Teaching Lefty to Be Blasé


2015-03-08 – Lefty is never blasé. He is sensitive, attentive, engrossed, and enthralled, even sometimes fearful, but never blasé.

He is also only marginally educable.

In almost 10 years, I’ve only been able to get him to sit. He will sit if I am holding his leash (with the implicit promise of taking him for a walk). And he will sit on a walk if I tell him to before crossing the street. These are fairly reliable commands.

But not if any other stimulus is present.

He will not come and sit to get leashed up if there is anything of interest going on outside our house. Instead, he runs crazily from one window to another and then to the closet—ignoring me. (He goes to the closet because the mail drops into the closet and, presumably, he is able to hear outside noises through the megaphone of the mail chute.)

He will not sit when we stop at a corner if anything is moving in the vicinity. It could be a car, a bike, a child, a bird, or a rabbit.

Because he is never blasé.

With spring approaching, we are taking Lefty on increasingly interesting walks. In the winter, the paths are either deserted or the passers-by are hunkered down and move away quickly. The increasing activity is making Lefty crazy.

Our best strategy has always been to try to desensitize Lefty to all the stimulus—to teach him to be just a teeny, tiny bit blasé. We never get very far with this, but I think we are able to at least take the edge off.

We’d run him for President—since excitableness seems to be politically “in” these days. But Lefty was born in Canada.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s