Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Playtime with Elmo Part 1: Wait...I'm a Dog?!

Marty had an astounding realization this weekend...he's a dog.

This came as quite a shock to Marty as I think he thought of himself as a little person who was just ordered around a bunch.  His entire reality was shaken when he met the old and wise sage Elmo and Elmo calmly and coolly instructed Marty on how to play like a dog and how to get what you want by being cute.

Elmo is a little Corgi/Pomeranian mix and is colored very much like Marty.  Yes, they looked like cows.

Elmo really wanted to see what the flash was.
Elmo is about a year and half old and is smaller than the 7 month old Marty.  Elmo's parents are Ryan and Gloria, and they brought Elmo by to play with Marty while James was moving in.  However, they had no idea that Elmo would be teaching Marty to play almost as much as he would be playing.  Seeing the confused look on Marty's face whenever Elmo tried to play was absolutely priceless.  Within minutes Elmo realized that he had to teach this giant puppy just what playtime meant.

Now, Marty is an absolute sweetheart with people.  He loves to cuddle and is extremely affectionate.  However, with other dogs, he can be possessive and prone to jealousy.  Luckily, Marty also takes correction very well and is very intelligent, when he wants to be.  When Elmo first got to the house, Marty was just confused.  He sat around watching him, not really sure how to behave.  When Elmo started playing with some of Marty's toys, Marty got possessive and started growling, going as far as trying to steal the toy from Elmo's mouth.  Over the next 5-10 minutes Marty had to be continuously corrected, and was forced to realize (which he eventually did) that the toys weren't actually his, they were mine and I could give them to whomever I want.  To do this, I had Marty and Elmo sit near me, and would give a toy to Marty.  He would start to chew on it, and just as he would lie down to really go to town on it, I would take the toy and give it to Elmo.  If Marty growled he got a pinch on the neck and a firm "HEY" ("NO" is reserved for extreme circumstances) and sometimes a spray from the water bottle.  If he didn't growl/make a dash for Elmo, he got a treat.  It didn't take long for him to realize that treats are a lot more fun than corrections.

Now that all was good in Toy Land, we decided to move the Dynamic Duo outside so they could rough house a bit.  Once again, Marty had no idea what to do.  Elmo, being part Corgi, has plenty of energy to spare, and wasted no time nipping at Marty trying to egg on a chase.  After a couple of minutes, and some prodding from myself, Gloria and James, Marty was off chasing Elmo around the yard at breakneck speed.  This went on for a few minutes, until Marty actually caught Elmo.  Now was the tricky part, teaching Marty that nipping and wrestling was fine, but you had to be "gentle."  Not really the big guy's strong suit.  A few yelps from Elmo and a few "Gentle!" calls from me and Marty pretty much had it.  I think his mental breakdown of the event went something like this:

I chase you, I catch you, we wrestle, I'm gentle, we both get treats.
You chase me, you catch me, we wrestle, I'm gentle, we both get treats.

Elmo went above and beyond teaching Marty to play though.  He also taught Marty how to use his cuteness towards his advantage.  I should say that Elmo is EXTREMELY well trained.  He knows tons of tricks and listens to everything that Gloria and Ryan say (believe me, I was taking notes).  That being said, Elmo is a bit of an instigator.  The word "No" doesn't actually mean "no" it means do it anyway, but look as cute as possible when you do it.

Perfect example, we were building stuff in James' room and we had put a box in front of the door so Marty and Elmo couldn't get inside and eat things that they shouldn't eat.  Marty and Elmo had been playing all day at this point and were dead tired.  They'd stand every once and a while, but collapse almost immediately after.  However, as soon as Elmo realized there was a place that he wasn't allowed to go, it became his mission to get there.  The plotting commenced shortly after.

Look at them, plotting and scheming.
In a very 'Of Mice and Men' manner, Elmo (being George) started devising a plan to take advantage of Marty's (Lennie's) size to break down the barrier.  Knowing that Marty would follow him anywhere, Elmo would place his paw against the barrier.  Wondering what was so interesting, Marty would then do the same, putting all of his weight behind his paw, since he has no concept of his own size.  The first time they tried this, Elmo instantly sat down and put on his cutest face, whereas Marty retreated, feeling bad that he'd done something wrong.  After a few more attempts Marty wouldn't retreat, but would just sit and look as cute as possible, just like Elmo.  It was adorable... and devious.

Throughout the rest of the day Marty would follow Elmo around and by the end of the day were two adorable peas in a pod.  All in all the play date was a big success and I think we're going to be having Elmo as a house guest this weekend while Gloria and Ryan are out of town, so expect more cute pictures.

K bye!

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