Feature - New Dogs, Old Tricks 

Teaching new dogs old tricks

By Zippy the Dog

As told to G.D. Maxwell

Photos by Dog Cam

It all started innocently enough. "Load up. We’re goin’ for a ride."

I like car rides. Truck rides too. I’m not one of those dogs who cower and snivel at the thought of jumping into a car. I’m always ready to go. Cars don’t smell right unless I’ve been in them though.

I’ve heard stories from other dogs about car rides that went bad but I can’t say that’s been my experience. Well, maybe one ride. I’m still not sure exactly what happened. We went to see the funny smelling guy who pokes and prods me. I was woozy for a day or two and it hurt like the dickens back between my hind legs for a while. No long term effect though, least not as far as I can tell.

Other than that, car rides have been great. In fact, I’m a pretty well-travelled dog. I’ve been to the ocean – the water tastes funny – and I’ve been to the desert. What kind of sick joke is that place for someone who wears fur? Swam in lots of lakes, waded in lots of streams, climbed a few mountains. Never gotten sick and lost my kibble, never been forced to hold it so long I had to water the carpet or back seat. Yup, you could say I’m a wanderin’ fool.

But that ride, and a few that followed, coulda put any dog off gettin’ into cars.

What twisted mind thought up obedience school anyway?

I guess we’d better get one thing straight from the outset. Yes, I am a dog. Zippy the Dog. Zippity Doo Dawg if you can believe my full name. I’m a Lab.

And yes, I understand your language. Deal with it. Fact is, most of us – well not those little fluffy things that look more like fashion accessories than dogs – understand human barking. And I’ll let you in on a secret: you folks think way too much. And you talk even more than you think. Bad person. Bad, bad person.

But dogs, for the most part, are way too smart to let you in on our secret. We start talkin’ to you or pretend we understand what you’re barkin’ about, next thing you know, you’ll be expecting way too much from us. Why spoil a good thing? Besides, dogs understand each other and carry on rich conversations among ourselves. It’s not our fault if you’re too speciescentric to get with the program.

So why, you’re probably asking yourself, have I broken the code of silence? I had to. I owe it to my fellow dogs. That and the slave – what kind of pathetic delusion is this "Master" stuff anyway – who takes care of me keeps going on about making me get a job every time he sees Dogs With Jobs on television. As if. I’m a sporting breed, not a working breed. How hard is that to understand?

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