When I spell out a word during a conversation, don’t say it out loud. Seems obvious, right? Apparently not. I’ll explain.
My dog Kali and I went for a walk at a park near my parents’ house today. As part of our routine, we ended with some obedience training. I put her in a stay on one end of a field and walked across to the other end to find a hiding spot where she can’t see me. Occasionally, this gets people’s attention because most people can’t get their dogs to stay for more than about five seconds. This exercise requires a minimum of three to five minutes.
As I reached the other end of the field, a woman came over to me and asked where my dog was. We passed this woman earlier on the walking trail. I pointed across the field to where Kalie was waiting. It took her a minute, as the dog was almost 200 yards away, but she finally realized that the black spot on the other end of the field was Kalie.
The woman told me that she was amazed that the dog listened so well, and that her dog would never be so obedient. I spared her the lecture and simply told her that it’s all about consistency. She asked me to call the dog over to meet her, so I agreed and released Kalie. She came over and sat down next to me as I spoke to the woman.
Our conversation was as follows:
Woman: How do you get her to do what you say? My dog never does what I tell him.
Me: It’s all about discipline and consistency.
Woman: Do you use any training aids or food to reward her?
Me: No. When she was a puppy, I went away from using T-R-E-A-T-S.
Woman: Treats? You don’t use treats? I always bring treats.
Really? Really, lady? Did you think I was practicing for a spelling bee? Maybe you thought I like to randomly choose words to spell, you know, just to spice up a conversation.
The reason I spell the word “treat” is because Kalie immediately starts trying to find them. She knows that I used to keep them in my pocket when I trained her, so I finished my walk being nose-raped by a German Shepherd. Every time I quit paying attention, she stuck her snout directly in my pocket.
So, thanks lady, for letting me know that I had just spelled the word “treat”. You owe me a new pair of shorts and my dignity.
Until next time.