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Mike mad dog adams


Mike mad dog adams was a dog

If you had to define a true New Yorker, one would have to say he was one. He was born in New York, spent much of his life there, and died there as well. New Yorkers don't often move away, but when they do, they have an inkling of what it's like.

A small group of New Yorkers was discussing the meaning of life this past weekend, and someone recalled one of the city's great poets. At the end of his poem "The Dog," Robert Burns asks a dog that lives in a city backyard: "What is happiness? What is love? What is health? What is hope?" His question is simple, but New Yorkers have come up with the only plausible answer, at least to me: a dog is a New Yorker's best friend, not because he or she needs him or her, but because they're a New Yorker. This guy's no poet.

The "dog as a New Yorker's best friend" idea is not unique to Robert Burns. For instance, in his book "New York in Verse," published in 1911, the writer Henry James clmed that the New York streets were really filled with "the best friends a dog could ever know." It's a sentiment that dates back to the days when New York was much smaller. Writing in 1755, an Englishman named Alexander Pope declared that the British Empire itself was built on "the friendship of a Dog and a Fool." Back in 1764, David Garrick, the foremost British theatrical star of his day, visited the New World. As he observed of New York at the time, "I saw a people who did not know the use of arms, but who have a most affectionate attachment for a Man. . . . There is no one here that does not love his Dog, and no dog who is not beloved in return."

How can you not love a guy who loves you? That's what makes people crazy about dogs, says Dr. Michael Katz, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. "To look at a dog and look at someone and just love them, that is something that you do not do in any other context," says Katz, who also happens to be New York's current commissioner of animal welfare. He says that's what keeps his neighbors from wanting to call the police.

To Katz, "Dog-loving" New Yorkers have a higher tolerance for a little harmless flirting, pet play, and roughhousing than most. They can get over it, because in New York, there are lots of dogs, and lots of places to enjoy them. They're a New Yorker's best friend—until someone's in a mood, of course.

#### **"THE TOUGHER THE TOUGHEST"**

You'd think there would be a law agnst picking fights with dogs. And actually, there is. But it's just not a law to New Yorkers' liking. The "tough guy" theory of canine play dates originated with New York City police officers in the 1970s. "The old 'tougher the tougher' theory says a small-time bully would pick a fight with an angry street tough," says Katz. "But the theory goes, because the street tough is a wimp, he'll fold and it'll go on."

When you're on a leash, you're less likely to pick a fight with another dog. But Katz says that if the bully and the wimp do hook up, it's probably because the bully is smaller. That can lead to the bully doing something illegal, like biting, says Katz, but then people get distracted by the legal part of the fight and let up on the biting.

#### **"HEY! WHERE'S MY GODDAMN DOG?!"**

For people who don't own dogs, or whose dog doesn't like playing with other dogs, this is a real possibility. Katz says many owners who don't like to play—or don't know how to—simply blame their dogs for spoiling the fun. But that's a cop-out: When a dog starts barking, Katz says, he just thinks he's being territorial. "The dog is really trying to tell you to shut up."

Katz says it's much more likely that owners who don't like playing with other dogs don't play much with their dogs at all. (He says owners should do the same with other family members.) But the biggest reason Katz thinks owners often don't play with their dogs is that they don't know how. "They'll get up and say, 'Okay, let's play.' And then the dog won't play and the owner will yell, 'Hey! Where's my goddamned dog?'"

If you don't have a lot of dog-playing experience, you can read more about it in the box below.

#### **THE BEST WAY TO PLAY WITH OTHER DOGS**

To really play with your dog, you need to have fun with your dog and with other dogs. To encourage that, you need to be able to have fun yourself. So if you don't like dog play, here are a few things you can do.

• **Learn the rules.** Dogs don't care what you do to each other, they care about what you do to them. That's the only reason dogs will play. If you don't learn the rules, they will get tired of you and just leave you.

• **Get your attention.** That means starting with play signals. "Play bows and pretend to be a sheep. You can sit or lie down," Katz says. "If your dog is coming up to you, say, 'Hey, my little buddy, my dog's about to eat you!'" Make your dog your audience, then let your dog get your attention.

• **Don't look at your dog.** That's the mistake I make. I'll be looking at my dog and he'll come up and bark at me. If I look away, he's just gone. So watch your dog, let your dog watch you.

• **Give signals.** Don't just stand there wting for your dog to come up to you. Say "Yes! Play!" or say "Okay, I want you to play with that." That's an invitation. Your dog needs to decide for himself whether he wants to play or not.

• **Watch what's going on around you.** If your dog is barking, get in front of him and make your dog bark along with you.

• **Teach your dog.** Once he knows how to play, you can teach your dog new tricks. "We use a variety of trning methods," Katz says. "We use lots of rewards. We use food as a reward, and we use food and play, and we do clicker trning. We use the leash to do commands, like 'come' and 'sit,' and 'get down' and 'stand up.' We've done all kinds of tricks with our dogs, like the heel-and-toe walk. The dog learns the command, then the dog knows, 'I want to walk like that,' and we put the leash in his mouth and he learns it. We've had dogs learn to stand on their hind legs. We've had dogs learn tricks to eat a whole hamburger by themselves. We've had dogs learn to take a ball and play catch. That's all trning."

### _Why Dogs Are So Fascinating to People_

People love dogs, and the reasons why are obvious. They're so loyal and smart. They don't judge you, they don't care what


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