Friday, August 24, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound


Entry #29
August 24, 2007

Hello Everyone. Wimsey here, reporting from the soggy August streets of New York City. Any more rain and bloodhounds will be marching up a ramp two by two. I got caught in a monster thunder storm this week and I can tell you I was mighty peeved—so much so that I tried to run all the way home from Central Park. My human Maria was not amused (I can now appreciate the phrase “madder than a wet hen”) and Elizabeth (a friend of hers) was even less so as she was holding (or more accurately, ferociously clutching) the leash. The only consolation was that they both got seriously soaked as well and unlike me, neither of them got a towel massage rub down.

But speaking of reporting, I was in error last week when I said that I was going to be in the New York Post. Apparently the article that the Post reporter wrote is for a new website called
www.fetchdog.com. It should be up and running in September, so check it out. You might just see a picture of ME and my beloved and courageous runner, Roy.
And as for other events, preparations for the AKC Responsible Dog Day—Meet the Breed on September 15th are proceeding apace. Maria and Elizabeth are going to escort me to Madison Square Park so the public can see what a fine fellow I am. Maria is going to talk (and on the subject of me she can talk almost even more than Elizabeth can on the subject of Tudors) and I am going to bay. In fact Maria is afraid that if I am in good voice, conversation might very well be impossible. But seeing (or hearing) is believing and nothing perhaps will have a greater impact on the public than the sight of the mountain of drool rags that the ladies intend to display on the Bloodhound Table. They are also contemplating those ear thingies that people wear on rifle ranges. In addition, they have obtained some excellent literature from the American Bloodhound Club on what you should expect if you live with a bloodhound (that would be drool, stink, shattered ear drums, shredded possessions, multiple contusions and a hyper extended leash arm…. but I am very cute).

Thinking of all the literature about taking care of Hounds, I realized that there seems to be a paucity of literature on the care and feeding of humans.

Wimsey’s Guide to Complete Human Care: How to raise a happy, healthy and obedient human

Food: Proper nutrition is essential to raising a healthy human. Humans should be fed at least three times a day on flat, elevated surfaces (they don’t do well on all fours due to poorly designed vertebrae). Be sure to prepare food that is appetizing to yourself as well, since you will have to steal or otherwise acquire some of it to avoid overfeeding them (humans are prone to obesity if not managed properly). Never permit food guarding. Reward the release of food with a pleasing wag of the tail or an affectionate lick. Although stealing is sometimes necessary (and fun) humans respond quite well to positive reinforcement. You can also use negative reinforcement by vocalizing vociferously until the food is released.

Grooming: Humans need an extensive amount of grooming, so be warned. You will have to carefully supervise their ablutions and we recommend the “taste test” to ensure that their skin is adequately cleaned and the “smell test,” which consists of poking your nose in those hard to reach places whilst inhaling deeply to make sure that proper hygiene has been practiced.

Exercise: Although humans require a great deal of exercise, they are reluctant to do it. Here the leadership of the Hound is paramount. You must not allow the human to sit undisturbed for any length of time as it is detrimental to their mental and physical well being. Encourage the human to spend as much time outdoors as possible, preferably trying to keep up with you (two legs are very slow, by the way, so don’t be too discouraged). Indoors encourage wrestling-- sitting on them and blocking their view of computers or television screens can be an excellent way to initiate the process. Other exercise such as repetitive toy flinging is also recommended.

Potty training: Humans take readily to potty training, but as with grooming, careful supervision is necessary. It is extremely inadvisable to permit humans to eliminate without your presence, as it is a well known fact that they can escape through a secret trap door in the bathroom. (also, the males can be a little messy--you might want to stand well back).

Sleeping: Fortunately humans like to sleep, although they rarely do enough of it and can be bed possessive. Train them from an early age to accept the presence of a drooly stinky hound (particularly one that sleeps the wide way) and you will all get a peaceful night’s rest. If the human tries to hog the bed, push them off. The hard floor is good for their backs.

Obedience training: Obedience training is crucial to raising a human who is a pleasure to live with. Positive methods are simple: reward every behavior you like with a tail wag or a lick and you will dramatically increase the frequency of these behaviors. Behaviors you don’t like, simply ignore and they will gradually fade from the repertoire. Unlike Hounds, humans lack our indefatigable persistence. We call this being soft headed and it makes them much easier to train. Of course sometimes it is necessary to use what behaviorists called positive punishment---such as sticking your tongue in a human’s mouth when they are talking too much and scratching you too little. Or issuing a verbal correction, such as a bay, when they guard valuable resources such as plastic soda bottles.


Remember to be patient—some humans are not fast learners. Also they will respond better if they believe that they are training you; do everything possible to humor them in this sad delusion. And remember-- you are there for their benefit; without the leadership of the Hound, they would sit too much, eat too much and laugh too little.

Well as you may have surmised, I come from a long line of excellent human trainers. (If you want to see a picture of my handsome and accomplished father, by the way, the ultra macho hound, Stetson go to
http://www.ewinebloodhounds.com/default.htm). If I become half the Hound Stetson is I will be happy. There is nothing quite as humbling as having a father who is larger, redder and more rambunctious than oneself.

Anyway, the only other exciting event this week is that Elizabeth went to the ASPCA picnic held at the Bronx Zoo and brought me back an enormous stuffed snake to “play”(shred) with. Now on the subject of shredding, I am a highly selective shredder. Underwear, Chinese food menus or the rent bill slipped under the door, bedding of all kinds—sheets, towels and the like—all these are fair game. However, I am at pains to preserve my stuffed green greeting bone and I have the good manners, unlike some Hounds, not to shred clothes whilst humans are actually wearing them. Also, unlike Maria’s two previous bloodhounds, who ate couches and were blissfully unaware that this would leave them no place to sit, I generally exercise my massive, albeit pointy brain, and leave the couch alone. (Elizabeth has a very low opinion of my intelligence because she says that anything that has a head is both pointy and flat at the same time bodes ill in the intellect department). I think my smaller brain size is more efficient as it reduces the amount of extraneous information that I am forced to carry around--like things that are Tudor related, for instance.

Well, Elizabeth apparently had fun at the zoo although her report to Maria did not sound that way—all the animals appeared to be snoozing—even the new exhibit of African wild dogs (she is obviously a glutton for punishment-- as if an Upper West Side wild dog were not enough)—and the tigers refused to be enriched during tiger enrichment time. (I wonder if they are related to Hounds). It sounds like buying my snake was the high point of the visit.

Exhibits in the Wimsey Zoo


-People who think I am the Hound of the Baskervilles, Scooby Do or Clifford

-Celebrities who collect Third World children

-Dog trainers, especially those with clickers or like to roll dogs and have
TV shows

-The inventor of the Gentle Leader

-People who won’t invest in Elizabeth’s deal

Well, it is that time again—I have a pre park tow nap to take. Soon the summer will be over, the weather will get chillier (and hopefully drier) and I will become unbearably frisky. Something for my humans to look forward to!

Until next time,


Wimsey, the Human Whisperer



3 comments:

Bogart said...

Hey Wimsey, I'll trade you some of your rain for some of the heat and dryness here in Los Angeles... maybe we should arrange an "apartment trade" like the humans do... I can't remember the last time it rained (it's been many, many months) even a drop...

Love,
Bogart

Anonymous said...

Hey Wimsey, great blog this week. You're a HOOT!!Hope to being seeing you at some shows soon.
Your buddy...Brady

kassi the doxie said...

hey Wimsey, you are so witty, and so right. Our hund-to-human brainwashing, I mean training, requires much patience, and licking! keep writing, we woof you!

paws,
kassi