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Bribing Edmund to behave (Yeah, right)

September 1, 2014
Accola visit 6-2012 -14

“Edmund, if you behave, I’ll get you your very own mail carrier….”

The toughest thing about dealing with Edmund is not being able to bribe him to behave and not being able to give him some longer term consequences for his… um… behavior.

I know you’re thinking: Just talk to him and tell him what you expect and he’ll behave. Yeah, right. Edmund’s middle name is Independent. He will do the opposite of whatever you ask him to do. Pat the couch and invite him to sit down, and he’ll march right past, head high. Three minutes later, he’ll jump up next to you, pretend sitting next to you was his idea and expect you to be grateful for his kind attention. Tell him “Come” and his response is directly correlated to his calculations about the probability of a treat.

I’ve read about dog communicators. I’ve tried communicating. “Listen, if you’re good at Sally Dog’s house… which means being friendly and to be specific, just so there’s no misunderstandings, NOT marking, NOT growling and especially NOT biting…,” I promise, “ I will stop at the bank drive-through on the way home and let you get a treat from the teller.” He yawns.

When I’m desperate, I promise more. “Look, if you’re good while the minister is here and don’t try to remove the screen when he rings the doorbell and don’t snap at him (with your large chipmunk crunchers) when he gets between you and Jeff, I will get you your very own mail carrier to chew on.” He grins. Some people swear dog smiles are sorta like tiny infant smiles—an accidental face movement… or gas. I don’t believe this. Edmund’s grins are way too well placed.

My bribes, which worked for my kid, have just never worked on Edmund. So yes, I’ve resorted to giving treats to Sally’s person and to the minister to give to Edmund, ostensibly to prove they are worthy of prepaying for good behavior.

I believe in trying to avoid situations that cause misbehavior. This can be tricky. I would have to ask our son to move out and meet us, his parents, elsewhere for a visit now and then, for example. Edmund has shouldered Son’s bedroom door open and posted strong, yellow sticky notes on Son’s dirty clothes basket. More than once, shall we say. We’re not sure of the exact translation, but it appears to be something like: “Move. Leave. I was here first. Your piddly wee little visit is over. Alphamund.” Now how do you bribe a dog not to do this or give him a consequence for this when he sneaks in Son’s room and does it when we’re not around and can’t holler at him?

Last weekend, Charlie and Riley and their people invited us to park our camper by their cabin for the weekend near Duluth. Hub and I both gave Edmund a friendly little talk before we got there. We explained that the big dogs owned the place and were very nice and believed in nonviolence, and it would be good manners not to mark or bite anybody. We politely did not mention Edmund calling the two German shepherds “Sissies” a couple of years ago on a camping trip and ending up in the doggie ER in Rochester, right down the street from Mayo.

Well, you guessed it. Edmund behaved for a while in the big dogs’ cabin. Then when we weren’t really looking, he posted a yellow sticky note on their man’s book bag. Thankfully it was not a leather satchel, but still, it was embarrassing and not welcome, even in a dog-owned cabin. As a result, Edmund had to wear his red plaid pants (diaper) inside, but I don’t think he made the connection or was sufficiently embarrassed. And soon he got to run wild with the nice big dogs in the woods outside, chasing squirrels and chipmunks for hours. Not a bad consequence for a little yellow sticky note.

I’m about to send my own little note to Cesar Millan, inviting him over for a visit.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Joyce permalink
    September 3, 2014 11:46 am

    Good idea–Cesar, that is. Let me know if he comes for a visit.

  2. September 4, 2014 1:48 am

    Hilarious! Well written!

    • September 4, 2014 2:28 am

      Thanks, Kristi. Of course that grandbaby is never going to need bribes or consequences.

  3. September 4, 2014 3:18 pm

    The only way I really get Edmund’s attention is to ask him if he wants to go live with his old Momma Jean again. He looks so sad, and says “You wouldn’t do that, would you?” And I tell him “You’re my best buddy, but don’t push it, pal. We are really fed up with this.” And he remembers for about a day, kind of like myself.

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