"Pets Communicate"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, August 25, 2017

Do you and your pet communicate? Although a naysayer may believe pets are dumb, most pet owners believe their pets can and do communicate.

Pets may be born without the knowledge of communication but as I see it, a good trainer can bring out the best in most any animal. All it takes is a little time and mutual understanding.

To train a pet, you need to gain their respect. This must be done without causing the pet to be fearful. If the pet fears you, it will likely take advantage of an opportunity to get revenge by striking out at you or running away.

I believe most pets are pretty smart, much smarter than we credit them. Some, just like humans, are defiant and determined to do things their own way. After all, they do have a mind of their own. I had a dog named Sabastian that would pick out a particular toy on command. He would even get the right color ball when requested, even though some say dogs are colorblind. If I told him to pick up his toys and put them in his box, he would. He would sit, fetch, lie down, speak and on and on.

Sabastian had a bad habit I could not break, guarding his food. I could give him a bone but dare not go near him until he was done with it. One evening, he kept the whole family trapped in the living room while he finished his bone.

Sabastian was also a great watch dog. Not until he bit me did I find out he would not allow other family members to enter the house if I was gone, not even to feed him. He pretty much bit everyone I asked to look after him, but they never told. He had such a strong will and I never found a way to control it. One day, we were driving down the road following my daughter’s car. Her dog Herman was looking out the back window and when Sebastian spotted him, out the window he went. He rolled several times and got a bloody nose for his stunt, but that was the extent of his injuries.

Sadly after he bit me, we had to send him to the pound. I sure was heartbroken, just as if I had lost him to old age or sickness. I always hoped someone took him home that needed a “bad” dog.

Although dogs are my favorite pets, some people prefer cats, mice, gerbil’s even Guinea pigs, all of which can be trained. Gold fish and other colorful aquarium fish are popular with youngsters, but they are not trainable. They just swim around their tanks and look attractive. Among common pets are birds, and although some would sooner fly away, others can carry on a conversation, whistle or sing.

I witnessed one of the best trained animals you could ever imagine. It was a pot bellied pig named “Pepsi.” The pig was allowed one can of Pepsi a day just before bed time. All the owner had to say was, “Time for bed, Pepsi.”

The pig would come running and head for the refrigerator. He would open the door, get out a can of Pepsi, open it and drink it down then go directly to his pen. Just try to train your kids to behave like that — they just may be adults before you succeed.

I have witnessed trained cats that respond on command and perform feats once thought impossible for their species. Some people say house cats cannot be trained beyond the litter box, yet I saw them trained to jump through hoops of fire. They would also sit up, shake with their paw and flip over on command. It can be done; just don’t let the kids try the fire hoop.

Most of us have seen horses perform various feats and receive rewards of an apple or a hug. Elephants can also do tricks but, somehow, they have never been considered for house pets. Snakes are preferred by some as pets, but I think you have to be special to not fear them.

People love their pets, some perhaps more than family members. Pets love their masters in return, some so much they become jealous of the rest of the family.

Of course, we all say we will never replace a pet after losing one. After getting over our loss, we usually start looking. We know there is a new one out there that will be very trainable, the kind that seems to live to please its master and enjoys participating in its master’s activities.

Pets can be good company for the lonely. They can be an assistant for the disabled, and can even perform as lifesavers in an emergency. If you want to get a pet, whatever it may be, remember they all require attention and care. If you don’t have the time or patience, don’t get one because you will only make it suffer while someone else may want to love it. It would be great if you would “rescue” a pet from the pound — they will love you for doing so.

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