell. When you do something that let's other people in on what's in your hand, what you are up to. It's a precursor to the I'm going to through a fit in a minute. I turned to the religion teacher on my left who was sitting at the end of the bleacher.

"Would you change seats with me? She's going to bark."

"Uh, sure!" She leaped up and we moved over. Then I looked back to the exit door. HORRORS! It was filled with children! All sitting down and covering the floor. Not a smidge of room to make an exit. Time for the librarian stare.

I turned to the first few kids nearest me, "I need a pathway to the exit door!" I managed to put a high degree of panic in my voice (how that happened I have no idea (think Headmaster!). Suddenly, as if I were Moses, there was a path through the upper students to the exit door. I sat and waited for the fit.

Two minutes later, it arrived. right as the alum from 1974 was extolling the virtues of going to school with crocodiles (seriously, I was no longer listening), HRH made a joyful, piercing noise. One bell ringing, high pitched, get me the heck out of here bark. The entire school heard it.

Without making eye contact with anyone, we high tailed it out the parted red sea of upper division students and I deposited her back in the library for a little nap and partial time out with Jan.

Fortunately for HRH, she does have an exceedingly beautiful face and a charmingly waggy tail which can go into wag overdrive at a truly amazing speed. So on those days when she barks, I am now trying to focus on the tail and not the head. Bark less, wag more. One of my students bought me a coffee mug that said that and also to think pawsitive. It is very cute and is in my office to remind should I become discouraged with her.

Here's a short video with a few scenes of HRH shaking her tail feathers. Watch for her putting it all in overdrive!

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