I love my dog. He is faithfully at my side as I write this.
Not everyone thinks I love him. My mother questions my love for him because I don’t always let him come over to her house for a visit and because we limit the amount of treats that we let her give him.
I have another acquaintance whom I think does not think I love him or appreciate him enough. She has been over at our house a few times and I’ve watched her watch me interact with my dog. I don’t think she approves. She told me before she left the other day that I had a really good dog. I agreed with her and said he was a keeper alright. I think she was trying to send me a signal that I should appreciate him more. If so, I disagree. I appreciate him just the way he is.
I’ve met people who love their dogs too much. I once knew a woman who loved her dog so much that he thought she and her husband were his pets. It was a small dog like mine. She let him get up on their dining room table anytime he pleased. My dog tried that once and he got into trouble with me. He never did it again.
The woman also put out several treats for her dog; she lined them up on her coffee table so that he could get them anytime he felt like it. He also had his own toy box.
She invited me and my small children over to her, or should I say the dog’s, house one day. The dog was terribly jealous that his pet had invited someone over to his house. He was afraid that my children and I would eat his treats and play with his toys. He snarled at us. His pet apologized for his behavior and worried that he might bite my children who were sitting with me on the couch. I too worried that he might bite my children. It would have been the last thing he ever did; I would have made sure of that. I never went back over to her house.
Her dog acted that way because she let him act that way. I don’t allow my dog to think he owns me. I know he would act just like that woman’s dog if I ever did. Our relationship is one of constant testing of boundaries.
For instance, he will come up to me to be petted. I pet him for a bit and then I tell him to lay down. He doesn’t want me to stop petting him and so he keeps nudging me with his nose. I tell him no. He lays down and goes to sleep beside me. I’m still in charge and he accepts that. He’s none the worse for the wear because of it. In fact he seems pretty content.
It was this exact scenario that my acquaintance witnessed on the days she came over to my house. She was willing to do whatever my little dog wanted her to do. She had come over to my house to do one thing but when my dog wanted her attention she was willing to put everything aside and focus her sole attention on him. He soon tired of her attentions and came to me for attention as he so often does. I went through my usual routine with him; pet him a bit and then tell him to lay down. I think she was appalled.
I like my dog just the way we’ve trained him however. He could easily become as boorish as the dog who owned the other woman I knew. I know because I’ve seen him get testy with my mother when she stopped paying attention to him one day. He knows she will let him get away with more than we do at home.
Yep, he’s a keeper. As long as he knows who the pet is and who the owner is we’ll get along just fine.