Editor’s note:Iâ€™m not a complainer. Really, Iâ€™m not. But having lived my first 68 years in the USA, I find that things being different take me some getting used to. Understand, please, Iâ€™m not asserting that â€œdifferentâ€ is wrong. Itâ€™s probably right for here; only Iâ€™m unused to it.
So, Iâ€™m sucking it up and learning to accept those different things. Still, I think it may amuse Dominicans reading this and help inform and prepare Americans, and Europeans and other â€œ1st-worldersâ€ wishing to settle here as well.
Iâ€™ll write about those differences â€“ big and small â€“ from time to time, and will preface it with this paragraph so that you know Iâ€™m not complaining.
Difference # 3: Sand at the beach.
This one is silly and trivial, and thereâ€™s certainly no right or wrong, but itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve noticed. Americans (grown-ups anyhow) tend to avoid getting sand on their bodies at the beach. Sometimes theyâ€™ll allow their children to bury them with toy shovels, but thatâ€™s a game and also keeps the sun off oneâ€™s body. But immediately afterward the person buried will go into the water and wash the sand off. But generally Americans have an aversion to getting sand on their bodies. Perhaps itâ€™s because most of us use a protective sun-block, which feels greasy and sticky enough, thank you, without sand on it too. But Iâ€™ve noticed that Black Americans have the same attitude towards beach sand as the Whites.
Here in Dominica I observe people of all ages rolling in the sand, even in wet clothes. Itâ€™s just a Dominican â€œthingâ€, I suppose.
Difference #4: Interacting with dogs.
Iâ€™ve had miniature schnauzers since the mid-1960s. And as a boy I always had a dog. Among other things, I love training them. I train them using reward, repetition and patience. No dog of mine has ever been hit. Ranger (the gray dog jumping the cane is 9Â½ years old and has performed his 18-trick repertoire for the Calibishie school twice and also for the Paix Bouche school. Lyla, the black one that is with my wife Ruth is 5Â½ and knows about 14 tricks.
I could say a lot, but I donâ€™t want to offend anyone. I just want to make this point: Love works. There is no need to hit a dog or throw stones at it, etc when training it. I will give one example: Someone needed to train a small dog no to jump onto chairs, sofas and the bed. The person thought that hitting the dog when caught in the forbidden places was the way to do that. I explained that the dog would simply learn to go up when nobody is watching and would listen and jump down when it heard someone coming.
My method involves no punishment, and it works: Simply place a newspaper with a set mousetrap on the furniture. The dog will jump up once; the trap will go off and make a loud noise striking the paper (but not hurting the dog). The dog will think that there is something scary about the place it jumped to and wonâ€™t do it again.
Use love, patience, repetition and reward, never punishment, to train your dog. If you have a question, send it to me.
Today I saw a guy whom I have observed to be a thug and a short-tempered brute do exactly what he should not have done with a dog. He called it, and when it eventually came (he does feed it) he smacked it. What better way is there to teach a dog not to come when called?
He thinks (in his case I use the word “thinks” advisedly) that the dog interprets the blow as punishment for not staying in his yard. He’s wrong.
Wait, I cannot fathom it being so stragihtforrawd.