Some people go hunting for good dogs. Others – well, dogs get special privileges. (I’m an explorer, so I’m all for accepting my “cretins and dummies” on the road.) From our human companions, the collective mindset can sometimes seem to run to over-compensation and demanding dogs are the result. For my pet, that means space in a special space, or at least a desk somewhere and a desk chair.
So what’s the upside? Well, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to pamper a dog if she were putting the effort in to learning anything at all. In fact, since dogs have poor powers of concentration, their time would be better spent taking a potty break, or nap.
But perhaps that’s the underlying emotional deal here, and why even the self-conscious self-grooming routines of a park can mean so much.
When I sit with my dogs in the park, I try to look at things logically, but mainly because the conversation is unavoidable: dogs talk back with the occasional bite, or occasional sniff. To watch them interact is to watch human interaction – look to spot the little bump in the bend of a dog’s back, the most pugged face, any sexual innuendo, the casual use of words we might object to in our own mouths.
Dogs talk back
Some dogs use their paws, and let the biting begin – to have a side conversation is to have a side conversation, after all.
Sometimes, the conversation will become short, and teachable. But the more we talk to our dogs the more frustrated we look as our dog tries to please us with playful silences, half-sentences and to try to toy a bit of our attention. In response, the human pet will drop the collars, hiding behind a blanket.
Some moments, like a pug crossing a cordoned-off path and thundering round the parking lot of the Petsmart, are amazing.
When we see a hard-working dog – one who waits patiently while we run and play with our friends, or who helps us find things, fetching bales of hay or balls – we feel a connection that feels truly special.
Whiskey and I constantly are in awe of ourselves for being so patient with our pugs, because we know deep down that ultimately the dogs aren’t asking us to slow down. It’s just that we’re having to pander, and the pugs just want to drink water and to be left alone, and run around a park or to a park bench.
That’s why the habit of “walking” dogs is so much sweeter than mere walking.