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6 Ways My English Bulldog Outsmarts Your Dog
First things first. I'll admit it. I'm one of those pet parents. Yes, the type that refer to themselves as a pet parent, mom, dad, servant, whatever, instead of owner. My English Bulldog, Aubie, rules my home. I don't have kids and I am a homebody, so my time revolves around this tubby, farting, wrinkled bringer of chaos. Who ever said bulldogs aren't smart? I'd like to present to them Exhibit A-U-B-I-E.
So, I'm not saying she's always been brilliant, as evidenced by the moments captured to the right and below (obviously), but she has a few big smart bones in her body that can put the best Border Collie to shame. I know what you're thinking: what authority does she have to make such as statement? Look, I've had Jack Russell Terriers. Hello! Just Jesse the Jack? Case closed.
Besides, who needs tricks? I don't need your stinkin' tricks! Aubie can't make a bed or vacuum a floor, but she runs this household like a well oiled machine. She says jump, I ask how high. She barks for treats and I...give her treats. One rump wiggle and I melt into a puddle of useless facebook-picture-posting goo. (Yes, I'm that type of doggie mom, too.) I mean, she has to be intelligent to manipulate me so much...right?
She Seeks Revenge
Training puppies can be hard and time consuming, so it's always great when your dog is finally house trained. Maybe they scratch or bark to let you know they need to go outside. Maybe they sit silently until you notice or walk back and forth to the door. You're just happy they've found a way to keep you from stepping in a puddle of pee. But what if they learn to...use this against you?
Aubie has two signals that she wants to go outside. She'll scratch the door first, then if you do not hear her, she'll walk back and forth until you get up. I'll admit it: sometimes I ignore her. It's not because I'm trying to be a bad parent, but some days all she wants is to have a revolving door. She's caught on and EVERY TIME I don't get right up to let her little tail outside, she seeks revenge. It's not just any type of doggy revenge like pooping on the bed or farting in my face at night. She has a special type reserved just for this.
As soon as I shut the door, she begins to bark. And bark. And bark. There are no animals in the yard or beyond the fence. There are no people walking by or scary lawn tools out to get her. No dogs are barking from far away. Nothing. Not a damn thing. She parks her cute little butt right by the back door and barks until I let her inside. It doesn't matter how long I take. Once I timed her for 15 minutes straight. Her bark never breaks, never tires, never pauses. It's even a special bark. It's not an angry bark, a scared bark, a warning bark, a playful bark, or an answering bark. It's a bored bark that literally goes in spurts of 3 as if she is saying LET ME IN. She won't budge from the door until I let her in. When I finally do? She waits 5 minutes to scratch again to go out and pee.
If I let her out when she asks, I have no problems, and she will wait patiently until I come back. But if I let her get to door scratch number 3, you better know it's on. She is so spoiled that...
She Manipulates the System
Okay, so this one is partially our fault. You know that door scratch thing I mentioned? She'll do that for dinner. We always thought that was great. You'll never forget to feed her because she reminds you. (Good Grief. It's a joke. Does it look like she's missed a meal?) She'll scratch on the door that leads to her food bucket and you know it's dinner time. About a year ago, Aubie caught on to a neat little fact. You see, my boyfriend and I arrived home at different times. Most of the time he worked later than I did, so I would feed Aubie when I got home. Apparently, the story went something like this:
Aubie: Scratch, scratch.
Brandon: Sees empty bowl. Guess mom hasn't fed you yet.
Aubie: Sits patiently by bowl as dad fills it, then scarves down every bite before mom sees.
It took a little while, but we noticed she was getting a few extra jelly rolls. Were we feeding her too many treats? Too much food? We experimented and nothing changed. Until one day I walked in to Brandon pouring food in her bowl.
Krista: What are you doing? I fed her eariler!
Brandon: Her bowl was empty. I always feed her when I work late.
Aubie: Backs slowly out of the room.
Yep, she took advantage of our routine with her hungry scratches and totally gamed the system. It didn't take long for her to lose her extra plump, but please don't think she was finished with us. It didn't take long before...
Does your dog get tired of the same food flavor?
Suddenly, Aubie stopped eating all of her food. Immediately, I was alarmed. Is she sick? Should I take her to the vet? All of the usual crazy bulldog mom theories ran through my head. It wasn't that she wasn't eating at all, but it was a sharp decline in her normal vacuum intake. She'd simply sniff it, take a couple of bites, then walk away. She wasn't turning down treats or snacks, so I figured it must not be too serious and gave it a little time.
I tried to wait her out. I really did. But I couldn't help but worry about her not eating like normal. Finally, I broke down and made a trip to the pet store. I broke out my cell phone and pulled out my handy food ratings list (yep, I'm that type of pet mom, too), then I looked at every ingredient in my chosen foods and narrowed it down to one that avoided her allergies and wasn't full of trash. Once I brought it home, Aubie's nose went into overdrive and she was in the bag as soon as I opened it. Problem solved?
She ate that food like she'd been starving for days. I was relieved and just knew everything was back to normal. Two bags of that food down, and she began to protest again. I call it protesting because it is exactly what she does when she is tired of a food. It's not that it's the flavor because I change them up within the brand. It's that she wants a new expensive dog food to spit out of her jowls all over my floor. I'm not really complaining (yes I am) because I get it, but it's hard when your dog's skin folds get yeasty or eyes water like faucets with one wrong ingredient. Of course, Exhibit A-U-B-I-E doesn't care as long as she gets her way. That's how it is in our house. In fact...
