My 9 year old daughter has discovered the secret to dealing with the opposite sex. Actually, she did not make the initial discovery. Author Leslie Margolis’ character, Annabelle, in the book Boys are Dogs appears to be the first, though fictional, person to chance upon the bag-a-boy bible of the century. Dimples’ friend read the book first, and deemed the wisdom imparted therein to be of such great importance that she loaned the book to Dimples. I picked up Dimples from school and she could not stop talking about the book.
According to Dimples,”This girls gets a dog, and then she gets a manual for training the dog. And she realizes that all of the advice for training her dog also works on the boys at her school.”
These are middle school boys, if that shines any light on the topic.
One example from the book: “The fun is in the chase, so don’t do it.” This is advice that Annabelle reads after her dog steals her favorite stuffed animal and Annabelle chases the dog, grabs the toy, and ends up with a half-decapitated hippo. As soon as Dimples read the line of advice out loud to me, I said, “Remember when I told you the exact same thing?”
Dimples stared at me.
“Remember?” I prompted. “I told you that the more you act like you like a boy the sooner they will stop liking you?”
“Uh, yeah, Mom.” It was clear that Dimples either did not remember this sage advice or that she saw absolutely no connection to the Dog/Boy Training Advice in her book. I flipped through the book, and realized that most of its wisdom had been imparted by me at some point or another. Not as effectively, apparently.
What was even more interesting was when Dimples decided to try some of the advice on our bulldog, Wonderbutt. She informed me that we needed to reward him for recognizing his name. I’m not exactly sure where that falls in the boy-training continuum, but since we have had Wonderbutt for a year and a half, I am pretty certain he knows his name. Whether or not he chooses to respond favorably to someone calling it changes by the second.
And then she started to give me advice, which I found even more amusing. After years of attending dog obedience classes and memorizing “positive reinforcement” techniques, I think I have a pretty good handle on all of the acceptable dog-training rules. It’s not my fault Wonderbutt defies the wisdom of the Dog Whisperer.
When Dimples starts telling me that I need to give my husband, the Esteemed Cap’n Firepants, a biscuit whenever he puts the toilet seat down, we may need to have a little talk.
Around 10 last night, Dimples finished the book – which she had started after school. She came running to tell me that she was done.
“So, what did you learn?” I asked, wondering if Annabelle’s method had backfired at some point.
“She realized that it wasn’t the dog book that was changing things. It was her that was changing. She was becoming more confident, and that helped her with everything.”
Oh yeah. That was the advice I’ve been meaning to give her. Oh well. Like she would have listened to me anyway…