Since sir Oliver is with us we have developed a certain morning routine. After my breakfast and some morning chores, I go upstairs and wake sir Oliver and my daughter. I say good morning sir Oliver, since he is expecting me while he wiggles his tail full of excitement. Then I pet him on the chest and head and ask him to get up and come along.
In the first weeks he would drip some pee on the ground, probably due to the amount of hours being inside and not able to pee. At the moment he keeps it dry and it seems that his bladder is getting used to the time frames when we take him outside.
Then sir Oliver and I go to the landing and I will carry him downstairs. My daughter brings his food and water and of course his dog basket. Lately my daughter goes upstairs again due to not being too well physically, her Leri Weil Syndrome besides the chronic Lyme, is being a pain in the ass or wrist. Which results in me being downstairs with sir Oliver and my son until he goes to school. Within that time frame I normally do some work behind the computer for half an hour, before sir Oliver and I go out for a walk.
In the first period sir Oliver would sit on the dry mat in the hallway, indicating that it is time to go outside. We mostly go outside around 8:15AM when my son leaves for school. Then over time sir Oliver liked to go out a bit earlier and tried to catch my attention through shredding paper junk mail or jumping on the coffee table while playing with/biting the cables of my daughters laptop. I could have said that sir Oliver had become a naughty dog, though the only thing he wants is to catch my attention.
So my question was, how can I bend this behavior into behavior that suits us both? Not sitting behind my computer and instead do some house chores worked. Sir Oliver would follow me and like the action that is going on. But sometimes I need those 30 minutes to do some work behind the screen. I have not been yelling at him for jumping on the coffee table or shredding paper, I simply took it away from him or directed him off the table.
This morning I found sir Oliver on the coffee table when I turned around from my desk, he was doing some stretching exercises or yoga. He was on the table making his point, though not biting or playing with the cables, just sitting next to the lap top being a good boy. My next step will be, taking him downstairs at a later moment, since he has been okay with that before, that way he goes out almost right away and take his walk.
The point here is that the mind, when you do not watch it, will label the dogs behavior as naughty behavior or even being a bad boy. The question is: is a dog really thinking up ways to make things impossible for us? Isn’t the dog just asking for our attention the best way he can? When a dog has other plans than we have, we need to come together and figure out how to unite our plans. Where we humans need to be ultimately responsible and therefore directive.
I’ve seen this with babies as well, a crying baby that keeps you up at night is not plotting any plans to keep you awake as long as he can so you will turn crazy, so he can do whatever he wants. Come on, thinking for others is some kind of second nature of us humans. I mean I know how easy it is, thinking that animals and toddlers are doing things to us. Things like: my bird starts to whistle on purpose in the morning so I cannot sleep anymore, my cat is ticking my nose in the morning to irritate me, my baby is peeing in my face when I change his nappy and I know for sure he is doing it on purpose.When using some common sense, we know it is conspiracy theories we are making up.
All living beings that are not extensively manipulated by their mind, will do anything to get their needs fulfilled. And yes, this may result in behavior that we are not really fond of. I do not know of any rule in the universe that forbids us to cooperate and bend behavior in such ways that it works for all parties. I mean if we are the most intelligent species on earth, which most of us wants to believe, we better act like it.