Sunday, 22 June 2008

you think you OWN me?

Of course dogs want to be comfortble and, if they are smart, will find the most comfortable spot in the house. Unless they have one of those very comfortable doggy beds, and sometimes inspite of the fact, it's not unusual for them to choose the master's couch or bed. In many homes this is unacceptable. No dogs on the couch or bed. That's the rule, and the dog learns quickly, if the consequences are swift and consistant. So they say. I had a little cocker spaniel, Bailey, who knew and observed the rule. She was 7 when I got her, and though at first I would not allow her on the bed, eventually I broke down. She'd back up into the living room and get a running start, like a gymnast, before the jump. Still, I didn't like the idea of her sitting on my couch. Pretty soon she undertstood that rule and would curl up on the rug or on pillows wherever I happened to be. She liked nearness. She also liked my couch but seemed to be good with the rule. Or maybe not. Before long I discovered that she was on the couch all the time. The moment I would leave, she would see me off at the window and probably head right for her favorite chair. I would come home and she'd be at the door. There would be that warm circular indentation in the cushion. And I would look at her and say, "You were on the couch, weren't you?" She'd just look at me... and then down at the floor. " I told you, Bailey, stay off the couch. Look, here's your bed." She'd feign interest in the pillow and and blanket, or just walk away and hide for a while in the bedroom. Busted. I loved her but I didn't want to reward her. After a while I gave up the battle for my couch and just threw a bunch of blankets on it which could be thrown into the wash every week. It always amused me that she would only do the couch sitting thing when I wasn't home. I guess there was no correction when I wasn't there and she was lonely. The couch was a comfort. A safe warm place to be until I returned. A pseudo master. Second in command with never a harsh word. I suppose she associated me with authority and rules, and love. And the couch with love. I'm sure it held the odors of home anyway. Security and comfort and familiarty trump obedience and a place on the floor. Besides. She was working too...watching the house. I suppose the couch was a perk. One of her own unspoken rules for me. " If I'm gonna have to stay here ALONE, all day, I'm going to be needing that couch. And the bed. No questions please".

Still I alway wondered.

If they are thinking anything.

"What were you thinking?"

"Nothing. Why?"

Why do some dogs even think they can get away with sitting on the couch until you get home and then, when they hear you coming jump off and pretend they've been obedient? I guess they really think we're that stupid. Or are they being passive-aggressive? " You think you're in charge- I'll show you who has the run of this house when you're gone." Does any thought other than immediate gratification go into play when they are getting ready to hit the couch or bed? Is there any consideration to the fact that certain surfaces are ILLEGAL or do they make concessions for when Mom or Dad is out of the house? Or, is it that dogs can only be trained to do the right thing when you are around? Do they lose all memory of obedience when you shut the door? Once the threat of punishment is out of range,is everything in the house .which is accessible, fair game? I wonder. If you were to rig up some kind of negative response, or put crinkly plastic on the chair, would the dog would try to pull it off? If they could get into the fridge, when you were out...would they? And when you came home, would they run into another room and act as if they've been sleeping the whole time, and leave a huge mess behind? I suppose they would.
So many questions and I don't even have a dog.

Change subject. I think I will ask my landlord to put a washer and dryer hookup where the sink in the bathroom was. There is plenty of room. The toilet and tub could stay. It would be great if he agrees to that. Perfect.

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