She Plays Fetch With Me
I don't get the normal joys of playing with my dog. With others, it was always easy. Throw the ball/stick/shoe/whatever and the dog gets it and either brings it back to you to throw again, brings it back to you to play keep away, or sniffs it and walks off. Not Aubie. She came up with a trick all her own that keeps us all busy when she's feeling wild. The toy drop.
It's not that she's dropping a toy at my feet or refusing to drop a toy at all. If I tell her to drop anything, she will in a heartbeat because she was well trained; however, I think I went a little too far. If I tell her to drop something one time during the day, the game is on. She will go out of her way to get on something (chair, couch, bed, etc), then she will act like she's playing with a toy. She bites it a little bit and looks at you as she slowly moves it toward the edge. The second you glance away, plop! The toy falls to the floor and she has to let you know. If you're not giving her enough attention and the paw slap, mini-growl, and toy to the crotch tactics don't work, she does this, too.
Of course, this is Exhibit A-U-B-I-E. She can't just get down and get it herself. She must sit or lay and bark and bark and bark while looking over the edge at the toy. If you don't get up to get it for her, she continues to sass. If you do get up to get it for her, she tosses it off the chair as soon as you sit down. I know you're thinking I might just be imagining things, but I am here to tell you that she intentionally puts toys in odd I-just-can't-reach-it-mommy-help-me places.
I can't complain too much. It does work, so I have to give her credit. It's not annoying the neighbors (see #1), it's not wasting my money (see #s 2 and 3), and it's not scaring me to death (see #3). She's screwing with me just like I do when I tell her daddy's home (but he's not), when I fake throw toys (and she buys it), when I ...I better stop now.
She Lets Me Sleep in the Bed
Now, this is my own fault. It was my idea to let the dog sleep in the bed. It was me who didn't make her sleep at our feet. Only I would think it's cute that the dog sleeps like a human, head on the pillow and lower half under the covers. Yep, it's all fun and games until someone hits 60 pounds.
I have to claim my spot in the bed every night. If I get in bed last, Aubie is sleeping in my spot, on my pillow, and on my covers. Sure, I can move her and settle in, but as soon as I get comfortable, she's trying to make herself comfortable which often results in kung fu to my head or lower half. OKAY, I'LL MOVE. I scoot closer to the wall so I can have room for my legs and room to, I don't know, move. UGH! There's a draft. Time to yank and tug the blanket from under the bulldog until am covered. Bad idea. During the tug-of-war, I rolled her to her other side. Just.Stay.Still. I hold my breath. No movement. The coast is clear! I drift to sleep to the sound of her light snoring...
Holy freaking doodle, what the heck is pulling my hair? Oh, that's just the bulldog, walking up onto my pillow, turning around, then standing on my HAIR until I lift the blanket for her to get under. See, she has a flat nose so she can't lift it herself like other spoiled dogs. Nope, she wakes me up in the middle of the night to let the princess under the covers. For five minutes at a time. Then, she's up and I'm asleep. For a little while at least.
I've been kicked in the eye. I've woke pinned to the pillow by my hair while frantically trying to move the dog and stop the pain. It's rare that I sleep through the night, but I guess it's not a big deal. I've always been a light sleeper when I can even get to sleep, so at least instead of tossing and turning I'm kept busy until I'm so exhausted I don't care. Right? I mean, she's helping me instead of owning me, right? Gotta look on the bright side. Nevermind the fact that...
Barked at Cats
Licked Random Furniture
Headbutted a Crotch
Drooled On Bed
Spit Food on Floor
Kicked in Face
FREE SNACKS (For Aubie Only)
Drooled On Human
Begged for Snacks
Scared (Nothing's There)
She Sets My Schedule
Since living with Aubie, my body has learned to adapt to her schedule. Mind you, I have never been a morning person. I'm still not. Yet, my body thinks that it is time to wake when the sun comes up because that's when Aubie thinks it's time to eat and poop. No joke. She trained my body to work for her needs. Ever since I was a kid, I could sleep all day long. Sleeping at night? Troublesome. Sleeping after the sun hits noon? No problem. Now as soon as the sun comes up, I'm awake.
I only have to wait about five minutes usually and she's up and moving. Licking my face. Scratching on the door. Sitting on my head. You know, the works. She has a specific routine. First thing, she has to go out to pee. Once I let her in, she bolts toward her food bowl to scarf down her food (if it's to her taste). As soon as she's full, she goes back outside to poo, then she comes inside and goes back to sleep. The same thing every day. It's why I am wide awake first thing in the morning for about 30 minutes and fast asleep right after. My body can't go to sleep at night when I want it to, but it can wake up for Aubie and go right to sleep as soon as she's happy. Go figure.
This works at night, too. Aubie is ready for bed between 10pm and 11pm. She starts looking at the bed, laying near it, or jumping on and off of it until one of us goes to bed with her. Seriously, the dog tells us when to go to bed. Who's she? My mama? Maybe not, but she can give that same look your mother did when the game was over, she was no longer playing, and you were about to regret ever being born. I've never seen a worse stink eye than a sleepy bulldog. Except in a hungry bulldog.
I can't be the only one with these concerns. I'm sure there are other pet parents equally outsmarted by their little horns-hold-up-the-halo angels, too. It comes down to this: either Exhibit A-U-B-I-E is too smart for her own good, or I'm an enabler who is a little too attached to her spoiled dog. We won't go there. I'm sure we all have our opinions, and I know mine's right.
Despite her silly antics, Aubie actually is a well-behaved brat who isn't as dumb as she sometimes looks. Living in her world isn't so bad. She eats the crumbs off the floor, runs off invisible burglars, and keeps the bed warm. She's the typical dog. What could be better?