The girlfriend adores her Golden Retriever, whom I affectionately call Turdy. As a result of this adoration, she records a lot of pet-related shows on my TiVo.
One of the shows is called Animal Cops. And no, it doesn't star the SWAT monkey from my earlier entry, nor does it feature a cat and hamster forced to become partners and battle drug-dealing ferrets. Unfortunately the cops aren't animal at all - they're just plain, ordinary humans. From what I've seen, the episodes involve them either pulling housepets out of ditches or taking them away from sadistic owners who seem to have acquired a pet for the sole purpose of watching the animal starve to death.
And every single time, the owner claims he or she had no idea that there was anything wrong with their pet, even though when you see the mangy, emaciated animal, it's tied to a short rope slowly dying in a muddy puddle of its own defecation. It's a wonder why it's not legal to put the owners to sleep.
The other show the girlfriend watches, that even I've gotten mildly hooked on, is The Dog Whisperer. It's this guy named Cesar Millan who works as a dog behavior expert in LA. No matter how crazy, uncontrollable or undisciplined the dog is, as soon as Cesar walks through the door, they instantly behave. It could be a 150-pound Rottweiler that eats small children, but as soon as it sees Cesar it immediately lies submissively at his feet, before heading off to the kitchen to make him a sandwich.
Why? Because the man can actually control their minds like a canine Jedi. Or they somehow sense that he is their God. I'm certain that as soon as he leaves, the dogs say "The mind-reading demon is gone!" and go back to their evil ways.
Actually he's got three main techniques that the average non-dog deity can use. One is that you always have to take the dog on daily walks with the leash held just short enough that the dog's head is up, and either beside or behind you. This makes the dog use up a lot of restless energy, and positions you as its dominant leader.
Secondly, every time the dog's about to do something bad, Cesar points at it and makes this cht! sound. For some reason, this always works. I've tried it on other dogs - cht! - and they somehow stop whatever it is they're doing. It's as if I'd learned some secret word that only dogs were supposed to know. I've tried it on people too with equal effectiveness:
POLICE OFFICER: Sir, you just ran that red light back there while going 90.
POLICE OFFICER: These are not the droids we're looking for.
The third technique is based on the fact that many owners tend to treat their dogs as their kids or - in Denmark - as a boyfriend. This tends to confuse the hell out of the dog, and make it question its own identity and place in the cosmos. This confusion then manifests itself as gnawing on your shoes or your grandmother.
You see, dogs are naturally used to the pecking order of the pack system. The dog needs to know that you are the alpha male and that it is, well, your bitch. So whenever it gets out of line, you need to firmly pimp slap the ho across the face. The dog may yelp in pain, but inside it's really grateful that you set it straight.