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Posted 6/14/16 (Tue)

I know I’ve written about dogs before. I’m sure you remember Vern Baker, the dog that tore all the drapes in our house down, tore the roof lining out of Will’s pickup, and pulled the tails off several cows. But we kept him because he was kind to our grandkids.
And if you’ve been a reader for years, you probably can remember Lucky, who gathered wild horses by himself, and could whip a coyote in a fight.
I have one named Tyke now, who isn’t a real good cow dog, but he thinks he is. Self-esteem is important. Forty years ago I had a red heeler named Tyke that was one of the smartest dogs I have ever seen. And he was good to my kids.
There was Brooklyn, one of those wrinkly dogs, and Four, and Canardly, and Lucky, and numerous others. They were kind of like kids, even with faults, you can find something good about each of them.
So the other day, one of my dear friends had a post on Facebook trying to locate a dog trainer. I thought about answering the post. But then Shirley reminded me of my dog training skills. She assured me that my good dogs were good in spite of me, not because of me.
She reminded me of when I water-boarded Vern, because he kept biting the front feet of cattle as they tried to load in the trailer. She reminded me of how far I threw my sorting stick when Brooklyn chased a bull through the fence and wouldn’t stop. She reminded me of the blue heeler that thought his name was “Stop you S.O.B!”
After further thought, I had to agree that once again Shirley was right.
But I found out I am not the only one that lacks the judgment and patience to be a dog trainer.
One of Will’s best friends is Ryan. He lives in a suburb of Minneapolis. And he has a dog. A big dog. As far as I am concerned there are only six breeds of dogs. Big, middle-sized, and small. And big hairy dogs, mid-sized hairy dogs. And small hairy dogs. Ryan’s is a big dog.
And this big dog dug up all the flowers Ryan’s wife had lovingly planted. And then he dug up the garden that was lush and green with peppers, tomato plants, peas, and beans. And corn that was nearly ready to tassel.
Ryan has two little girls.
So Ryan took a page out of the Hat Tips training manual. He went berserk and grabbed the dog and drug him over to the flowerbed. There he proceeded to strike (I was going to say whip but that sounded too harsh) the dog with tulips and black-eyed Susan’s. He threw tomato plants at him and pushed his nose in the garden dirt!
Then he looked up. His two little girls were crying and his wife was watching with that “Is this the man I married” look in her eyes.
Ryan stepped back, calmly regained his senses, brushed the dirt from his hands, gave the dog a gentle pat on the head. And declared, “Good boy. Good boy.”
I’ve learned that if you aren’t smarter than the dog, just buy a trained one.