Riley is a reactive dog.
We’ve finally been able to spend more time training him outside, where the things that make him crazy abound. He’s doing pretty well, but it takes “high-value treats” (cut up string cheese or boiled chicken) to convince him to NOT bark.
Here’s what drives him crazy:
Other dogs, especially smaller ones.
Bicycles in motion.
Strollers in motion.
And Asian people.
He has no trouble with any other ethnicity. But if he spies an Asian, he goes bananas, barking hysterically.
So you can only imagine what THIS does to him. We call it a “double-whammy.”
And he has absolutely NO appreciation for this.
Our town is primarily Asian, so he has many opportunities to go crazy. This is our general neighborhood, where we’re hard-pressed to find a strip mall that’s not completely Asian.
Riley is tight with a few people, who are given dispensation. One is our eccentric neighbor, “Rusty,” who can ride his bike with impunity. He’s not Asian, though.
Another is Sal, our mailman. M. takes Riley to the mailbox every day in what we call “The Dauphin Hold.” M forms a pillow with his arms, carefully supporting Riley in a royal manner, which is only fitting. And together they go out to see Sal.
Sal’s Italian, like us, and from New Jersey. He’s the only mailman I’ve ever known by name in my entire life. At first, his mail truck upset Riley. But now, Riley realizes that Sal is only one of his many subjects and he’ll tolerate Sal, and even look forward to his daily visit.
On Saturday, M. and Riley saw the mail truck and headed toward the mailbox. But Sal was off that day. When they reached the mail truck, Riley (and belatedly, M.) saw Sal’s replacement for the day.
He was Asian.
Oh, it was ugly. Barking. Snarling. Growling.
I just knew he was saying “Who the hell are YOU and what have you done with Sal, you no-good *#$%&+))**@!!!!
“You’ve got yourself a terror, there,” said the Saturday mail guy.
“Yep,” M. said, trying to hold back 10 lbs. of crazy, Asian-hating dog.
I’m thinkin’ we might do better in Oakland.