Confused of Washington
Dear Stanley,Can you help me with a problem I have with my old man? Since I was a puppy I have greeted him whenever he comes into the house with a big jump up and with lots of licks and the like, and usually he is really nice about it, shouting “Good boy, Bo!” and “Hiya Bo, who’s a good dog then!”
But on certain occasions his mood is different and he’ll shout “No, Bo, get down!” Well I’m struggling to work out what’s going on. People can be so difficult to understand at times.
Portuguese Water Dog
Washington DC, USA
Dear Bo,You’ll be pleased to know that I have come across this problem before and it’s usually down to one of two things – smart suits or short shorts. You see, when he comes home your chap obviously loves it when you jump up because it makes him feel loved and important especially when compared to the curt and sometimes non-existent welcome that his human family probably greet him with. But on certain occasions he can well do without your jumping up, and that’s normally when he’s not dressed casually in slacks and sweater.
When he’s suited-and-booted as he enters the house, the loving expression of canine affection involving you bundling towards him and then leaping up with claws to the fore, can result in him emitting a nervous cry of ‘Down Boy, down!’ as said claws start to cause tiny rips or snags in the trouser cloth.
This unwanted adjustment to his dress is usually accompanied by a surplus of canine slobbering and resultant saliva that may actually add a certain sheen to even the finest suit, but for some reason is not appreciated by the wearer of such apparel. And with a few dozen randomly spread dog hairs invariably finishing off the ensemble, your status as ‘man’s best friend’ can come under some serious scrutiny on such occasions.
It’s my guess that his reaction is even more dramatic when you rush to greet him when he’s dressed not zoot-suit but rather in shorts of whatever description or colour. In such instances, I think you’ll find that his concerns are not for the mere whims of fashion and style but more for the onerous demands of health and safety. By way of example, I remember that when I was a young pup I used to follow Colin everywhere, and would regularly sit on the mat up in the bathroom whilst he took his daily plunge.
That was, however, until one day when, as he stood up and gingerly began his climb out of the bath, I decided that this would be an appropriate moment to show him just how much I loved him, and I leapt up towards him, with paws outstretched and young claws well and truly to the fore. Well, using language that I had not heard him use before, and have no wish to hear him use again, the Old Man let me, and indeed the rest of the household, know in no uncertain terms of his great pain and displeasure. Anyway, after a lengthy period of shouting and gesticulating, with his wife applying tender loving care to the pair of us, he delicately set off for the pharmacy to get some soothing ointment, and I set off for vets, to get my nails clipped – a poor result all round, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Anyway, the simple answer is to hope that your chap learns his lesson and in future he dog-proofs himself before he enters the house – Georgio Armani suits or Nike shorts are not appropriate, and good old denims will do.