Dog Whispering

I *know* dogs like to be dog-whispered. They like to be in a calm, submissive state. They cannot tell good excitement from bad excitement. I have watched enough Cesar Milan and talked to enough dog trainers to grasp this intellectually.

I’m totally like Cesar Milan, if Cesar Milan were madd lazy.

The problem?

1) Dogs are totally cute when they are excited.

It is so easy to interpret their full-body wag and circle dance and leaping and gamboling as OH MAN I AM HAPPY TO SEE YOU I LOVE THIS!, and so difficult not to. They are also totally cute when they beg, frustration-bark at your food, and go down the stairs ahead of you.

This is an established problem. Cuteness interfering with discipline is why good-looking people don’t go to jail.

2) Dog-whispering looks a lot like bullying.

If you were to body-block a human being in a doorway, or while descending stairs, or to kick a human off the couch just because they you didn’t give them permission first, that human might start to take it personally. It is very easy to believe that a dog LIKES pulling on the leash, and secretly hates and resents being forced to walk behind you.

My best understanding of dog behavior is that they feel something like, “Yay, someone else is in charge!” Dogs don’t care who’s boss — they just want to know who it is.

I imagine this is like working under a manager. You get all the same comforts as the manager, but your manager has to go to meetings and talk to vendors and plan and budget and all kinds of stuff, and you just get to sit in your little nook with your coffee and your ottoman and your talking Aslan toy and code away.

So whenever I stick my leg in front of Jake, it’s like I’m saying, “I’ll fill out that form for you!” At least, I hope so.


Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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