I felt bad this morning because I had to trick Bernie into going into his crate when I had to leave.
It's a morning ritual that takes a good 30 minutes of our time -- me loping along behind him, trying to convince him to go into the crate. I bribe. I plead. I try to ignore him and fool him into thinking it's his idea. Finally, at some point I catch him off guard just enough to grab him and carry him to the crate. It's exhausting and it's not the way I want it to be, but I've failed at finding a good method that works.
This morning it got to be so frustrating that I resorted to THE LEASH. He LOVES to go anywhere and THE LEASH almost always is a guarantee of a fun adventure.
So. I get the leash and Bernie goes nuts, dancing around the house and squealing like a little pig. I follow along, actually leading him to his crate, like I'm trying to get hold of him to attach the leash.
The ploy works -- for now. We made it to the crate and he was insane enough that I just shoved him right on in.
OH NOES! the gnashing of teeth and the wailing of "I've been tricked!" It was almost pitiful and I almost felt sorry for resorting to it, but then remembered how many times my own mom pulled the football out from in front of me when I was about to kick it, a la Lucy and Charlie Brown. Trickery has its place, now and then.
All day, though, I carried the burden of my guilt with me, like a St. Bernard lugs its keg of whiskey. I felt I owed Bernie some makeup fun.
So tonight I really did put his leash on him and we went for a ride around town, radio and air conditioner blasting. He got to see other people walking other dogs. He squealed with longing to be the one walking. He saw others riding in neighboring cars and they exchanged knowing glances -- kind of like teenagers pulling up to the light at the same time and knowing "Yeah, I could take you."
After making a loop around the city, we headed to Sonic, where I pushed the button and Bernie placed his order of "whiiiiiinnnnnnne! whiiiiiiimmmmper!" When the human answered, I placed our "real" order. Two junior deluxe burgers, one plain. A small Diet Coke for me and an ice water for Bernie. He gets the plain burger. I carry a small Rubbermaid container with a screw-on lid which is just the right size for me to put his ice water in.
He sits in the back seat and is a very good rider. I let his burger cool down just a bit then spread it out for him. He eats. I eat. He drinks, I drink. It's symbiotic.
When we're all done, I screw the lid on the container and we head out to drag the strip one more time. The street lights have come on now and I can only imagine what goes through Bernie's mind as the light and shadow alternately speed by his windows.
Finally we make it home and I pull under the carport. When I gather up the cups and open his door, I tell him to wait until I get his leash. He looks around, spots his leash and picks it up with his mouth to hand it to me. Isn't that something? I juggle those icy cups and the leash and pray he doesn't go charging down the street. Tonight I'm lucky and he goes right up the front steps. Then he balks when I get the door unlocked and urge him inside.
Seems like he would be real happy to head back down the street. Come on leash, and hold, please!
Eventually he remembers that the last step of our adventure is up the steps and in! Yessir! Good boy! Excellent job!
I get the door shut and unclip the leash, hanging it on the doorknob for the next adventure -- or trick.