The Millie & Sven School of Dog Whispering

Training your dog, Mille & Sven style.

Hunter and the turkey


Give him whatever he wants, before he has a chance to ask.

The best way to keep your dog from begging is to give him food before he has time to beg.  Hunter always helps with meal preparations.  This way he is busy digesting while I eat my dinner.  When I am finished with my plate, I will add another scoop, set it on the floor next to his dish and kiss his snout to signal permission. Then he licks my plate clean, which is perfect because his next duty is kitchen clean up. This daily chore along with guarding the house from sounds that only he can hear, (See: HOW TO STOP THE BARKING) are the way he earns his keep. It also makes him feel useful.  A high sense of self esteem also prevents unnecessary begging. Sven has a different but also very effective approach to the, keep your dog from begging, rule. He completely ignores Hunter, even as he licks his own plate clean right in front of those big sad eyes. But, between each trip that Sven takes to the oven for seconds and on occasion, thirds, there are plenty of food particles to be found on the floor next to where Sven’s feet had been planted.  Hunter dutifully cleans this up.


Whenever he wants to.

012 This is quite simple really.  It's just plain old common sense.  For instance, when I get out of bed I take him for a walk. Or when I come home from work, or from shopping, or from a party, or from skiing, or from Jamaica, or from having oral surgery with a frozen mouth and a bag full of drugs (like right now).  This would be the time to take my dog for a walk.  It doesn’t matter if the temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit, a perfect seventy-five degrees or 42 degrees below zero. What I am trying to say, without using a cliché, is, come hell or high water, whenever I walk in the door, Hunter and I must go for a walk.  Because he wants to. When I am sitting at my computer and trying to accomplish something, like right now and I hear the tapping of his overgrown nails (because he doesn't care to have them trimmed) making their way toward me, like right this second, and he rests his head on my lap, as in this moment, I have received the seven minute warning.  Dog minutes are just as screwed up as dog years.  To a dog, seven minutes is really one.  And one minute is really seven seconds.  My advice at this point would be, heed the seven minute warning. If not, very loud barking will ensue.

Excuse me.  I'll be back in about a half an hour.

Sven on the other hand takes a completely different approach, as usual.  To him it's all about a pooping schedule.  He also likes to take Hunter outside when the moon is full and the rest of the world is curled up in bed or snuggled under a blanket, watching a late night movie.  He does this to make sure that Hunter understands that all hours are open for walking, day and or night.  


Not for Millie & Sven.

444-4444 There is one time of the day that no one in our house goes for a 'walk', except Hunter, that is.  It is the quiet time just before the sun is up, between five and six, depending on the season.  The coyotes have finished their yipping and the other wild critters are still sleeping.  The neighbors and their dogs across the highway are inside and silent. The dump hasn’t yet opened and the gun club hasn’t started shooting up the place.  The world is still. Neither Sven nor I are willing to drag our asses out of bed to walk like zombies behind some idiot with a tail who sniffs God knows what until finally deciding to circle around and around and around just to take a dump.  We prefer to complete our REM sleep.  They say this sleep is important and we are very health conscious.  So, Hunter is on his own for his early morning shit.  One of us, the worst actor of the morning who pretended to be sleeping a little worse than the other guy, simply snaps his collar (the one with his phone number) around his neck, opens the door and wishes him luck. Please note, it is important NOT to feed your dog before sending him out on his own.  This ensures a prompt return.


Use little white "I surrender," flags instead of an expensive fence.

