Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

By Nancy Holmes | Feb 01, 2018

I am a Carolina Dog, a breed that long ago owned Native American people. We were designed by natural selection to be so intelligent and physically superior that we survived without humans. My great-grandfather was caught from the wild. I can offer advice based on the natural instincts and abilities of wild dogs. My human and I have had lots of training classes and other experiences. Some humans call themselves Mom or Dad of their dogs; but I call my human, tongue in cheek, Boss. Much as I love her, I admit she has many of the same odd notions as most humans, so I can relate to other dogs with problem humans. If I can’t help, at least I can offer sympathy, and we can have fun talking about our amazing humans. Please send your questions! Bammy, 280 Pond Rd. Newcastle, ME 04553, or email:

Dear Readers,

Boss and I have a little problem. I wonder if any of you have the same trouble. I think it’s because she isn’t going for enough walks. You can’t blame her. It’s either cold or wet or windy. And it can be awfully hard running through deep snow. Believe me, as a southerner, I hate winter weather as much as anyone. Sometimes when I ask to go out and she opens the door, I get a blast of snow in my face. I back up fast and run into the kitchen.

The problem is we both think about food all the time. She looks in the refrigerator, looks all around the kitchen. and then walks away with a big sigh. I can’t get into the ‘fridge, but sometimes I find something to eat. Yesterday I opened the doors under the sink and got the compost bucket. Mostly old egg shells. Funky! Then she gets annoyed, but it’s her fault for leaving food where I can get it.

For a while I had a good thing going. I trained her to give me treats while she was eating her supper. It was pretty easy, so try it. I just interrupted her supper. I yanked the bed out of my crate and shook it. That’s fun anyway, and it always gets her attention. I wandered around and whined and looked pathetic. Pretty soon she learned to give me a bone or a toy with peanut butter in it. I’d reward her by settling down for a while. Then I’d start another training round. I found that bringing her something like the recipe file or a box of matches got her attention. Flinging a roll of toilet paper so it unrolled was pretty good. I think the best was walking into the dining room, head high, swinging the toilet brush by the tip of its handle. She couldn’t scold me very well while she was laughing. Then she gave me my hydrant toy with peanut butter frozen in it. She thought if she waited a little before she gave it to me, I wouldn’t think she was rewarding me. Hah! I’m smarter than that! So try training your human. It’s really easy! There must be hundreds of fun ways to get a snack.

But now she’s getting wise to me. She puts a little bit of my supper in a toy that I have to hold by the top so kibbles fall out the bottom. When I’ve gotten them all, she waits until I’m somewhere else and then puts in a few more. She can string it out until she has finished her own supper, and she’s an amazingly slow eater! Sometimes I get impatient with that stingy toy and take it to her. If she doesn’t help, I bark at her. But you’d think she’s deaf. I went in the bathroom to get the brush or some toilet paper, and she threw that awful bunch of keys behind me. I’m not afraid of them because she isn’t throwing them at me, but the noise makes me skitter. So I wandered back looking casual, and just as I opened my mouth to grab the bed out of my crate, she stood up and closed the gate! No treat! No fun! She didn’t even look at me or say anything. I gave up and lay down by the heater.

Well, pups, give this a try and let me know if you can make it work.

Good luck training your humans,