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Business Management

Old Dogs Deliver

Wisdom Trumps Youth


The Nasty Bone is just that — it’s a nasty bone. Made from rawhide, it’s one of the $4 bones that my dogs absolutely love. Sure, it’s not a real bone, but unlike the real bones, these rawhide numbers can actually be chewed through with a good bit of effort and, according to the package, they clean the dog’s teeth in the process — not that my dogs care about clean teeth.

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But the Nasty Bone is different. It’s not just a typical rawhide bone. You see, my dogs, an Alaskan Malamute and a Saint Bernard, can go through a typical rawhide in no time. The Nasty Bone, however, has been around for quite some time now. It’s been buried in the yard more than once by the Malamute. It’s what she does with bones. She buries them, then digs them up and chews on them awhile, then buries them again.

The Nasty Bone was last buried in the garden in our backyard right after I’d hauled in a load of horse manure. I watched as the Malamute nosed it into the fresh pile and then carefully covered it, logging its exact location for later retrieval.


At some point, she’d retrieved it from the manure pile, but she didn’t chew it. Instead, she brought it into the basement; the bone still flaking its dried slobber from its sides and reeking of dung. In fact, the bone was right next to the Malamute on the carpet as she intently watched the much younger Saint Bernard chewing on a brand-new rawhide bone.

It wasn’t long before the Malamute started howling at the younger dog demanding that she turn over the new bone to her highness. I was concerned that she’d wake up the whole house. “SHHH!” I whispered across the media room, trying against all odds to get her to stop the noise. Of course, she didn’t stop. She looked at me, then looked at the new bone that the Saint was slobbering on and let loose another loud howl.


Finally, I got up, stormed over to her and grabbed her muzzle, putting her nose even with mine. “Quiet!” I said, as if that would do any good. I reached down and picked up the Nasty Bone next to her and dropped it between her front paws. “Here. Chew on this one!”

It was then that I realized I’d played a small, pawn-like role in her well-thought-out plan. From the corner of my eye, I saw the Saint jump up and rush over, just sure that the Malamute was being given some tasty treat. She ran up, dropped the new bone and quickly snatched the Nasty Bone from between the Malamute’s paws, then ran off to a corner of the room and immediately went to work chewing on the Nasty Bone. The look on her face was one of extreme pride, as though she were thinking, “Yeah, that’s right old dog! The young pup is too quick for you! Numm, numm, numm.”


I glanced down at the Malamute who then looked back up at me, and I could swear she winked. She slid forward on her belly, picked up the brand new bone and began slowly savoring it as she chewed.

I tell you that so that I can tell you this: at the dealership, we’ve used a similar trick on a very bright, older, repeat customer of mine. I once had a young customer who was kicking the tires of a used ATV. He wasn’t sure about pulling the trigger, but I could tell he wanted it in a big way. We’d discussed the price and, as he was faltering, I’d given him the old line, “Remember, it’s a used bike. I can’t guarantee that it will still be here tomorrow.”


The guy was acting as though he’d take his chances, and I could tell that I’d lost him. Fortunately for me, the older customer was within earshot, walked over to me and asked, “How much did you say this ATV was?” I gave him the price, and he turned to the other guy, then bent down, inspecting the machine. “Well, if he’s not interested, I think I might be. My son would love this bike.”

I knew what my customer was doing and, to be honest, it was a dangerous game he was playing. Sure, it could make the other guy jealous and hastily lock into the purchase, but it could also have given him an out, removing any guilt if he walked. Fortunately, it worked. The other customer took the bait with a jealous look in his eyes, “Actually, I’m buying this one, man.”


The moral here, I’m sure, is that if you’re lucky enough to have a choice between the speed of youth and the wisdom of age, you should take wisdom every time. Of course, our creator wanted us to be happy, so he blessed the ignorant among us with extreme pride and blissfulness. That way, even us dumb ones can enjoy the Nasty Bone with a sense of pride — even if it doesn’t taste so great.

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