Sunday, April 6, 2014

How to Teach Your Dog to Speak

In the wake of the Aardvark Pie experiment, I was flattered to receive a delegation from the United Nations, the G20, the IMF, the World Bank, not to mention the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir, asking me to avoid cooking for the sake of mankind.

I’m not stupid. I know how to take a hint. 

So I returned from Tibet to my beloved Mooberg. This time I decided to teach my dog, Shredder, how to speak. I call her Shredder because that’s what the living room looks like each morning when I get up. But enough of my personal problems. Here’s the method I used to train the dog – the Velikovsky method, proposed by Linoleum Q. Velikovski, late of St. Petersburg – a renowned Vaudeville ventriloquist on the Orpheum Circuit. Not to be confused with Immanuel Velikovsky, who wrote scary books about…Look Out! Here comes the planet Venus! Whew. That was a close one. 

Anyway, here’s the method:

If your dog already likes to bark at you, it should be a simple trick to teach her to speak. Basically, you just reward her every time she barks. Give her a fish, or maybe a can of truffles. For a very intelligent dog, just give her the unopened can and a can opener. Lots of fun at parties.

If your dog does not like to bark at you, you have a more serious challenge. Quite possibly your dog is happy with her lot and doesn't feel like complaining. The challenge here is to bug her to the point where she gets irked at you and barks. Try to be inventive. It's not enough to say: "Your nose is disgustingly long," or "You have dog breath," or even "Everyone with no fleas take one step forward! Not so fast, dog!" Instead, try insulting her mother. If you live in the United States, you can accuse your dog's mother of being a liberal and donating money to homes for wayward cats.

Eventually, your dog will probably develop several neuroses, and may even begin to imagine that you are secretly trying to steal her water bowl. If you are, fine. Just don't let her catch you at it, or the jig is up. There are plenty of dog psychologists who, for a large fee, can help you drive your dog to the edge of sinking her teeth into you.

Once you have succeeded in getting your dog to bark at you, the rest is easy. First, decide on a hand signal that is not similar to any other you have given her. Try making the outline of a pagoda using both hands and one foot. Just try it. It you're not manually dextrous, try a profile of Keanu Reeves. You should be able to do that with two fingers of one hand. Tell your dog to "speak" at the same time. When she does, reward her with a treat immediately and say "Shake well before using".

Continue to give the command until she gets really fed up with you and barks again. Within a few weeks, your dog should be ready to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

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