ZURICH — Is your werewolf’s constant misbehavior driving you crazy? Stop pulling your hair out and enroll your wolfman in one of four obedience schools that have cropped up in Switzerland.
At institutions like the Lycanthrope Academy outside Zurich, ill-mannered man-beasts are trained to become docile and obedient.
“Werewolves come here tearing up furniture, chasing postmen and sullenly ignoring commands,” states Juergan Lichtenwalter, director of the school. “They leave here helpful companions that will obey orders instantly and even delight their masters’ guests with a variety of tricks.”
Werewolves are common household pets in Switzerland, Germany and France, and function in a broad range of service roles as well. Some serve as guard dogs, rescue animals, sheep herders, drug sniffers and of course companions to the blind.
When well trained, the loyal and intelligent creatures can be wonderful in all those roles, outshining even German shepherds. But unruly, poorly trained and disobedient werewolves can be a nightmare.
“Before we brought King to the obedience school, he was always leaving poop around the house and no amount of swats on the behind with rolled up newspaper would stop him,” reveals Annalise Landenber, 42. “He wouldn’t quit humping my leg. And once, when I tried to take our milkman’s femur away from him, he snapped at me.
“King wouldn’t even answer to his own name. But after six weeks at the school, he’s like a whole new wolfman. If you say ‘Come,’ he comes. ‘Roll over’ or ‘Beg’ and he rolls over and begs.”
The exclusive Lycanthrope Academy, which opened its doors three years ago, accepts only pedigreed werewolves, while its three imitators train mixed breeds as well.
The owners of the academy refuse to divulge their training methods, calling them a “trade secret.” But the director disputes accusations on an animal rights blog that cattle prods and silver canes are used to cow the creatures into submission.
“Our approach draws upon the latest research in both animal and human psychology,” explains Licthenwalter. “Once you understand that a werewolf has two sides – the canine side that is pack-oriented, intuitive and uninhibited and the human side, which is intelligent and rational — it’s mostly a matter of communicating with them in a gentle but firm manner.
“You have to show them that you love them, but also who’s the boss.”
Ms. Landenber, an administrative assistant and mother of four, couldn’t be happier.
“I’m seriously thinking about entering him in the big contest in Geneva this fall,” she reveals. “I think he could win Best in Show.”
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