I was sorry, but it had to be done; I had to sit him down yesterday to lay down the law.
"I know you have rights, buddy," I said in my this-is-me-at-my-limit voice, "But this will not do. You are seven years old now. You're not a baby any more and this is not acceptable."
He looked up at me with appealing brown eyes. That doesn't pull the wool. I am doing this for his own good, and he has no say in it - no choice at all.
"You did not conform to what we discussed you should do, the other day. Now, I've been patient. I thought it might take a few days to come out the doing-exactly-what-you-want-when-you- want-to mode. Other people, I may say, would have been FAR LESS TOLERANT than me when you deviated from the plan I made for you".
He turned his head. It was quite hard for me to judge whether or not he was listening. "Back to the plan. It was explained to you. Twice. And I cannot abide this behaviour. I instituted a wall chart with boxes to tick. I delineated how we were going to measure your actions and reactions. The plan is robust and it is rigorous. Boy, you have a RIGHT to this plan, and, by Badman, you are going to follow it!"
"Do you realise that if you DO NOT conform to the plan I have made up for you then there will be consequences? You will probably have to attend school. You will have to be drilled in various aspects of your behaviour. You will have toys removed, and treats withheld. YOU MUST FOLLOW THE RULES AND OBEY ME".
He had put his head on his arm by now; his eyes were closing and he was patently ignoring me. I stood over him. "If it gets too bad, I will have you taken away by the authorities. Are you listening to me?"
Like the government, he paid no attention. Or maybe he was paying attention, but nothing came of it. There was no change. Whatever he had decided to do, he was going to continue doing it.
"You will do what I say. You will be socialised. You will learn correct behaviour. I want to see results. I want to see changes. I want to see your behaviour improve month on month or there will be serious consequences. There will be progression and you will demonstrate improvements! You will be a success whether you want to be or not!"
He got up, tail in the air, defiant to the last. I shook my head. You simply cannot make a golden retriever do anything he doesn't want to do. No matter how much you threaten him.