You can learn a lot from a dog ~ even a bad one
Doggie Mamas Anonymous Creed
~I know he is annoying~
~I’m the only one he minds; stay away~
~He only growls at people who try to take away his toys/girlfriend/bone~
~If you do, he won’t forget you~
~He’s a pain in the hiney, but he’s MY pain and I love him~
Only a certain population of people will appreciate this. If it doesn’t apply, then the story will mean nothing to you. You think it will never happen to you? Neither did I. Someday, it could happen to you; then, you’ll understand. Let me explain.
I used to make fun of old people with “little” dogs. I never liked them. Ever. My experience is that they are annoying, mean, and they bite. Unfortunately, I am now among that age group, and for the life of me, still don’t understand how I acquired a little dog. It was not intentional, my being raised with big, powerful dogs, along with my children being raised with them too.
Now, I am an empty nest mother, grandmother of six, and I have a small dog. I acquired him by accident. However, now that he’s been accepted into the tribe, I have to wonder just how accidental he really was. I am now officially a doggie mother, and as bad (mischievous) as he is, I can’t live without him. I will attempt to explain how this phenomenon happened (still shaking my head).
Mothers have this instinct to care for others in ways that only a mother can. So, even when the natural children are grown, there’s this need to take care of something, to boss something, to correct something, swat at something, and to protect it (motherhood being the only species that can justify swatting its young in order to protect it).
Dogs have instinct too, one of them, like natural children, is to not obey the first time they are called. Dogs, like kids, have something called “selective hearing”.
Walter, my dog, is a Doxie: part Dachshund and part Beagle. His mom was a thoroughbred Dachshund but apparently dug under the fence and hooked up with the Beagle next door who made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. So, her pups were free. You’ll find out more about Walter in a new blog called, “WalMart Basket Puppy” later on.
So anyway, my dog, the Doxie, is not an English Shepherd, a breed known to understand upwards to 300 commands, nor a German shepherd or Lab, being smarty pants animals too. Our dog knows the only three commands that are necessary to his livelihood. Just like a child, he has selective hearing. He understands:
Did you do this?
Time to feed the cat.
Get. In. The. House.
He’s the first ever “house” dog in this family. He has working parents, unlike the BIG dogs that had a stay-at-home mom and three kids to play with. So, basically, he only “goes” outside when we’re at home. Otherwise, he has to go on 3×3 doggie diapers that are in two rooms of the house.
When we get home, the first thing either of us does is inspect the house.
Trashcan. CHECK. Bed still made (or not). CHECK. Poop on the doggie diaper (or my floor)…..Walter!!!
Did you do this??
Most days he hits it, and other days, he poops all round it. All I can figure is that he walks past it, and backs into it. My understanding of dogs and their noses is that they prefer to poop or pee where they’ve “marked” their territory. Therefore, the ones outside the diaper are places where he has done some invisible business before…aka…peed on my carpet. Otherwise, he’s backing into it and missing. So, contrary to my thinking on bad-dog days, his head is not stuck up his rear end. Otherwise, he’d SEE to back up. So, he’s doing it on purpose. WALTER, COME HERE!
He comes running only to see me standing there, pointing at his business that he over-shot. He will, quite literally, look the other way, decide that he needs to check his body odor, or check his rear end with his nose. ANYTHING but look at me. He hears me, he just chooses not to acknowledge that he knows what I’m saying. Otherwise, he’d have to admit guilt – which he is NOT going to do.
Time to feed the cat.
Oblivious to all humans in the room, he can be chewing on a bone or playing with his stuffed animal girlfriend, but when the words, “time to feed the cat” are uttered, he’s on point. He only gets a tablespoon, but treats it like lobster since he gets dry food only inside (uh…MAYBE because he misses his spot on the diaper?). So, obviously, he understand that command.
Get. In. The. House.
Because this little brat is such a cutie, I have a hard time disciplining him. Being like a child that has to be protected from harm, we doggie moms have to find a way to teach them to self-correct if we’re not around. It’s easy if children are obedient. Or, they can choose to learn the hard way. Walter chose to learn the hard way.
When he was a young pup, I would take him to my dad’s house on the days I went up to visit. However, Walter took it as an opportunity to escape and explore new territory: the road, the neighbor’s yard, and the dog in the fence at the neighbor’s house ACROSS THE STREET. Being an only child to humans, this was a good opportunity to “talk dog” with one of his own kind. He’d cross the street without a single glance, then refuse to come when I called.
He did this often enough that I was afraid he would get hit by a car. So… I did what my mother would have done. I found a hickory bush, pulled a switch, stripped it of its leaves, and gave him a few swats. Then, I pointed it towards the house and said in a serious tone, “GET IN THE HOUSE”.
It only took a few times, but he quickly learned. Now, no matter where I am, all I have to do is say, “Get. In. The. House”. As long as I don’t say it when there’s no house around, we’re good to go. Although that would be a fun joke to play on him when he really ticks me off (evil laugh).
So, in conclusion, for the most part, I think my little devil knows exactly what I’m saying, because he has shown himself to have “selective hearing”. And as we mothers know, it takes a smart kid to figure that one out – even if that kid is a dog.
Oh yeah, he does know one other command …”Give Mama a kiss”.
He does so quickly, realizing that he can use it to his advantage for future bad behavior.
He has me wrapped around his little paw…and he knows it.
NOTE: This is an anniversary of sorts. Last year, I began this blog on Mother’s Day with, http://www.loganvillelocal.org/2015/05/10/close-encounters-of-the-mother-kind/. Doggie Mama was supposed to be a Mother’s Day blog, but I am technologically challenged and had some issues. I’m back up and running now. Stay tuned…
This blog is dedicated to my friend Debbie Reynolds Nash, the first Doggie-Mama I have ever known that made doggie-mama-hood look like fun (her dogs even have Facebook pages).