by Rich Karski
Welcome back to another edition of Rich Karski’s HOW TO!: The weekly online column that is currently in line to replace the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America as the nation’s primary youth organization for teaching children life skills, selling overpriced cookies, and starting fires.
We here at UnScene Comedy tend to be a compassionate bunch. Whether it is me selflessly dedicating my time to teach you how to navigate the finer points of life and gamble on professional football, Ted answering questions that nobody else has the balls to take on, or Shawn and Christa not firing us for slander, this website could never be criticized for its lack of heart. It may not come as a surprise to you then, that we here at UnScene love animals.
Shawn spends literally hours a day talking about birds of prey, to the point that his car is filled with literature on autism given to him by concerned friends. When Christa isn’t furiously correcting our horrific grammar and spelling, or dressing herself in the finest outfits an art school education can buy, she can be found dressing her cat in the finest outfits an art school education can buy. Ted loves animals in his own way, which usually involves a dry rub and a trip to the smoker, but that’s okay because those are the idiot animals that nobody wants to be friends with anyway.
Personally, I am a dog person. I love my dog more than I love a Class A American cigarette. And he loves me back. Do you know why? Because I trained my dog the right way. None of this bullshit “sit” and “stay” and “roll over” that THE MAN would want me to teach him. We developed a bond closer than other pets and owners because I eschewed the man/dog archetypes that have been thrust upon us by “society” and I let my dog be his own dog. I’m here today to help you develop this same type of bond, and that’s why today I will be teaching you:
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOG
(Note: I will be using the masculine pronoun “he” when referring to the dog because as the Bible has informed us, all dogs are boys and all cats are girls.)
STEP ONE: Treating Your Dog As An Equal
Let’s try a little exercise here. Tell your dog to sit. Say, “Sit Fido, sit!” Did he sit down when you told him to? Did it make you feel good? Okay, now try it like this. Do the exact same thing, except this time say “Sit SLAVE, sit!” How did that feel? Did you feel like a big man? Did asserting your power over this beautiful creature that you deem to be lesser than yourself make you feel like a god? Or did you feel like the evil, exploitative piece of shit that you really are? Any command that you give your dog is telling him that he is your property and you are to be obeyed or he will be punished, and this will eventually lead to him mauling you in your sleep. What you want to do is offer your dog the opportunity to sit down. If he takes it, great. If not, he just didn’t feel like it. AND THAT’S OKAY.
Think about how you would feel if somebody made you sit down before you got to have a snack instead of eating it over a paper towel over the trash like you wanted to. You would feel offended, betrayed, and maybe even angry enough to TEAR THE FLESH OFF THAT PERSON’S FACE WHILE THEY WERE SLEEPING! Well that’s how your dog feels. Maybe he just wants a snack and he doesn’t want to have to roll on your dirty linoleum floor before he gets one. Can you blame him? And look maybe he’s knocking over the trash and eating what’s in there because YOU THREW SOMETHING DELICIOUS IN THE TRASH! Instead of judging and punishing, think about the way you would react if you were the dog. You know how you would react. A hundred times out of a hundred you’re eating that trash, so if you really want your dog not to eat it, don’t punish him. Just stop putting delicious stuff in there.
STEP TWO: Fostering Mutual Respect
Just because you are giving your dog the same treatment you would enjoy, does not mean you can let him walk all over you. It is important that you and your dog develop a mutual respect for one another so that nobody gets out of line and starts bossing the other around.
Let me give you an example: Sometimes my dog wants to go to the park, and sometimes I want to watch the end of the damn hockey game and give me ten fucking minutes, will you? Well, what the dog will sometimes do is climb on me and start breathing in my face so I stop ignoring him. This is unpleasant, because my dog’s breath smells like he ate a pissy diaper full of low-tide. So when he does this, I will put his ears in my mouth and start buzzing like I’m playing a furry kazoo. He hates that, and he now knows that invading my personal space and infecting my nasal cavities with his urinal breath is crossing a line. On the flip side, occasionally I will catch him eating something that is potential harmful to him (chicken bones, Brillo pads, Christmas ornaments…) and I will take these away from him because I am concerned for his safety.
Unfortunately, he does not like having his snacks confiscated, so he will repay me by walking to the front door and pissing on the floor in front of it while maintaining perfect eye-contact. This lets me know that he is displeased with the way I handled the situation, and next time, if I don’t want my floor to get pissed on, he would prefer that I leave him be. It is these types of displays of action vs. consequence that foster an environment of respect and let the other know that you will NOT take injustice lying down.
STEP THREE: Teaching Him To Dream Bigger
When training a dog, it is very important that you let him know that the world is limitless and he can do whatever he wants if he puts his little doggy mind to it. If you don’t put it in his head that he can achieve greatness, then he will never have dreams bigger than “I want to eat whatever’s on the table” or “I want to eat everything in the refrigerator.” In order to get your dog to dream big, you need to find out what it is that he truly wants BEYOND just eating everything in the house and then throwing it up and then eating his throw up.
In the case of my dog, what he loves is crime. He has no respect for authority, and loves to be bad and do bad things because that’s his idea of a good time. Instead of limiting his transgressions to biting my friends and being unnecessarily loud, I let him know that there are much worse things that he could be doing. I often ask him if he would like to rob a bank, or hunt a man for sport, or fly to England and commit crimes against the crown, and he’s never more excited than when I put these ideas in his little head.
Does he understand everything that I’m saying? No, but he knows I’m talking about doing bad things and I can tell that knowing I think he is capable of the baddest things in the world makes him feel good about himself. It’s all about boosting the dog’s self-esteem. If he knows you believe in him, his adoration will grow and your bond of friendship will be greater than ever.
STEP FOUR: Abandoning The Leash
The next step is to free your dog from the ultimate tool of canine oppression. To clarify, you should not abandon the leash entirely, because dogs don’t understand how streets and cars work and are easily killed when run over. However, when you get to a park, or beach, or wooded area free from roads, it is essential that you let your dog roam freely so he knows that you trust him and that you are also a renegade who does not do what you’re told. A lot of dog “owners” will look down on you for this, and will probably cite “safety” and “the law” as reasons to leash your dog, but really what they’re scared of is their dog seeing yours off his leash and looking at them like “hey what the fuck?” and getting the appropriate ideas about anarchy and taking down the hegemony.
You want your dog to be an inspiration to the oppressed masses who will wonder “Why don’t I get to run free and hump whatever I want and pee on that kid’s stroller and eat that half a bagel that somebody dropped on the ground? I WANTED THAT BAGEL DAMMIT!!” Soon you will start to see fewer and fewer “owners” at the park, as they will had their throats torn out in the coup that you have been silently encouraging, and once those dogs are free of their owners they’ll want to come live with you because you’re so good at dogs and then all of the dogs will be your friends because you’re the greatest and don’t suck like those other jerks.
So there you have it!
Four easy steps on how to train your dog to truly be your best friend and not just a piece of property or a fucking novelty act. Now go out there and adopt a dog because they’re awesome and everyone should have one and when the revolution comes you’re going to want the other dogs to know you’re one of the “good ones.”
…and by the way…
If you think of a thing and you want to know how to do that thing, tweet me @RichKarski and maybe I will teach you how to do that thing.