Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

Nov 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 human help. My great-grandfather was caught from the wild. I can offer advice based on the natural instincts and attributes of wild dogs. In addition, my adoptive person and I have had lots of training classes and other experiences. Some humans call themselves Mom or Dad of their dogs, but I refer to my human, tongue in cheek, as 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 pet dogs with problem humans. If I can’t help, at least I can offer sympathy, and we can have some fun talking about our amazing humans. Please send your questions! Bammy, 280 Pond Rd., Newcastle, ME 04553, or email:


About retirement.

I heard Boss talking about retirement and then she stopped going away every morning, but she still wasn’t any fun in the mornings. She sat in front of that box and played with the clickety thing. So I got in the habit of napping on my bed near what she named “Computer” while she played with it. She retired a few years ago, and when I began to get tired of agility, I remembered it. I had been competing for almost ten years!

Could retirement have been as hard for her as it was for me? I started by just hinting that I didn’t want to run obstacle courses anymore. I’d run the first couple of courses all right and then I’d start slowing down. I could tell when we were going to a trial because she packed lots of things into bags and put her folding chair in the car. I thought maybe if I refused to get into the car, she would get the idea that I didn’t want to go anymore. But off we went. I still kind of liked short practices with other dogs, and just the two of us at home was fun. She was more relaxed, and she laughed a lot when we got mixed up. She laughed at trials, too, but it just wasn’t the same.

Finally we stopped doing agility, and I thought I had retired, but it was just a vacation, and then we went right back to work. For a few minutes I enjoyed running with her and doing the obstacles, but it was the same old thing. “Wait. Wait. Jump. Go tunnel. Go weave. Go! Go! GO!” That was the worst thing. I was supposed to go in and out between a row of poles, not just in and out, but starting on the right side and not skipping any. And she wanted me to go faster and faster. If you saw me running between trees in the woods, you’d see fast and agile, but those useless pole in a big room that smelled like dogs and people and sometimes horses and even mice? I just stopped running to check out interesting smells. Catching a mouse would be SO much more fun! And the smells of other dogs – I could linger over those for minutes at a time.

She still didn’t see that I was bored. So I sat at the starting line the way she told me, but I didn’t get up! I just sat there while she danced around clapping her hands, looking silly, calling “Jump! Jump! COME, Bammy! JUMP!” When she said “Bammy, HEEL!” I did, and that made me go over a jump. Then we were facing the dog walk. I LOVE that! I ran across it fast, and just trotted around the rest of the course sniffing things on the way. She gave me treats and told me I was wonderful, but she can’t fool me. I know she was unhappy with me.

I thought she had finally wised up. She stopped taking me to agility things for almost a year. Once in a while, we ran my own dog walk at home and a few jumps. She gave me lots of treats and that was fun. And then – can you believe it? She packed the car again and off we went to an agility trial! I love to make her happy, but I was done, done, done!

There’s a new game we play now that we are both retired. She plays some puppyish music and bounces around while she asks me to run between her legs and leap and twirl and jump. Now THAT is fun!

~ Bammy