Or… Who Hit the Mute Button?
Niko, my late German shepherd, was a very talkative fellow. And by “talkative” I mean he yelled at me. A lot. In his defense, it was usually when I had a treat or tennis ball in my hand but still… The funny thing about his “yelling” was that when he did it, it was either very loud and commanding (“Throw the damn ball!”) or it was like someone had hit his “mute button.” The silent yelling was hilarious!! He would jump up and down and move his large muzzle but all I heard was air being sucked in and his teeth gnashing. He was very animated and would get extremely agitated the longer I withheld the ball or treat. And the more I laughed and said, “Speak!” or “Tell me!” the more agitated and animated he would get – yet still he wouldn’t make any sound. At some point he would finally get so fed up (or he somehow got unmuted), he would let out a loud and very annoyed “WOOF!” I never figured out why he did it and had never heard of a dog doing the same thing. It didn’t matter – I was amused by it. Always.
Every day I see Jacques do something that he learned from Rocky. I watched (and laughed) while he learned these (mostly bad) habits. Niko had been gone for almost two years when we adopted Jacques, so Jacques never had the opportunity to “learn” anything from Niko. Needless to say, I was surprised when he started exhibiting some very Niko-like behavior…
As it turns out, Jacques also has a mute button. We have to work really hard to get him to actually speak (out loud) on command. He goes through the motions – very animated ones at that – but no real sounds come out. Jacques is a bit more stubborn than Niko was, so we quit asking, “Are you a good boy?” or “Do you want a treat?” much sooner than we did with Niko and just give him the treat, otherwise we’d be waiting for a. Long. Time.
(By the way, is it strange that Jacques likes carrots? I mean, he goes CRAZY for them!! I’ve never seen a dog get more excited over a carrot than they do a b-o-n-e. Maybe in addition to being part cat, he’s part rabbit? I guess I would believe that if I didn’t see him bark like an idiot while chasing rabbits out of our yard…)
Now, don’t think that Jacques doesn’t bark. Believe me – he does. And it’s usually at an inconvenient time like when we’re on the phone, when we have visitors over, or when we’re trying to sleep… He seems to save his “banshee” barking for when we’ve just sat down to a quiet dinner or have just curled up in bed. This little guy who has so much to say apparently chooses his moments to speak up. If I didn’t know better I would think he was doing that on purpose.