Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Optimism, Regarding Being Regarded & Training

Generally speaking, I don't like to be looked at. I've learned that if someone looks at you it means you've been noticed. If you've been noticed, anything could happen. I can't count the number of times I got noticed in school and the next thing you know, a nun was whacking me with a ruler or strap.

If parents notice you, a chore is likely to be assigned. Same deal with a boss at work. Ditto during your domestic years, if your Significant Other happens to find your latest hiding spot.

All-in-all, I've found it best to keep a low profile.

Anyhow, several times a day, Ben looks at me. Unlike cats, dogs don't look at people for no reason. Cats will stare at you because they know it bugs some people and they hope you're one of them. They especially like to stare at people who are afraid of them. Just before they jump into their lap.

It's not so with pooches. Dogs look at you for one reason and one reason only. Which I will get to momentarily. Quit tugging at my leash.

Generally speaking, dogs don't like to be looked at either, but it's not because they have a deeply ingrained fear of nuns - it's that they find direct eye contact challenging. Plus, dogs are genetically incapable of any sort of fakery. They can't lie to save their lives and they know it. If you look at them, and then look at the garbage strewn around the kitchen floor, there's no way they can look you in the eye and say the cat did it. It's flat-out beyond their capabilities. Their eyes scrunch up, their belly hits the floor at the same time the ears flatten against the skull, and the agony of their guilt is so transparent that you've forgiven them while you're still yelling. It's actually a pretty clever defence mechanism.

(A cat, naturally, could be picking his teeth in the middle of the chaos, have remnants of the garbage bag wrapped around his ears and still manage to convince you the dog did it.)


Dogs will only look at you for one reason and that reason is: they want something. Veteran dog owners know that dogs only ever want three things: out, food and walks.

(Some of you smartypantses out there will be saying "that's not one reason" but I'm pretending I can't hear you.)

Dogs are the poster pets of optimism. Which was going to be the main thrust of this entire post until that darn cat got me sidetracked. Because when Ben looks at me and I eventually begin to heave myself out of my chair, he is instantly ecstatic. He prances in front of me, secure in his wee doggie mind that there can only be one reason why I am in motion and that reason is, of course, to satisfy whichever of the three desires that was in the forefront of his aforementioned wee mind.

He's dumbfounded when I go past the "out" door, past the empty food dish and head in the opposite direction of the front hall, where the leash is kept. But he is endlessly patient and only bounces against my leg every other step.

So, I let him out/feed him/go for a walk - depending on the time of day.

I've got him pretty well trained, I think.