Well not destruction exactly,just a squirty water bottle. A bottle which can be directed at an unruly dog and squirted – making him unhappy and hopefully obedient.We have decided it’s time for a bit of Jack discipline in this house and, following on from reading the spiritual discipline book, it seems that some of the principles you could apply to overcome a human habit also apply to dealing with a barky dog.
- Identify the habit/problem that needs your attention. How long have you got? You can choose from a long list. With Morecambe we’re going for barking hysterically and flinging himself at the kitchen door whenever anyone arrives at or leaves the house.
- Pin down exactly why you want to deal with this. Believe it or not, Morc’s reasons for needing this dealt with ain’t that different from a human habit. Firstly, this is something that can do him harm. Our kitchen door has a big glass window in it and we all have nightmares about him just jumping through it. This will be very dangerous but possibly not as dangerous as what might happen to him if he smashed the expensive kitchen door (this time at the hands of Head of House)
- Enlist the help of those in your community that you trust. All human beings in the family are on board and supporting this. Mainly because people would like to have friends round without needing to run through the kitchen like Usain Bolt. Lucy, however, doesn’t give a monkeys about Morcs and his habits and isn’t above taking advantage of his hysteria to nip his bottom or steal his food. (There is a moral here – not everyone will be on board when you are trying to change a habit – they will not always show this by trying to bite your bottom)
- Eyes on the prize. Sometimes, when we are recreating the classic scene from Singing in the Rain by wildly squirting water at a hysterical dog while we try to leave the house, we do wonder if it is worth it. As this point, it helps to visualize how good it would be to walk in and out unhindered and for the gas man to visit without having to apologise because the dog has lost control of his wee wee tube – up aforementioned man’s trousers.
- Reward any progress with something good. For you this will probably not be a bit of frozen liver but that’s what floats Morecambe’s boat so there you are.
Of course, there’s not very much spiritual here. He’s only a Jack Russell and there’s a limit to how far you can stretch the analogy. Still quite interesting to compare and contrast. I only wish Morecambe was as keen on the process as we are.