I must admit that as a dog I find you humans a bit perplexing. You seem to praise us for certain characteristics one minute only to turn around and admonish us for the same characteristics the next.
Take for example the term “dogged determination.” You use it to compliment other humans who show firm resolve to accomplish something. Dogged is synonymous with firm, persevering, resolute, steadfast, indefatigable, and many other words that are meant as a positive reflection on those you speak them about. Yet sometime you forget that our determination is not linked to emotions or concepts like good or bad. Our determination just is.
The determination that leads many of my kind to become search and rescue dogs is no different than our determination to chew on your favorite slippers it’s just focused in a different direction.
You humans are great company and without you some of the greatest inventions in the world (like belly rubs) would not have been possible; but sometimes you forget who you’re talking to. To us chewing on your slippers isn’t good or bad it’s just something we do to relieve boredom, to relieve tension, or simply to occupy ourselves. Telling us “NO!” doesn’t really help us all that much. We know that you are currently irritated about something and if we quit chewing on your slippers for a few seconds you will probably quit yelling (we hope). But we don’t know what you would have us do instead.
As dogs we have certain needs that are really no different than those of humans. When humans are nervous or tense they fidget; we like to chew. When humans are bored they find an activity that occupies their minds; so do we. It’s just that our ideas of acceptable activities seem to be a bit at odds; but we are more than happy to change.
If you teach us that treat filled Kongs are a better alternative then we will gladly leave your slippers alone. If you show us that sitting quietly in front of you as opposed to jumping up on you is a much better way to get your attention, then consider our rumps on the ground. Above all just remember that our determination can be focused on whatever you like. The choice is yours.
Please remember that we choose to live with you not because we are in need of a dominant pack leader but because our partnership seems to do us both a lot of good.
Tosha, Gavin, Annie, Kevin, Jackie