OK, let's get something straight – I am a dog. I know, I know – I'm your best buddy, your pal, your canine son/daughter, your grand-fur-kid, etc And it's awesome that you love me so much. Just please don't forget that under all that - my true nature is DOG.
I chase things with wild abandon – just ask any dog-hardened squirrel.
I tear and shred things in delight – toilet paper is awesome. I kill things – have you seen me snap at flies in midair? I dig with passionate fervor – the deeper, the bigger, the better. I pee on things proudly. I roll in feces and on carcasses because they are my perfumes. And I may even enjoy fine doggie dining - poop. I tug with everything I've got. I run like greased lightening. I stalk with purpose. I bark loudly. I chase my tail. I bite and nip and scratch – recall I don't have fingers! I run in my sleep.
I take advantage of every opportunity in life – whether that means stealing an unguarded sandwich or taking a snooze in the best sun spot in the house. I love these things. I am DOG.
You, on the other hand, love when I sit, lay down, keep quiet, walk nicely, and bring back the socks that I stole. I don't get it. Most of that sounds pretty boring to me. But if it makes you happy, I won't argue. In fact, I want to make you happy – because I want things from you. I am the ultimate opportunistic animal.
YOU control my world – my life. You decide when I get food and water and how much. You decide where I sleep. You decide what toys I have. You decide if I go for a walk or am crammed in a crate all day. You decide if I get to meet people and the world outside or if I spend my life in the basement or garage. YOU are my everything – literally.
By the very nature of being an animal – not a human like you, but a dog – I am "good". Why? Because I can't be "bad" – I don't know what "bad" is. I only do what works for me. I can be the "good dog" you want, if you take the time to teach me what you mean by "good".
For example – jumping up on people works for me. Why? Well, when I jump up, I'm right there in your face and getting your full attention. It may not always work, but there are a bunch of humans who will hug me back and even play with me. So I'm not being "bad", I'm doing it because it gets me what I want. I take the opportunity to always try a good jump because I never know when it will work out! Do you want me to do something else? Teach me. I only know what opportunities I have because you give me them to me.
If you teach me that I get attention & awesome paycheck (treats, balls, etc) when I sit for meeting people, I will use my opportunistic instincts to take advantage of that! I will sit for meeting people, knowing that I will get a paycheck. Over time, you may become pretty slick and offer the paycheck for every other greeting – or every 3rd greeting. But that's OK – there's always the opportunity for me to get that paycheck. And I know you will pay out. Remember – I take the best opportunity that presents itself to me.
Make what you want me to do the best choice for me and I'll do it.
With teaching me things, please don't forget – I am DOG. I don't do things to spite you. I'm not dumb. While you may believe I am stubborn, it may well be that I don't understand you. I don't ignore you because I hate you. I am being what I am – DOG.
Do you really think yelling in a menacing tone to come to you sounds better than chasing that speedy little squirrel up the tree?
If you're losing your patience with me – take a break. I'll go hang out and chill and you do the same. A little later, we can try again. If you're really stuck and you need to teach me this thing and I'm just not getting it – find one of those dog trainers. A good one. One that listens to you, understands me, and can help us both out! Please don't take it out on me – I don't understand anger. All I know is that when you are pleasant, it's easy to be around you. It's easier to learn. When you act angry – I don't know what you want – I may react with teeth (I don't have hands like you) or I may react by peeing (this is my way of saying "I surrender, please don't hurt me"). No matter the scenario – I am only being what I am – DOG. Don't punish me for being a dog. You wanted me in your life. Help me to live with you by teaching me. Help me to be your best dog.
I know I am a dog. I know I can be a great dog – just show me how and always remember – I am always your best dog, because I am YOUR dog and YOU are my best human.