The woman who gave me this dog, (and then sold him to me), was named Rita. I sometimes mention her to my dog, along with others he knew in the past. He totally understands what I am saying, and responds.
There is an elderly man who was hired as cheap labour to paint the house next-door. He was rather too - friendly is not the word - pushy - nosy. Started talking to my dog without even looking at me, which is totally rude, anyone w/ any social graces knows that. But, we talked a bit, at first. He kept pushing in. Just could NOT take hints, even as I pushed him away more. At one point, I mentioned to him that A-hole Guy is constantly lying, and basically OKkkk'd him farewell. Next thing, A-hole's Landlady is all chatting up with him. Whatever.
This evening, he walked by again, while I was sitting w/ dog on front porch steps. He starts walking up the path steps, talking to me. And so I just put my hand in the STOP position, and said, "I don't want to talk to you, OK?!" Finally, he got that message and went away. I felt sorry for him as he crossed the highway, going home. I learnt long ago, though, that I am not responsible for other people's issues. I never started any of this, it was just him him him pushing in in in, and I had to put my foot down. Didn't like it, either, that he had no qualms working for a lying sack of shit.
Later, I told my dog that, I was sorry, but I did not like that man. I made it clear, what I was talking about. A little later, I was talkign to my dog, and said, "Do you like Rita or me?" - (which is dumb thing to say, to a kid or a pet, not really wise, as it culture jealousy and competition, but, I don't do this much. I am more about telling him how wonderful most anybody is). We already both clearly knew that he liked me more than Rita - for one thing, I give him chicken! Instead of answering about Rita, he knew this was really about the old man. He turns his head to stare to the exact location where the old man had been. As I had insinuated, he thought to himself, "If I like madman more than Rita, then surely I must like madman more than the old man outside!" So, then he walked up, as I had hoped he would do, and put the shank of his body up against me, to hug. How about that? Dogs are really so amazingly smart. I will never forget walking in the woods with Kurska, getting hypothermic, and she also putting her whole body up against me to bring me warmth. You think about how crazy the world is, try to remember the astonish miracles extant as creatures all around us.