I got a dog. He doesn’t seem to like me much.
When we first met he was all over me, friends for life and all that. But things quickly changed.
I know many of you have a Crochet Buddy, and maybe you can relate.
I first noticed his disdain when he stayed over the first night. He was given a modern studio-tiny home type of living space. He complained that it was the cupboard under the stairs.
I could tell he was complaining, as he was barking throughout the night. Some sort of protest. Either way, I learnt that he wasn’t the tiny living sort of dog.
Another thing that has persuaded me of his true feelings is the fact that he keeps placing his toy ball behind my feet.
He waits until I’m busy with something else, then carries his favourite ball and pops it next to my heel. I suspect he is hoping I will turn and step on it. I call it the ‘ankle breaker’. “not this time”, I tell him.
I caught his reflection one day, unbeknownst to him. To my shock, I saw him staring at the ball, and then at me – he clearly didn’t want to miss a thing. He was visibly excited by the prospect of me tumbling over. I’m not saying I can read his face for emotion, but a smile is a smile.
I spent a lot of time training my dog. I taught him the basics, as well a few superficial tricks. I tried to teach him to return a ball. He won’t do it. At the park, well sure, he’ll play with the other dog owners, and return their balls. But, if I throw it, he just stares at it, then at me, before walking away.
He will chase it. Wants the ball to know that wherever it’s going, he will get there first. On proving that point, he is done. The ball is just a piece of plastic to him then.
Now, I take umbrage when he walks away from the ball. Like we’re going to leave it there. Like I paid for the ball, took it to the park, and I’m going to leave it there. Where does he think these toys come from?
I look after him though, we are a team. Like when he needs the loo, I show him out. When he’s hungry, I give him food. I can read his body language to know when he’s happy, which is normally just before a meal. He spins around and around. Which is great. I don’t mind that at all. It’s what happens next that winds me up: he nudges my calf with his nose. As if to say, ‘come on then, hurry up!’.
Now, assuming it’s your lunch time, which we both well know, then why nudge me? You spun around, I acknowledged that, but you still follow up with the prod?
I tried to sit him down and talk about boundaries. See, I had read somewhere that dogs can learn hundreds of words. He’s probably been eavesdropping on all of my conversations, so why not have one directly with him?
I sat him down and we had a talk. He tried to play like he didn’t understand what I was saying, but I knew better.
“So Doggy, when it’s your dinner time..”, I began to conclude. As I said “dinner time” he started spinning around and around. I gave up. Got him a biscuit.
My dog doesn’t think much of me. He doesn’t realise that I am the star of A Gonk’s Journey.
What he thinks is that I want to eat his dog food. That I want to keep it all for myself. He thinks I want to gorge myself on his ‘dinner time’.
The moment I set it out for him, I become the competition. And again, I don’t mind this. I just wish he would eat slower. He acts like I’m going to push him out of the way and wolf it down before he’s had his fill.
If I give him a chew bone, he keeps it.
He won’t eat it, he’ll put it aside. He hides it under his mattress, like he’s saving for something.
Then stands guard.
What for? – I explained that there is more where that came from. – also, who else is going to take it?
My dog is cool and a good sport.
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