Trifling Dog

23 Dec 2004Steve Schwarz

Function: verb

1 a : to talk in a jesting or mocking manner or with intent to delude or mislead
b : to treat someone or something as unimportant

2 : to handle something idly…may imply playfulness, unconcern, indulgent contempt
Source: Merriam-Webster OnLine

According to the second definition Nancy hit the nail on the head today when she called Mr. Peabody a trifling dog! I was laughing out loud. It’s even funnier if you imagine a Southern gentleman saying it. Think of the voice overs in Ken Burns’ The Civil War series: “Ah say Suuh, that is one trifling dog!”

Mr. P’s behavior when playing fetch elicited her comment. His brother Milo will bring his toy and drop it close to you or, if you ask, in your hand. Mr. P, on the other hand, will race up to you and fling his toy at you and take off running. This leaves the toy somewhere within three feet of you but usually just out of reach. Repeating “Peabody bring me your toy” will get him to race up grab the toy and flip it 1-2 inches closer. You will have to repeat this little game 3-4 times (with increasingly insistent tones) to get him to move the toy close enough to pick up and throw.

This is one of those “who is training whom?” scenarios. If you wait him out he’ll still do the same thing; inching the toy ever closer each time. He’s just decided that this is how he wants to play. It’s not something we want to “fix”, we view it as just part of his independent and very Border Collie-like (quirky) personality.

So if you’ve got a dog that sometimes does just enough to get by you might have a Trifling Dog too!

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