Aussie is very good at making her feelings clear. Yes, she’s a dog, but she, like all creatures, does have feelings. She is very very good at letting me know what’s on her mind.
For example, she’s been known to sigh very deeply when I tell her to do something she doesn’t want to do. She’ll do it, but she’s made it clear she’s not happy about it. I’ll tell her to go lie down and the response will be a deep SIGH, followed by a plodding walk to her dog bed and a flop onto it like some kind of teenage drama queen. That’s one of her more subtle demonstrations.
She also harumphs, groans, growls, and grumbles. Sometimes she works her way up to a full bark. Directed at me, of course. All in all, making her feelings quite clear by voicing her opinion.
Then there are those times that instead of just voicing her feelings or opinions, she acts like a sledgehammer and demonstrates them. She used to destroy things when I’d leave her alone as a puppy. Nothing was safe, not even on the dining room table (Aussie figured out how to pull out the chairs and then use them to get to the stuff on the table). She once destroyed a video because I watched a movie instead of playing with her. There were three of them stacked up, but the only one she broke into a gazillion tiny little pieces of plastic all over the rug was the one I watched. She left the unviewed videos alone. [How did she know? You’re guess as good as mine.]
This behavior as a puppy was a direct manifestation of separation anxiety. Not unusual for dogs coming from rescue organizations or a shelter. So we crate trained, and she stayed in her kennel when I wasn’t home. Much better for my sanity. Especially when she started destroying the mail…but only the bills. She left the junk mail and catalogs alone. And my books…but only the last 4 or 5 chapters. She’d leave the rest so you could read it, but not finish it. Have I told you my dog is smart? Sometimes it scares me…
Anyway, once she got older the crate training ceased to be necessary. The separation anxiety disappeared. We have a routine, and let’s face it, she sleeps most of the day anyway. Generally, she’s very good. Of course, I don’t leave food anywhere near where she can get to it, because I’m not going to tempt her (that would be stupid on my part).
But every now and then, she decides she is unhappy with me. And Aussie lets me know. In her own not so subtle way. Today is a good example. Today, on a weekend, I left her alone for the entire day so I could go visit my good friend JM and her daughter E down in Delaware. There’s nothing like a toddler to give you a different perspective on life, and I needed that, about as much as I needed the hang time with a good friend, so thanks to both of them! [Right…back to the point of the post.] It’s not a weekday, so I’m not supposed to be gone very long. Errands are short, couple of hours tops. But today I was gone all day, as if I had gone to work. But it’s not a workday, and Aussie knows this.
So when I got home, I found that she had drug my work bag into the middle of the floor. As an accusation. I was gone all day, but I didn’t take my work bag, so it was unacceptable to her that I left her alone for that long. And she knew she had been bad, as she went running for her kennel to hide as soon as I got through the door. When I got to the kitchen, I also found she had gone through the recycling, and scattered the cans all over the floor. Aussie got bored being alone, so she amused herself by doing something she knows better than to do. Just to drive home her point. Clear, crystal clear. Like a sledgehammer. Wouldn’t you agree?
I love my dog, but sometimes she’s a real brat.