Saturday, 28 December 2013

Caught in the act

I heard a strange noise this evening, coming from the hall closet where I keep two litter boxes for my two cats.

As I walked into the hallway from bedroom, Penne emerged from the closet. Lord knows what she had been up to.

In a very quiet voice I said "What were you doing there Penne? I don't think that you were up to anything good".

She slunk away from me and walked to her bed, tail between her legs.

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A woman who lives down the road has one of those "little white dogs" which never stops yapping.  The woman often takes her yappy dog for a ride in a baby-buggy/push-chair.  When the dog (named Coquette) sounds off, her owner yells "Oh shut up Coquette, be quiet will you".

In the same vein a man in our neighbouring community uses his electric wheelchair when he takes his Airedale named "Scout" out for walks.

Scout is energetic and rambunctious. He wants to chase squirrels. He has taken a great dislike to Penne and barks at her from a distance of 50 feet.

Scout's owner, a very nice WW II veteran, has an extremely loud voice.  We hear him from far away yelling "bad dog, bad dog, bad dog", or "no, no, no" with increased volume on each "no".

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I do not believe that yelling at our pets serves any useful purpose. How are they to understand that a loud noise means "naughty"?

And slapping or hitting pets is more than useless. *

It is relatively simple to train pets so that they know when they have "crossed the bounds".

In the case of my cats, a click of my thumb and middle finger does the trick. And when I make a "tut tut tut tut" sound with my tongue clicking against my palate they know that they are being summonsed for a little TLC.

Penne responds to two things.

First, a quite reproachful tone.

Second, when and if Penne gets too excited and rambunctious in her greetings when I return to our home after an absence I simply stand still and fold my arms.  That's enough to encourage Penne to lie down on her bed and be at peace. 

And whether the "discipline"  be the gentle voice or the folded arms, I am always careful to be quick in tickling her ears or scratching her back, thus reassuring her that she is loved.

* No child and no animal should ever be slapped or hit.

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Holy Scripture in Proverbs 15:1 states that "a soft answer turns away wrath".

I add that "a soft voice encourages good behavior"


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