Some days, I forget my dogs are dogs because of how human they can be. Then, they act like a dog only to go back to “being human”, which just leaves me more confused. I should explain.
We’re not dog whisperers or obedience school grads or anything. Benny and Scholly can follow a few basic commands and that’s about it. One thing I always insisted on, though, was rooting out any food aggression. This is helpful if we need to take something dangerous away. When they were puppies, we would mess with their food or with them while they were eating. Not to the point of upsetting them. Just enough to get them used to the idea. If we yell “drop it”, they’ll drop it, or allow us to take it from their mouths. We’ve never had a problem, except at random moments. Sunday morning was one of those random moments.
I can’t even remember why I tried to pick up Benny’s chew. I think I was just going to make him go outside with it. Either way, as I reached for it, Ben lunged and I felt his teeth scrape the back of my hand. It was pure animal instinct but talk about not allowed! I popped him on the nose and said, “No!”
Ben was so ashamed, he went into the bathroom and stuck his head in the cabinet. That wasn’t good enough, so he crowded up in a corner. I tried to give him his chew back but he wouldn’t take it. I felt terrible. Like I swatted a six year old.
I went to sit on my bed to deal with the sudden surge of guilt. Ben followed and, gently, oh-so-gently, laid the chew in my lap, as if to say, “You can have it, Mommy.”
I felt like the mother of all heels.
Ben wouldn’t take the old chew back and I had to give him a whole new one.
The trials and travails of owning dogs: you start to treat them like people, their instincts burst into the fore, and then it’s back to being furry, four-legged babies. I wouldn’t change it for the world.