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Can treats make a man behave?

Can a woman train a man to behave the way she wants him to? People, mostly female people, often say that men are pigs and that they behave like barnyard animals no matter what you do.

This commentary is usually uttered by a woman watching the offending man root through the leftover pizza boxes under the coffee table or roll around on the sofa with muddy shoes on.

But many experts in the art of man-training say men aren't pigs at all. They're actually more like dogs, and the behavior modification techniques that work on Fido will work just as well on Fred or Phil.

Relationship expert Karen Salmansohn (www.KarenSalmansohn.com) says, "If you're not pleased with the way your man is behaving, you should follow the advice of professionals - professional dog trainers, that is."

Dog trainers?

Hey, my husband may need a little grooming. What man doesn't? But it's not like he howls at the moon or scratches himself in public. Well, at least not when anybody is looking.

Besides, why would I want to use dog-training techniques when my mother already schooled me in the fine art of nagging?

Although, now that I think about it, the only trick that makes him do is roll over and play dead.

In her book, "How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers" (Workman Publishing, $9.95), Salmansohn suggests, "The most effective method for making a dog do what you want is still the old-fashioned reward system. First, find out what your dog's favorite treats are, then promise him one of these treats if he does what he's told. Make sure he begs a lot for it first. Note: The extra begging won't help train him any better, but it's fun to watch."

I'm not sure if I should buy fried pork rinds or lingerie.

Is the sophisticated guy who puts on a coat and tie every day and opens the door for his mother really just a hound dog who responds to treats?

Maybe. I don't know about your husband, but I'm quickly discovering that my man does more if I throw him a bone every now and again.

I said "thank you, darling," and gave him a few pats when he cleaned out the vegetable bin, and you would have thought those mushy cucumbers where the crown jewels. He was practically panting as he trotted them out to the trash.

I let him lay on the couch with his head in my lap and petted his brow for 15 minutes and he offered to give the kids a bath.

I put down a bowl of nachos on the floor for him while he was rewiring the VCR and he gobbled them up like they were a big juicy steak.

He got kind of a funny look on his face after he emptied the dishwasher and I patted him on the head, saying, "Good boy, you're such a nice mate." But overall, the dog training reward system worked.

Who knew it was so easy?

Here I've been wasting my time with whining and begging, when apparently all it takes is a little praise and a scratch behind the ears to make a man fetch you just about anything.

I doubt you could change an intelligent woman with a simple little reward system, but it sure works on a man.

My husband's going out of town for a few days, so I'll be hanging up the leash for a while.

I used to complain when he traveled, but then he started giving me candy and flowers and a big kiss the moment he walked in the door. It's such a nice little treat. I find it really brings out my best behavior.

Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect: Finding Joy, Meaning, and Satisfaction in the Life You've Already Got and the YOU You Already Are."

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