During my failed blog revamp these last weeks, I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, one minute frustrated with my web guru, the next hopeful he could accomplish what was promised. I alternated between the personae of six of the seven Disney dwarfs, especially Grumpy and Dopey (I exclude Sleepy because I get insomnia when I’m upset).
But at the moment of greatest despair, I finally asked myself: What would Frankie do? And I came up with six key WOOFs (Ways to Observe the Order of Frankie):
Remain optimistic. Whenever I sit down at the dining room table to eat, Frankie plunks his little butt down about eight feet away, cocks his head, and looks at me expectantly. The odds are against him; he only gets a treat about 25% of the time. But his hope never wavers.
Persevere. As above. Frankie shows up every mealtime and gives getting a treat his best shot.
Nix the self-doubt. Dogs don’t worry that they are over the hill and stupid. Frankie is eleven, far older than I am in dog years, but I never see him furrowing his little brow over something he can’t do.
Be assertive (or, in a pinch, be manipulative). Frankie is not shy about letting me know when he wants something (yes, he could do better about conveying precisely what he wants, but the odds are good that it’s food, egress, or attention). If a bark — or three — doesn’t do the trick, Frankie puts his paws on my knees, body raised, and looks up at me, pleadingly. Resistance is usually futile. Note: He reserves this last ploy for real need — e.g., reminding me it’s time for his dinner — not just attention; otherwise it would have stopped being effective.
Know when to let go. Frankie is largely terrier (motto: Never surrender!) but even he knows when there’s nothing more to be gotten from an empty Kong.
Don’t turn to food or drink in times of stress. Admittedly, Frankie takes this principle a bit too far. He went the entire six hours from Tucson to San Diego without taking a sip of water at our frequent rest stops (where he wouldn’t pee either; maybe it’s a question of not wanting to use strange bathrooms?). And his refusal of treats during group classes — or even outside the house — makes training more challenging. But it’s a good principle, and I’m not a strict constructionist. When it comes to WOOF, I’m more a spirit of the law type of gal.