Dialogue with a Dog: Ever Wish You Could Talk To Your Pet?
I've often thought that my dog was a person stuck in a dog's body. I don't believe in reincarnation. But, sometimes he seems to be more than just a dog.
This dog was my first baby. He's been my walking buddy, my companion around the house, and my foot warmer during the winter. He's a cuddlier to say the least. He's happiest when he's being touched. It doesn't matter if it's my foot, elbow, or my hand.
He can be loved on all day, and he still wants more. If someone comes to the house that takes to him and he to them, he will whine and whine when they pet him as if he's been neglected all his life. If I didn't love him so much, I'd say that he was the neediest and most annoying creature there ever was.
He's always been a well-behaved dog, though not perfect by any means. I worked diligently at training him when we brought him home. He was a quick learner. I taught him to sit in one day. Thereafter, he learned to lay down, play dead, shake, wait, stay, roll over, give hugs, and dance with me pretty quickly.
I taught him how to close and open doors, which is probably one of the most useful tricks I taught him. I could let him out in our back yard without shutting the door all the way. When he was ready to come back in, he'd nudge the door open. After coming in, he'd then close the door behind him. This trick turned into the least useful trick when we moved and our doors now swing the opposite way.
Another useful trick I taught him was to shake off. When he comes in from outside and it's been raining, I found that he would shake off after he got inside. So, I taught him how to shake off before I would let him come inside.
I also taught him how to play soccer. He was especially good at being a goalie and could block so many shots that it became frustrating to play with him. In order to kick the ball with him, I then had to have him lay down and give him the stay command so that I could kick the ball and get it past him. Otherwise, he'd stop the ball and wouldn't get any exercise.
I taught him how to do many useful and fun tricks. He's been a quick learner and has learned some tricks on his own or with the influence of others. Unfortunately, this well-behaved dog of mine learned a behavior that has become such a problem. I have no idea how to fix it and for this reason, I wish I could have a conversation with him to convince him to stop this behavior.
One time, we left him with my in-laws when we went out of town. Another dog was there visiting as well. The "grandparents" left the two dogs in the house with a chicken on the counter. The other dog was notorious for eating food off the counter; whereas, Baxter had never even thought about it. Of course, the dogs ate the whole chicken.
My well-behaved dog who'd never taken food before now will get food off of the counter when given the opportunity. His list of conquests are avocados, cantaloupe, half of a birthday cake, blueberry pie, and sweet potatoes. For most of these, there was no evidence that they were eaten except for a couple of pits or seeds. The cantaloupe was the messiest since the juice was all over the kitchen floor and all over him.
Not only will he get food off of the counter, but he can also open up our cabinet where our trash is hidden. One day, we left to go run an errand and came back to the kitchen trash all over the floor. It took hours to clean it up. What a mess!
I imagine if I were able to have a conversation with Baxter, it would go something like this.
(Baxter comes running, sits down, tail wagging excitedly, ears perked, nudges my hand for me to pet him.)
Baxter: Are you going to pet me? I love when you pet me!
Me: Baxter, why are you taking food off of the counter?
(Baxter again nudges my hand.)
Dog: Because you left it sitting there. So, I took it. Pet me please.
(Baxter again nudging my hand more intensely than before.)
Me: You never used to take food off of the counter. Why do you do it now?
Dog: Because I want to. The black hyper dog taught me how to. She said it was okay and that it was yummy. Boy was she right! Come on, pet me (nudging my hand and gets my hand on top of his head)!
Me: It's not okay. You should not take food off of the counter.
Dog: I know I'm not supposed to because you get mad. But, it's so good. I can't help myself. If you're not going to pet me, then I'm going to go lay down in my favorite spot and lick myself (he turns to walk away).
(Baxter turns around and walks toward me with his tail wagging somewhat.)
Baxter: Did you change your mind?? Are you going to pet me now???
Me: I wanted to ask you something else. Why do you keep leaving our yard when I tell you to stay in the yard? Do you understand that you're supposed to stay in our yard?
Baxter: Umm...yeah. When I catch the scent of a squirrel or a rabbit I just can't help myself. I have to chase after it. I am a dog after all. I guess you're not going to pet me.
(He groans as he lays down.)
This is pretty much how I can imagine our conversation going. He is obsessed with a couple of things- being pet, playing ball, chasing squirrels, and going on walks. Is that his fault? Of course not! After all, he is a dog. A very smart dog.
Now, if only I could figure out a way to get him to stop getting food off of the counter...