Great Expectations

Dog 1 is lying with his head right on dog 2’s balls and it got me thinking just how different dogs are to humans and then I was thinking how different, different types of dogs are, which led on to me thinking about how different, different dog owners are and how the sort of dog you have seems to affect the sort of dog owner you are and vice versa ( imagine just how exhausting it is living with me). 

Partner and I are both new to dogs, so we feel like the new parents, where how you react to bad behaviour is judged, the state of their coats is judged, the food you give them is judged. In fact, the puppy manual we had, reminded me of: The Contented Little Baby book – after a few days I wanted to chuck it out the window (sorry Gina) and follow my gut. Which worked on the girls, but I’m not sure it’s always working with the dogs. 

Partner and I have observed that it is sheepdog owners who are the most judgemental. This is probably because their dogs are so incredibly well trained and ours, well, aren’t. When dog 1 or dog 2 bound over to the sheep dog, the owner tells it to ‘sit’. This is the equivalent of refusing to let your child go on a play date with mine. You immediately feel judged. Why don’t you want my dogs to play with yours. Do you think they will be a bad influence? Dogs 1 and 2 react to this rejection by circling the beautifully behaved dog, seemingly taunting it with jeers of: you’re not allowed to play! Sheep dog owner then crosses his or her arms. Dog 1 responds to this sense of humour failure by jumping up and barking: let him play, let him play! By which time, I’ve told partner to run over with treats and sheep dog owner stomps off, muttering what awful parents we are. Partner and I are left looking at our gorgeous, happy dogs, now sitting perfectly in front of us, wondering if we are bad parents. 

Of course, it all comes down to expectation. Partner and I need to raise our expectations of our dogs. I look back down at them. Dog 1 has removed his head from dog 2’s balls, but by way of a thank you, dog 2 is now licking dog 1’s nob. I always had high expectations of the girls, but dogs really are so different. 

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