October 8, 2010

Well, looks like I spoke too soon

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:21 am by Jane

The trouble with giving private lessons – especially to well-heeled housewives – is that they tend to cancel at short notice.   This morning, for example, I received an email from this delightful lady telling me that she wanted to cancel all our lessons for October because her 93-year-old mother has taken sick.  It’s a common situation when dealing the magnificent “Sandwich Generation” ladies who are not only caring for elderly parents, but for their own children and grandchildren as well (how they manage to fit in time for English lessons is a mystery to me, but hey I’m not complaining).  Basically, although the pay is good and the conditions are great, there’s no job security at all.  On the bright side, there is no shortage of eager new faces willing to take their place, thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations.  A few weeks ago I was asked to meet up with a new student in a wealthy mountainside suburb.  As you know, all of my students are fascinating to me, but some more than others, especially this lady.  My first hint that she was something out of the ordinary was when she picked me up in a huge white Mercedes (extravagant even by Kobe standards).  My next was when she introduced me to her constant companion, a fat little dachshund named Ralph with pink ribbons in his hair.  And then, after the lesson, when she treated me to lunch in a French restaurant that has an actual Rodin in the courtyard?  Okay, that’s when I realised that she and I were going to get along just fine.  And so we do!  I now take lessons at her splendid home every Saturday morning, spending 90 minutes listening to her brag in broken English about her latest pottery acquisitions (one of her hobbies is travelling around Japan collecting rare pieces) and being fed exquisite tea and sweets from Kyoto.  I couldn’t be happier about this situation. 

Unfortunately, the only problem is … Ralph.  He hates my guts.  He starts barking as soon as I approach the front door, angrily nips at my heels as I enter the home, and spends most of the lesson growling at me from under the table.  His doting mistress tells me to ignore him, assures me that he’ll get used to me in time (it’s been two months already), and when it gets really bad she reluctantly locks him in another room, but the whole thing just unnerves me.  What can I do to win Ralph’s affections?  I would appreciate any advice that you have for me.  (Bear in mind that he’s a dachshund, and therefore not too smart.)

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8 Comments »

  1. Petra said,

    Bribe him with food!

  2. karen1945 said,

    Exactly what I was going to say. And if regular treats don’t work, put some poison in them.

  3. karen1945 said,

    Oh, and don’t feel bad. It’s been my experience that dachshunds hate pretty much everyone.

  4. Miko said,

    Yes, I’ve noticed that male dachs are pretty aggressive (probably suffering from short dog complex, tee hee!), but I’ve had some lovely encounters with females. Exactly what am I supposed to bribe Ralph with? One of those fake bones, or something?

  5. karen1945 said,

    There are usually things like liver treats or whatever, in pet stores, that are labeled as “treats”. That’s what I’d use, not a fake bone. Something small and chewy.

  6. karen1945 said,

    Just as an experiment, before you give him the treats, try sitting down in the floor a little ways away from him. If he comes to you, then give him the treats. He may like you better if you’re closer to his size. Also, that’s a trick I learned to get a dog to come to me. Just sit down, in a field, on the curb, wherever. For some reason, dogs can’t resist coming to see why you sat down. Then, if Ralph acts reasonably friendly, give him a treat, and talk soothingly to him. If he’s stand-offish, put the treat between you & him, and then keep inching him closer with treats. He may not let you pet him at first. In fact, it may be best not even to try. But after a few times of doing that at the first of each visit, he will be your new BFF.

  7. Miko said,

    thanks, I’ll do all that. I hope BFF stands for “best fat friend” because he’s pretty obese, so I shall have to find some low-cal treats for him.

  8. Petra said,

    Roast Beef. I have never met a dog who could resist that.


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