For many of us, dogs hold a special place in our hearts. There’s no doubt we love our furry friends, but sometimes they can be a bit frustrating. Okay, fine, sometimes they can be very frustrating. Some of their habits and behaviors easily land them in the dog house, be it a real one or a metaphorical one. That’s not to say we don’t still love them, but we certainly don’t always like them.
This post contains affiliate links. Read the disclaimer here.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved dogs and wanted one of my own. One day, my mom came home from her walk with a scrawny, mangy-looking golden retriever. When I saw her, I raced across our painfully rocky driveway to meet her. I didn’t care what she looked like or where she’d come from; that dog was going to be my new best friend.
Sadly, my parents decided we couldn’t simply keep the dog without searching for her owners first. We found out where she’d come from soon enough, but I was in luck. Her original owners didn’t want anything to do with her, so they told us we could have her. Lo and behold, I had my first childhood dog – Bernadette.
Now, Bernie wasn’t a perfect dog by any measure, but she was perfect to me. I loved spending time with her. Heck, if my parents had let me, I would have slept in her dog house with her. Yet, despite my strong attachment to her, I was aware of her undesirable behaviors.
You see, Bernadette adored the water. Half the time I wasn’t even sure where she found it, but she would show up at the door completely soaked. This wouldn’t have been a problem if the water had always been clean. Unfortunately, she had a strong affinity for swamp water. If you’ve never smelled swamp water, then consider yourself lucky. It reeks of farts and death, and it clings to dogs.
The worst part of Bernie’s swamping habit was when she’d catch you by surprise. She’d come racing up behind you, then decide to shake off and rub against you. It was moments like these when I understood why my parents wanted her to sleep outside in the dog house and not inside on my bed.
Allowing a dog to sleep in your bed may seem strange to many people, but it makes sense to those who do it. My dog, Leo, likes to be close to me all the time, and I usually don’t have a problem with him sleeping in my bed. In fact, I encourage it. However, there are times where I wish I had a dog house for him to sleep in.
Leo has long, curly fur, which has a tendency of being scruffy and unkempt. It also has a tendency of picking up burs, sticks, and anything else that gets caught in the mess. We’ve had some very serious arguments over his trips into bur patches. Yet, while all these things are a pain to pick out of his fur, ticks are by far the worst.
Ticks love to burrow deep into Leo’s fur, which makes them hard to spot. On top of that, he has black spots on his skin that make it difficult to tell what’s a tick and what isn’t. He’s also not super cooperative when I’m trying to pull them off, which means I’m likely to miss a few. This isn’t a huge deal because I know they’ll die if they bite into him. However, they don’t all decide to do so.
Instead, many of the ticks simply hide in his fur until we go to bed. They bide their time until they see the perfect opportunity to crawl off Leo and onto me. One night, I woke up four separate times to the feeling of a tick crawling on my skin. The following morning, I found two more that had somehow managed to avoid my notice until after they’d already plunged into me.
Granted, it isn’t Leo’s fault that the ticks end up on me, but he doesn’t do anything to help either. He could do more to avoid long grass and other areas where ticks like to hang out. I mean, it’s not like he can see when he’s in these areas anyway. Ultimately though, it’s his uncooperativeness that makes me want to send him to the dog house.
Noise, Noise, Noise
Some dogs are very quiet. They don’t make a peep unless you tell them to, and they certainly never bark. Maggie, my second childhood dog, is the polar opposite of this. Once she starts barking, it’s practically impossible to get her to stop. It’s terribly obnoxious at times, but she does it for a reason.
You see, Maggie is no dummy. She’s aware certain people will let her get away with certain things. She knows my dad will share his food with her, so she sits by him when we’re eating; she knows my sister will let her sleep on the bed with her, so she willingly goes downstairs when Sarah says it’s bedtime; and she knows my mom (although I’m also guilty of this) will sometimes give her treats if she barks a lot.
Sometimes the barking backfires on her, however, and she ends up being sent outside. Maggie doesn’t dislike being outside, but it’s generally not her end goal in these situations. When all she wants is a treat, being sent outside is the equivalent of being sent to the dog house. Unfortunately, she’s learned this behavior over time, and it won’t be an easy one to break.
Thick and Thin
Dog house behaviors don’t change how much we care about our dogs and enjoy having them around, but it can be hard to remember that in the moment. I, for one, have threatened to sell my dog to the circus several times. It’s meaningless to him, but it helps me feel less aggravated. Yet, at the end of the day, I don’t think any of us dog-lovers would give up our pals. They’re our companions through thick and thin.