Monday, March 1, 2010
I’ve debated for a while on whether my dog is either a complete idiot or just stubborn. I now believe that she is not only not an idiot, but she’s got it all figured out.
Ask her to sit and she’ll simply stare at you. Call out her name and maybe you’ll get lucky and have her look at you. I’ve tried teaching her how to shake, ring a bell when she wants to go outside, and lay down. All failed. This, one might think, means she’s stupid. However, I don’t think she can’t learn tricks. I think she simply doesn’t want to. What’s in it for her besides a treat that she’ll probably get eventually, anyways?
She knows how to sit, but she’ll only do it if you have food in your hand. Call her name with some food and she’ll be right next to you. Why won’t she do this in the absence of food? Because who gives a shit, that’s why. She doesn’t care about jumping through hoops to make me happy. I admire this. Who the hell am I to tell her what to do anyways? I’m just some dude that bought her leash. This doesn’t entitle me to complete ownership of her.
People often equate an obedient dog with a good dog. I don’t share this view. Long before I got her I thought about how people treat their dogs like slaves. Something as small as making a noise when your master doesn’t want you to can result in verbal abuse or even a beating. That’s fucked up.
I think a good dog is one that does the thing the owner got it for: Company. A good dog sits next to you on the couch, runs to you when you get home, and has a generally nice disposition. My dog does all of these things. Sure, she won’t roll over or bark when prompted, but who really cares? That’s not why I have her around. She’s here to hang out. And she does that very well.
This whole deal about a dog “liking” you is an interesting one, too. Do dogs really “like” people or do they just like a person because they give them food and backrubs? I think, to an extent, it’s true that if you feed a dog and don’t punch it in the face all the time, it will like you. But, I think dogs have an inclination towards certain people while shunning others, just like the rest of us. My evidence of this is the few months before the dog became officially “mine.”
She was staying with an ex-girlfriend of mine, which meant I only saw her once in a great while. During this period I hadn’t fed the dog once, taken her outside, pet her, or had any contact of any sort. However, when I would finally show up she would get so excited she would literally piss herself. My explanation: The dog likes me. Boo-ya.
And I’m not saying that she likes me because of my wonderful personality or anything like that. I think it’s very situational. I was there when she left the Humane Society. I was there to carry her up the stairs to my apartment because she was too afraid to walk up them. I slept next to her on the kitchen floor the first night with my fingers in the cage so she would stop crying long enough to fall asleep. These things built a level of trust between us that I don’t think she’ll have with anyone else. She’s my partna. And I know how when people say their dog is sad or happy that it’s actually just the person projecting their emotions onto their pet, but I don’t think this is the case here. We’re partnas.
And now as I write this, at four in the morning with Alameda snoring beside me, I’m thinking about if I would rather have her listen to all of my commands or just keep being a bitch (not in the literal sense, because she really can’t help that). I think I’d rather have a dog that does whatever she wants. It’s more respectable. Sure, it gets pretty annoying sometimes when I’m walking her and she tries to pull me down a hill because she found some interesting scent, but I like that about her. Her curiosity about the world and all it’s wonderful odors trumps everything else, including my desire to walk on pavement and keep my shoes clear of shit (since no one in my apartment complex knows how to pick up after their dog). Curiosity is one thing I really enjoy seeing in people so it follows suit that I enjoy having a dog that likes to investigate every damn thing she possibly can.