How To Cope With A Neurotic
By B.M. Morgan
Sherlock Holmes said that dogs always reflect the personality of their owners. A bad tempered family always has a snappy snarly dog. When the household guardian welcomes you in with tail wagging and winds itself ingratiatingly round your legs you know instinctively you are also going to get a friendly greeting from his amiable masters and mistresses.
Vets keep telling us that there are more neurotic dogs every year. Doctors tell us the same thing about people. If a neurotic dog comes into the possession of a neurotic person I should think the result would be that both would go stark staring "bonkers" and probably send all their intimates of both species round the bend too.
Fortunately, if a neurotic dog gets into the right hands, with firm, sensible handling, sensitive understanding and without too much allowance being made for its likes and dislikes it can usually be rehabilitated. For the poor little animal coming into the possession of a neurotic owner there is no such rosy prospect. Happily owners' neurosis seldom takes the form of unkindness and is more likely to manifest itself in an almost hysterical anxiety for the welfare and comfort of his adored pet. All very boring for a tough little dog like a Corgi.
No one of course wants to sell a puppy to such a person (even if you don't care a hoot about the dog, the owner is going to be an endless nuisance to you with endless queries and unjustified complaints) but they are not easy to spot when they arrive to buy a lovable little pet. Above all avoid (under any circumstances) selling a dog to such a person who also happens to be a near neighbour. I made this fatal mistake once by selling a healthy hearty dog to a very nice man who only lived five minutes' walk away and learned later that he was a hypochondriac, both about himself and also his dog. He used to phone and say "May I bring Toby down he's terribly lame and I think his eyes hurt him" and a few minutes later Toby would appear, bounding about, raring to go and nothing wrong with either his legs or eyes.
A few days later "There's something wrong with Toby-he yawns all the time". I quickly squashed that one. He had to admit Toby didn't yawn when out for a walk or playing ball, so I said firmly "He's bored! You must spend more time amusing him". The climax came when late one night he brought Toby round "in terrible agony with his tummy covered with black eruptions". The weather had been very wet and he didn't know male dogs had nipples. The black "eruptions" were these encrusted with mud and the agony existed only in his imagination. After this I told him as he was so concerned about his dog's health he had better consult a Vet, but this meant paying and I don't think he bothered.
Then there was the woman who asked what she could give her dog for a change. I asked her what she was giving it, and was told steak, liver, mince, chicken, rabbit, fish. I couldn't think of anything else!
My sympathy goes out wholeheartedly to the dog that is dotingly loved by someone who has no other peg on which to hang their affection. It has a hell of a life, no fun kept wrapped in cotton wool, overfed and its too early death must be a happy release. Unfortunately there is very little hope for a puppy that goes to such a person. It will grow up reflecting its owner's personality probably bad tempered, almost certainly unhealthy.
But now here is some advice to the adult dog with a good temperament that has been sensibly brought up and is unlucky enough to get into the hands of a neurotic. If he follows it who knows he may reclaim him and turn him into a normal person.
There are quite a lot of things you can do. When the Boss thinks that a gentle little stroll round the square is enough exercise, slip your collar and go off for a couple of hours' fun with the gang, before returning home when you will be met with such a welcome you will be forgiven. After a few times, the Boss will either give in and realise that half-hour's crawl is not giving you enough exercise and may perhaps be persuaded to give you a free run in the park, or if an incredible curmudgeon, may decide to tighten the collar so that it can't be slipped. In that case there is only one course to pursue. Turn round and suitably bite the lead in two. Be careful not to bite it too high up as this will leave a trailing piece which may get tangled up and thoroughly inconvenience you. If even this doesn't do the trick and Master turns really nasty and buys a chain, try leaping down the road nearly dragging his arm out of the socket. You never know he may let go. Failing this try whipping round and round his legs. You might pull him down and that would shake him.
I don't suppose you would be dog enough to refuse to be overfed. After all what dog would, but if the Boss has funny ideas about diet, be very firm. Don't eat his beastly stuff. He is probably a food crank and you can always do a bit of garbage hunting while you are on the run and he'll soon be begging you to eat what you really like with tears in his eyes. If he is always wanting to dose you for this and that, stand no nonsense, simply vomit his revolting medicines, preferably on his best carpet. That'll teach him you could always bite of course but nice dogs don't do that.
If he is solicitous about your comfort why should you trouble. If he doesn't like his sheets wet and muddy why should you care. You never asked to sleep in his bed. If he wants to make you wear a coat, and Corgis look cissies in coats, rip it up. He can always buy another and you can rip that up too.
If you want to go out and he wants to watch TV bark plenty. Then he won't be able to hear and will give in. If visitors come, always be very nice to them then he won't have the face to complain. Never put on an act in the car. Remember if you distract him and cause an accident you are just as likely to get hurt as he is. Finally always remember to be nice to the Vet. You might be really ill some day and need him.
Welsh Corgi League Handbook 1965