Husband training: throw him a bone
MOST women will not be surprised to learn that husbands and the family dog apparently have much in common.
I’m not making this up – according to British TV Show host Annie Clayton, women would do well to train their husbands just as they do their dog.
Her theory started me thinking as I’m always chasing down new ways to bring my husband Mr Bean to heel.
Annie Clayton has been training dogs for 20 years and she’s been married even longer and she reckons men and dogs learn in the same way.
Her theory is simple – we must replace the behaviours we don’t want with those we do. For example, leaving dirty dishes on the kitchen bench for the washing-up fairy to tidy should be replaced with loading the dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
How do we do this you may well ask? By throwing bones.Not literally of course … offer your husband a juicy tid bit every time he behaves as you would hope. Tid bits could be anything, from a stubby of beer to a momentary reprieve from nagging.
Ms Clayton says we must reward behavioural changes until little bit by little bit our husbands are performing like prize pooches.
I informed Mr Bean of her theory.
When he had stopped laughing, he picked himself off the floor and declared: “Well you haven’t done much of a job with the dog so what chance do you stand with me?’
Unfortunately he’s right.
Since arriving at Bean HQ two years ago, Seeker has regressed at a rapid rate.
I have written previously of our dog’s decline – it’s hard to believe that he was once a highly-trained show dog who would fetch and sit on command.
These days the only thing that’s trained are his eyes … on my favourite shoes and Baby Bean’s toys.
In spite of my apparent failure at dog training I’ve decided to give husband training a go.
How hard can it be? After all there’s quite a few similarities between Mr Bean and the dog.
For starters they look the same.
Mr Bean, like Seeker, has dark, floppy thick hair that falls across his face. Both of them have pointy noses, long skinny legs and both have put on considerable weight around the middle since meeting me.
Both Mr Bean and Seeker like to drink … a lot.
Although the RSPCA officers reading this will be relieved to hear that Seeker’s drink of choice is not XXXX Gold.
Both dog and husband enjoy lazing about the house having their tummies tickled, although Mr Bean’s hind leg does not flap about like mad whenever this happens.
Both Mr Bean and Seeker snore – loudly – and both have a tendency to pass wind after their evening meal.
Man and dog enjoy a biscuit or three, although Mr Bean is not too keen on Seeker’s bone-shaped doggy treats, he’s more a mint slice man actually.
But where I have noticed the most amazing similarities between husband and pooch is in the area of selective deafness.
They may well share bloodlines so similar is their behaviour – no offence to the Bean side of the family intended.
For instance, when Seeker and I are down at the local park and he’s in the back corner of the park, near the Pony Club, sniffing out the freshest mound of horse poo in which to roll, the dog develops a sudden and aggressive bout of deafness.
‘SEEKER, SEEKER, COME HERE BOY, SEEKY DOG, COME HERE YOU STUPID GOOD FOR NOTHING MUTT,’ I yell at the top of my voice.
But to no avail. Seeker returns only after his work in the park has been done, that is, only after he has eaten his daily quota of dead birds, rolled in at least four foul smells, chased at least five dogs/cats/birds/children, and uncovered at least one decomposing stinky bone which he can take home.
Mr Bean’s bouts of deafness tend to come on whenever he’s at the pub.
Luckily for him, stupidly for me, our first marital home is 80 steps (he counted) from the local pub.
This proximity to the local is both good and bad.
It is good because they do great take-away pizzas and it is bad because Mr Bean has no self-control when surrounded by beers on tap and people talking a whole lot of waffle in a social setting.
Without fail whenever Mr Bean is dispatched to collect our pizza he is overcome by that deafness disease which means he fails to hear his mobile telephone which rings regularly when he has failed to return one hour later.
By the time two hours have passed and my hunger pains have subsided I resort to ringing the publican to ask if he could let my husband know that if he is not home in five minutes my solicitor will deliver the divorce papers to his office the next day.
This action usually has the desired result.
I have decided that from now on my strategy for dealing with disappearing husbands and dogs will be simple.
When walking the dog I will carry special doggy treats with which to reward Seeker when he returns efficiently and smell-free.
As for coaxing my husband home from the pub, I think I will use threats.
As in, ‘Darling if you are not home in 10 minutes I will change the locks and you will be left to sleep outside in the dog house.”
Sorry Annie but subtlety and small steps don’t work for me.