Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Singing lessons for diva dog wannabes?

Inspecting my friend P—'s chickens after my performance.
"You should teach him how to sing," said my friend P— to Mom, his ears still ringing, perhaps, from my seemingly endless series of mournful bays that echoed off Morses Pond the other day.

P—had witnessed my homecoming greeting/hounding to Mom from across the waters of the pond to the cove nearest home, where she had thoughtlessly left me for what seemed like hours on end.

I actually think I sing pretty well. Perhaps P— meant I should learn to sing on command, but then, he should know better. I don't do anything on command, or even upon suggestion.

Take my latest round of lessons, so-called, from a perfectly well-meaning, competent, kind and endlessly patient trainer. Mom had recommended that she read Herman Melville's short story, Bartleby the Scrivener, as a kind of "get to know your pup" prerequisite. I'm known to my closest pals as "Tuckerby" —not Tucker B., as some have thought—given my likeness to the story's protagonist, or antagonist would be more like it.

Yes, I prefer not to, just like Bartleby. For example, a good percentage of my lessons involved having me sit as an entree into the next activity. Now, believe me, I know how to sit. Quite well, in fact.

However, I preferred not to, with ideal consequences. As my humans became more desperate, the treat quality would escalate. I would stand there, acting like I hadn't a clue about anything. Begging would ensure—that wouldn't be me on my knees, but Mom. I, of course, would hold out for the best treats, which might take the entire 45 minutes, or I might not give in at all. One or two sits during a session were considered monumental feats.

Lessons were supposed to be an hour, but nobody could stand another 15 minutes of my recalcitrance.

One lesson focused on me getting into the car. Now, I love the car, but again—only when I'm ready. So I gave in, finally, one week, and returned to the training session for next steps. But when it was time to really leave, or so Mom thought, I did the logical thing, which was to refuse to get in. Finally, after I exhausted everybody, the series of "lessons" ended, to the gratitude of everyone involved.

So, singing lessons? I think not.