Friday, July 9, 2010

In the dog house again..... yippee!!

Friday, 9 July 2010 - So there you are, hanging out on the front lawn, watching the world go past.  You idly lift your head every now and again, and wonder...  "will I ever get that roof replaced?"  and "the doorway is looking a little ragged".  When you start envisioning new paint, new eaves, a larger porch, and better landscaping, you know that it is July and it really is time to get started on those repairs.  After all, if you chew on the door jams any more, you won't need a new doorway, you'll need a garage door and a remote opener.  Your great room could become a drive in. Rex himself would be embarassed to have guests over.  Rex, for those who don't remember, is my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and really quite particular.

July is Dog House Repairs Month. There is the Dog's house, and there is the dog house.  One may be more proverbial than the other.  So that got me to thinking...  how would one make repairs to the proverbial dog house?  I could live nicely in the dog house.  But my dog house would require a pool table, 60" plasma, the latest Xbox complete with pink controller, a subscription to NFL TV, a well stocked wine fridge, and a scotch cupboard (which a friend tells me has seatbelts pre-installed).  Perhaps my idea of a dog house is actually more a den of iniquity...  a place of borderline ill repute... basically - a place my friends would feel comfortable.  It's a home like structure, and Rex would be welcome as well.

There is the 'dog house' where one goes when one has done something wrong, unacceptable, shameful... like leaving the lid off the peanut butter or forgetting to pick up that box of tampons.  Then there is the 'dog house' where one has done something really bad... like say... the neighbour. That dog house does not require repairs.  That doghouse should be leaky, dank, the springs should be coming out of the sofabed, and it should be not in the garage, but a lean-to off the side of the garage.  The dog house I'm talking about is the former.

In my perfect world, when one deserves to be in the dog house, I think the punishment should be NOT being in the dog house.  You, hunny, can stay in the house with whatever DIY disaster you have created, and I shall go to the dog house.  Play a bit of Halo, embibe in a wee dram, watch a game, read a book, have some friends over....  The punishment can be a lack of reward.  And when things are done, and the toilet seat is down... then you too can enjoy the dog house.   The strongest form of behaviour modification is a random positive reinforcement.  It is why gambling is so good at creating gamblers.  There is always the chance of something paying off.   Think about this one... if the dog house was a good place, and you could go there when good things are done. If you make the right repairs to the dog house, I bet you can use this den to  increase the good behaviours.

So when you are looking at Fido's digs and you want to build him a better porch, a leak-proof roof, and some landscaping... consider too fixing up the other dog house. It would almost be like obedience training if managed correctly. If this is a little over the top, you could always reward with cookies.  Today is Sugar Cookie Day. It might be a little easier to whip up a batch of sugar cookies than it will be to get the flat screen installed. Personally, I would have to take the shoes out of the oven, and then where would I put them?  Thought....  a shoe closet in my dog house!!!

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