Title - The Corgi Mind Trick

If I were going to write a children's book about Harry I'd call it Harry Gets His Way, because he does, he gets his way.

Harry has a knack of making things turn out the way he wants. I'm convinced it's because he has powers.

Before I get to the frightening details of Harry's powers, allow me to say that he is judicious in their use. He has all the conventional canine powers of persuasion at his disposal, and he prefers to exhaust these methods first, before bringing out the big guns.

Harry is a gifted con dog and has a subtle, refined technique. When mooching, he does the Poor Starved Dog routine with skill and grace. You might actually believe he hadn't eaten for a week were it not for his somewhat robust proportions.

If the starving dog gambit fails, he turns it up a notch with a little number we like to call "Lovable Dog". He'll sit quietly and patiently, looking at you with his big eyes, waiting for you to crack. If he needs to, he'll rest his chin on your foot in a really endearing way. That's his best move.

Harry also has tactics that rely more on brute force than subtlety. In the morning, when he decides it's time to get up and feed the dog - usually about 6 a.m. - he starts his campaign off slow but escalates it quickly. I usually hear him come jingling into the bedroom. If I'm smart, I just get up then and feed him. If I don't move right away, he starts in with that little "Heeeeem, Heeeeem" noise that dogs make through their noses. If I still haven't moved, he eliminates any hope I might have of getting back to sleep by unleashing his secret weapon, The Flap.

If you've never heard a Corgi flap at 6 a.m., well, let me tell you, you're lucky. There's no way to sleep through a flap.

The flap is a rapid fire movement. In a normal dog with ordinary sized ears, it would be merely a vigorous shake, but get a set of Corgi ears going at full tilt and it's decidedly more dramatic. It sounds like a helicopter taking off. There are times when I think that if he just flaps a little harder, he might get airborne. Add in the timpani of the dog tags and there's just no way to sleep through it. Like I said, Harry gets his way.

Beyond these ordinary, if well-honed, canine skills of manipulation and coercion, however, Harry has a little something extra. Allow me to elaborate.

Very early on, when Harry was just a puppy, we decided that we weren't going to give him any human food, as Corgis have a tendency toward stoutness. No extra snacks for Harry. No sir!

Knowing that the Missus is a tough nut to crack, he decided to break me first. One day, while eating pretzel sticks, I suddenly thought: "Harry's a good dog. I should give him one of my pretzel sticks." I hadn't really intended to give him a pretzel stick, but I did. Something just inexplicably made me want to.

This was my first experience with the Corgi Mind Trick.

To give you another example, just a few weeks ago I was sitting here at this very computer, when suddenly I thought to myself: "Gee, you know, it's a pretty nice day out. I should take Harry to the park to chase the geese."

I got up, and I was walking across the kitchen to get his leash and Canine Canteen when I happened to glance at the back door. There he was peering through the screen door with a knowing look on his little doggie face. It was eerie. He started doing the Corgi Dance of Joy, because he knew. I hadn't touched his leash or water bottle or picked up my car keys and he knew. I hadn't even put on my shoes.

There are know-it-alls who will say that Harry just picked up on some subtle body language, kind of like Clever Hans. Clever Hans was a horse that everybody thought knew how to count. His owner would tell him a number and Hans would start stamping his hoof until, sure enough, he hit the right number. It turned out, though, that Clever Hans wasn't really that clever. He was just watching his owner who, completely unconsciously, would make a change in posture or some sort of tell-tale movement that would let the horse know when it was time to stop counting.

I don't think this is how Harry knew we were going to the park, though. I don't think I have a going to the park walk. I don't think I'm that easy to read. I think Harry knew what was in my head because he put it there!

Living with a dog with powers has taken a little adjustment. There are times he looks at me in a way that makes me try really hard not to think of my credit card number or where I hid the Christmas presents. It sounds a little scary, but you get used to it.

Fortunately, Harry is completely benevolent in the use of his powers. He uses his powers for neither good nor for evil. Mostly he just uses them for snacks.