016 When we first took in Hunter we spent two months walking him at the end of a leash, following paths within our property, never going toward the highway, never going near the pond.  This was to teach Hunter about his boundaries and it seemed as though he had grasped the concept. So, one day we unhooked the devil from his leash.  That dog zoomed around so fast that he tore a muscle in his back leg, treed every squirrel in our woods, chased all the wildlife off the property and freaked out all of the unsuspecting snowmobilers sledding through.  In other words, winter went well for Hunter. big snow 2 Our extensive training, with the exception of a few reports about a dog that looked just like Hunter (but nothing that would stand up in court) in front of our driveway and chasing cars, had been a success.  But along with the spring thaw, came some problems.  Hunter discovered that the ice had disappeared from the pond and that it was now a great place to swim, if you like mucky bottoms. He did.  Next he began to notice all kinds of scents that the deep snow had kept hidden from that nose of his and then he started hearing all kinds of sounds that it had muffled from those ears of his.  The warmer weather brought the neighbors and the dogs across the highway, outside.  Hunter was no longer entertained with his mere thirty acres.  This most likely had something to do with the lack of wildlife, since he’d driven it all away.  He began to wander and I began to grow weary of meeting all of the neighbors that I'd managed to avoid for twenty years.  People are very good about calling you when your dog shows up in their yard with his phone number written across his collar. All of the Hunter phone calls that I took were while I was cleaning house on Saturday mornings.  I was slow to learn that I needed to dress nicer and brush my teeth as soon as I popped out of bed at nine A.M. (See: HOW TO STOP THE BARKING) I began to get bitchy and then Sven started snarling at me because I was getting bitchy.  It was obvious that drastic measures were necessary.  So, I bought one of those shock collars.  It came in the mail.  I spent a week charging it and reading the directions to Sven over and over and we argued several times about what they meant.  Sven and I spent the next week sticking something like two hundred flags into the ground, marking Hunter’s boundaries while Hunter wore his special collar, to get used to it.  And then, the first Millie & Sven fenceless boundaries session came about.  Sven hung onto the leash and I had the zapper behind my back.  Whenever Hunter veered toward a boundary flag, Sven said, “No.” I hit the button and it gave Hunter a warning beep, no shock, just a beep.  Hunter jumped away from the flags every time.  It was going unbelievably well.  I never even turned the thing past the audio warning signal. A solid week of this intense training occurred.  Although there wasn’t a lot of intense training because after the first walk in his special collar, Hunter stayed away from the flags all together, so I didn't have to hit the button anymore and it got really boring.  Our hard work had paid off. We deemed Hunter to be fully trained.  We set him free. Then we met some more neighbors way down past the trailer court, Sven made two trips to the dump to pick him up and one day I heard him tell the people at the gun club just to point Hunter in our direction and to send him home. Hunter ended up back on his leash, except of course at the crack of dawn. (See: EARLY MORNING BOWEL MOVEMENTS) Fall is back. Sven and I have decided to do another bit of vigorous training with the special collar one of these days. I am sure it will be a complete success (depending on your version of a complete success). I’ll keep you updated on our progress and all of the new and interesting people that we meet. In order to keep peace within our community we have come up with a plan.  We don't want anyone to think that we would just open the door and say, "Good Luck out there  Hunter," unless of course it's during our beauty sleep.  (See: EARLY MORNING BOWEL MOVEMENTS). My name is Hunter 


Put the pillow over your head.

Hunter the handsome Once again Sven and I approach this differently. Sven likes to yell things like, “Shut up!”  “Knock it off!”  “Hunter I am going to kill you!” I prefer the, ignore it and it will go away, approach.  Often, I ignore Hunter and his barking and Sven and his yelling at Hunter because Hunter is barking, because this is typically a package deal. On weekend mornings, when Sven is golfing or meeting with a client and I am lounging in bed till 9:00 AM, I put my highly advanced ignoring skills to work.  Hunter becomes restless and makes his presence known in the bedroom once it is past 8:30.  He starts out with a little bit of whining and or a wet nose in my face.  I roll over and keep my eyes shut.  NEVER let your dog see your eyes open in this situation.  The closer it gets to nine o’clock the louder his whining.  By 8:50 the barking begins.  This is when I throw my pillow over my face and continue to IG-FUCKING-NORE him.  About 8:59 or so, he gets tired of all the racket that he has made.  He lies down on the rug and is quiet.  I wait a full minute, (remember, in dog minutes this is seven minutes and like seven hundred seconds) so as not to let him think for ONE second that his barking had ANYTHING to do with my getting up.  I always get up at nine A.M., and take Hunter for a walk.  (See: WHEN TO TAKE YOUR DOG FOR A WALK) Hunter the innocent 2    

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