Sherlock has picked up a very endearing habit.
We've been working REALLY hard to break him of his compulsion to bark at every person who dares to approach our home and every random noise made by a neighbor.
He was beginning to drive us up a wall with this incessant barking in Waukesha.
We've tried spray bottles, swats on the rump, ultrasonic beepers and vibrating collars. I've raised my voice and said unkind things about his ancestry to express my sore displeasure. He has learned it is an act that is vehemently disapproved.
But I've tried gentleness, too. Realizing it may be deeply ingrained primal instinct to declare to all intruders he stands ready to defend his humans and his turf to the doggy death if need be, I often call him over when I can sense the urge striking, speak soothingly to him, and warmly massage his furry headbone.
It tends to assure him the threat is not so apocalyptic as imagined.
So here's the endearing part.
Lately, when Sherlock hears a sudden noise, or picks up the scent of a potential persona non grata, he starts his low growl, maybe even emits a short, stacatto burst of bark, but then, before assuming full attack formation, he saunters on over to me (without having been bidden), head lowered, looking for that Daddy love in the form of a firm caress and those calm, assuring words.
In other words, when the temptation to naughtiness seizes hold, and the urge to do the forbidden overwhelms like a flood; when every fiber of his being is agitated, and the drive to fulfill illicit feral impulse is just too powerful to refuse, my fur-faced friend IMMEDIATELY runs to the circle of his master's presence, and chooses the comfort and assurance of his "father's" love (John 15:9; Jude 21a).
And that imparts the strength he needs to overcome.
Sherlock's new, patented way of walking in victory over bark.
We should be so wise.
The key to ALL is . . . we ALWAYS HAVE HIM
(Psalm 16:8; 23:1; 73:25; 91:1-4; Hebrews 13:5)